Football: THAT WAS THE WEEKEND THAT WAS

Creaney sends a reminder to City

It is impossible, unless you are a United fan, not to feel just a little sorry for hapless Manchester City. Whatever steps manager Frank Clark takes in trying to shore up his leaky defence or find a consistent, capable - and happy - goalscorer, nothing seems to work.

Take away the six against Swindon, the product of a virtuoso display by Clark's unsettled Georgian star, Giorgi Kinkladze, and City's goals tally amounts to 13 in 15 games.

No wonder City fans with an eye on Gerry Creaney's sudden return to form are wondering if Maine Road is cursed. On Saturday, the 27-year-old Scot netted his eighth goal in 10 starts so far - for Second Division Burnley, with whom he is currently on loan.

It is just the kind of scoring rate to which Creaney became accustomed during his time with Celtic (36 goals in 113 games) and Portsmouth (29 in 57), but which City have never been able to coax from him since Alan Ball paid pounds 2m for his talents more than two years ago.

Curiously, despite his strike rate, none of the four men through City's revolving manager's door since Creaney's signing have been convinced of his abilities. Of his mere 20 Premiership and Endsleigh League matches, only seven have been as a starter and, given that level of confidence, a goals return of just four in two seasons is hardly surprising.

Clearly, Burnley manager Chris Waddle sees him in a better light. Although the Clarets lost at Blackpool on Saturday, that defeat was preceded by a six-match unbeaten run, a vast improvement on Burnley's dreadful start in which they failed to score for six matches.

"I always felt it would come right for us eventually," Waddle said. "We have the right players now to make some progress."

FAMILY

TREE

It is little wonder the Linighan brothers - three of whom still make a living from the professional game - have developed a collective reputation as defenders of particular resilience.

Their father, Brian, made only two League appearances in his career, the first of which obliged him to turn out in six inches of snow for Lincoln against Cardiff in 1958.

It was not the best of debuts. By half-time, Lincoln, who were then bottom of the Second Division, were three goals down and it was to their relief that worsening conditions caused the game to be called off. Brian left Lincoln without making a further appearance to enjoy a similarly brief playing career with Darlington.

Curiously, Brian Jnr, the youngest of his three sons at 24, has only one League start to his name, for Sheffield Wednesday against Wimbledon in January 1994, although he had already made his debut against the same opponents in a League Cup quarter-final. He left Wednesday for Bury on a free transfer last May.

In contrast, 31-year-old Andy Linighan, who joined Crystal Palace for a bargain pounds 150,000 from Arsenal last January, recently passed 500 League games for six clubs, matching the achievements of his older brother, the 32-year-old Blackpool skipper, David.

Hereford must profit from revenge

If Hereford United win their FA Cup first-round tie next Saturday, the scenes at their Edgar Street ground might not quite resemble those that followed the famous demise of Newcastle United there 25 years ago. They will, however, be unreservedly happy ones.

Their opponents, for those readers who do not follow these matters closely, are Brighton and Hove Albion, whose 1-1 draw in the West Country on the last day of last season dramatically saved their own Third Division skins and consigned poor Hereford to the Vauxhall Conference.

Revenge, therefore, is in the air and it would take a confident Brighton supporter to bet against their bringing it off. While the homeless South Coast club - beaten at home by Rotherham on Saturday - have won only twice all season and not at all in their last seven matches, Hereford have lost only once in their last nine Conference games.

And Brighton could hardly find themselves up against a hungrier club.

Although results have been encouraging, they are still carrying the burden of the financial problems that so weakened their bid for Nationwide League survival. Tax and VAT bills are still to be settled and the players only recently had to endure seven weeks without wages.

Ironically, it was only after supporters picked the recent match against Southport to protest about the club's financial plight - and demand the resignation of veteran chairman Peter Hill -that there was enough cash from a bumper gate to pay them.

"In a strange way," director of football Graham Turner said, "the fact that the players had not been paid has acted as a bonding process for all of us."

