Football: That was the weekend that was

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Roma's fans won't forgive Bosnich

REMEMBER MARK Bosnich and his infamous Nazi salute to Tottenham fans? A regrettable incident, for which the Aston Villa remorsefully apologised live on Radio Five and for which he subsequently paid pounds 1,000 in an FA fine. But all forgotten now, surely.

Don't you believe it. That unfortunate, thoughtless moment in 1996 may yet cost the impetuous Australian more dearly than he ever imagined.

While he was taking the weekend off and possibly contemplating where his future may lie when his Villa contract expires this summer, moves were afoot in Italy that could scupper his dreams of joining AS Roma and reportedly scooping an pounds 8m windfall.

Roma enjoy the support of a large contingent of the Italian capital's Jewish population and if Bosnich might have forgotten his ill-chosen heat- of-the-moment response to some barracking from White Hart Lane fans, they have not.

The Corriere dello Sport newspaper reported at the weekend that representatives of the Rome Jewish community are urging the club to have nothing to do with Bosnich. Spokesman Vittorio Pavoncello said: "This player bears the stain of a highly unpleasant anti-Semitic gesture.

"I hope that Roma have the good sense not to sign him. It would be an offence to an entire people. And it would be a shame too, given the excellent rapport that has always existed between our community and the club.

"It is not our intention to stage high-profile protests. We don't want to blackmail anyone and we are not threatening to hand back our season tickets. But common sense is needed.

"There are a lot of other goalkeepers in Italy, and perhaps at more reasonable prices. It wouldn't take much to avoid all this bitterness."

Nor, perhaps, to make Bosnich regretful for the rest of his career.

Goals not coal for Ingimarrsson

GIVEN THE apparent ultimatum from manager Ruud Gullit to come up with the cash for his rebuilding plans, Newcastle probably wish they really could shout down a coal- mine for a new centre forward.

But the method which folklore insists they always used to recruit players may not actually be dead, as Bristol City have discovered.

Ivar Ingimarrsson is a midfield player rather than a centre forward, but he actually does work in a coalmine - in Iceland. His club, IBV, is a part-time outfit and Ivar supplements his income with a day job at the pitface, his football training limited to a couple of hours after work.

The 20-year-old, who was in action for his country's under-21 side over the weekend, has been put through his paces in Bristol, and the manager, John Ward, is close to offering him a contract. He played for the reserves against Torquay last week and will be back for another trial after his round of international duty.

"In the old days at Newcastle they used to say `shout down the pit and up comes a centre- forward'," Ward said. "Let's hope the same applies with a midfield player in Iceland."

Ward is excited about the player's potential, particularly as he is only part-time.

"He is a strong player and you have to think that he would be stronger still with full-time training," Ward said. "I'm not committing myself just yet but I am interested in signing the lad."

KEY NUMBERS

1

The goals scored by Italy's Alessandro del Piero in a run of 17 competitive matches before Saturday's double against Switzerland.

3

The times Second Division bad boys Bristol Rovers have had two players sent off in the same match this season.

24

The seconds it took Gordon Connolly to score for York against Luton on Saturday.

94

The international caps won by Italy's Paolo Maldini. Only Dino Zoff, now the national coach, has more for the Azzurri with 112.

I TOLD YOU SO

"I want us to go out and assert our game on them."

Glenn Hoddle, who perhaps ought to brush up on his spoken English as well as his coaching methods.

International Team Of The Week

MICHAEL HUGHES

Northern Ireland

DAVID WEIR

Scotland

CRAIG BELLAMY

Wales

NEIL LENNON

Northern Ireland

ADRIAN WILLIAMS

Wales

PAUL JONES

Wales

BILLY DODDS

Scotland

ALLAN JOHNSTON

Scotland

SOL CAMPBELL

England

PAUL SCHOLES

England

KEITH ROWLANDS

Northern Ireland

Manager of the weekend: Bobby Gould - produced a splendid Welsh victory when under the heaviest pressure of his reign

Performance of the weekend: Northern Ireland - a battling effort from a side short on international quality

Missing... making it... and mistaken

John Scales

Tottenham

The former Wimbledon and Liverpool centre-back has not made a first-team appearance for Tottenham since December last year following a cracked cheekbone sustained against Coventry. He blames the effects of the controversial muscle-building supplement creatine, which he used at Anfield, for a series of injuries since, but believes he is over the worst and is waiting for the chance to impress new manager George Graham.

Dean Crowe

Stoke City

The 19-year-old Stockport-born striker's five goals this season have made him a target for Norwich, Leicester and Bolton, according to reports. Standing only 5ft 5in tall, his strengths are his speed of movement in the penalty area and his cool finishing.

After being forced to own up over Gaynor, you'd have thought the Foreign Secretary might have had enough of double lives. But now, apparently, he has turned up in charge of Congleton Town in the Unibond League, calling himself Tommy Lawson. Does Mr Campbell know about this?

RUMOURS

Lazio ready to swap Boksic for Shearer

LAZIO ARE the latest club to join the queue for Alan Shearer, according to the People, who say the Italians are planning to offer Newcastle pounds 10m plus out-of-favour Alen Boksic to clinch a deal.

But the Express reports that the Geordies have not given up hope of hanging on to their prized asset and hope to solve their cash-flow crisis by offloading up to 10 other players in cut-price deals. They have supposedly instructed two leading agents to find buyers with the aim of raising pounds 20m in a month.

The Mail says Middlesbrough have agreed a pounds 3m deal with Benfica for the former Leeds striker Brian Deane, while the News of the World reckons Bryan Robson could lose goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to Manchester United. The People, meanwhile, believe striker Mikkel Beck is a target for Arsenal.

While the News of the World suggests that Leicester are ready to up Martin O'Neill's salary to pounds 750,000 and guarantee him complete control of team affairs, the People says he will take the Leeds job this week and make Barnsley's pounds 3m-rated Ashley Ward his first signing.

The Mail says Steve Walsh will take over as manager at Filbert Street with Tony Cottee as player-coach, disagreeing with the People's view that the Birmingham manager, Trevor Francis, will replace O'Neill.

Aston Villa are ready to lodge a formal pounds 8m bid for Blackburn's Chris Sutton (News of the World) and Marseilles have joined the hunt for Sutton's team-mate Tim Sherwood (People). Tottenham want Swedish star Johan Mjallby for pounds 3m (People), Roma are set to clinch a deal for Villa's Mark Bosnich (Mail) and Arsenal are set to offer Rosenborg pounds 4m for striker Sigurd Rushfeldt (News of the World).

Sam Hammam's latest plan for Wimbledon, reports the News of the World, is a merger with First Division West Bromwich Albion to form the West Brom Dons.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Today: No Premiership, so Brian Little gets the chance to take centre stage on Sky when he leads Stoke, top of the Second Division, into a televised home game against Chesterfield at the Britannia Stadium. Manchester City meet Preston in the night's other fixture.

Tomorrow: In the European Under-21 championship, Wales meet Belarus at Jenner Park, Barry (7.30), England face Luxembourg in Grevenmacher (6.15) and the Republic of Ireland take on Malton in Arklow (2.15).

Wednesday: In senior Euro action, Wales meet Belarus in Group One at Anfield (7.30), England seek to redeem themselves against Luxembourg in Group Five at the Stade Josy Barthel (7.30), the Republic of Ireland look for Group Eight points against Malta in Dublin (7.30) and Scotland face the Faroe Islands in Aberdeen in Group Nine (8.0). Scotland's under-21s are in Belgium (7.0).

Friday: Halifax take on Barnet in the Third Division.

Saturday: The Premiership rolls back into life with a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park and, perhaps, a first assignment as Leeds manager on familiar turf for Martin O'Neill, away to Nottingham Forest. Leaders Aston Villa are due at West Ham, champions Arsenal face bottom-of-the-table Southampton. Nationwide League leaders Huddersfield are at home to Queen's Park Rangers.

Sunday: The cameras are at Coventry for the visit of Sheffield Wednesday (4.0) and at West Bromwich, who play host to Sunderland (1.0).

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