Hill, who has been with the club 30 years, is ready to sell to the right bidder. In the meantime, however, the players are ready to grasp a run in the Cup as the passport to their own salvation.

RUMOURS

Fact and ction from the Sunday papers

Convinced that Tottenham manager Gerry Francis will throw in the towel, the News of the World helpfully reveals his successor to be Jurgen Klinsmann, who confesses his love for the club and country in a two-page interview. The plan, apparently, is for the German striker to be player- coach under the guidance of a technical supremo, with Joe Kinnear favourite for that role ahead of George Graham and David Pleat...

The Mail on Sunday's "exclusive" on an pounds 11m Juventus move for Steve McManaman finds its way also into the Mirror and the News of the World, both of whom say Milan are also in the hunt...

Players soon to be leaving Milan include pounds 3m-rated Dutch midfielder Edgar Davids, in whom the Mirror and People say Chelsea have revived their interest, and Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert, a pounds 5m target for Newcastle (News of the World)...

According to the People, however, Kenny Dalglish is checking on Strasbourg's David Zitelli and Crewe's Dele Adebola in a wide-ranging search for a new source of goals...

The same paper reckons Arsenal have asked Aston Villa about Dwight Yorke and that Manchester United have Dynamo Kiev striker Andrei Shevchenko at the top of their sopping list, despite a pounds 10m price tag...

Leicester will offer Steve Claridge and Garry Parker plus pounds 4m for Manchester City's Georgi Kinkladze (News of the World), while Everton want Steve Staunton and Mark Draper from Aston Villa and will off-load Andy Hinchcliffe to Blackburn (People).

Missing...

Chris Kiwomya

(Arsenal)

Signed for pounds 1.25 million from Ipswich in January 1995, the Yorkshire- born forward remains an Arsenal player a staggering 30 months after his last Premiership appearance. He last started a match in March 1995, against Manchester United. Not that he has been completely idle. Having spent the latter part of last season in France with Le Havre, the 27-year-old striker has now been shipped off to Selangor, the Malaysian club managed by former Chelsea and QPR defender Steve Wicks, who hopes Kiwomya's goals can carry a team known locally as the "Red Giants" to the Malaysia Cup, in which he set up Selangor's equalising goal against Brunei last week.

Damien Duff

(Blackburn Rovers)

Just 18 years old, the Irish-born winger brought to England from Lourdes Celtic made his senior debut in the last match of last season and impressed new manager Roy Hodgson enough during pre-season to remain in Blackburn's first-team squad. Nine Premiership appearances so far this season include eight as a substitute, the latest of which - on Saturday - brought his first senior goal.

One look at Keith Gillespie's deep-set eyes and pointy ears should have reminded Kenny Dalglish of what Tory leader William Hague told him: never pin your hopes on a right-winger with a dodgy record on Europe.

The 1st Eleven

Eleven teenagers cutting their teeth in the Premiership

Nicolas Anelka (Arsenal) 18

Danny Cadamarteri (Everton) 18

Jamie Carragher (Liverpool) 19

Damien Duff (Blackburn) 18

Rio Ferdinand (West Ham) 19

Emile Heskey (Leicester) 19

Harry Kewell (Leeds) 19

Alan Maybury (Leeds) 19

Jody Morris (Chelsea) 18

John Oster (Everton) 18

Michael Owen (Liverpool) 17

PREMIERSHIP TEAM OF THE WEEK

NEVILLE SOUTHALL

EVERTON

RICHARD SHAW

COVENTRY

GARETH SOUTHGATE

ASTON VILLA

GARY CROFT

BLACKBURN

RAY PARLOUR

ARSENAL

ROBERTO DI MATTEO

CHELSEA

ANDY ROBERTS

C PALACE

OYVIND LEONHARDSEN

LIVERPOOL

PETTER RUDI

SHEFF WED

ANDY BOOTH

SHEFF WED

TEDDY SHERINGHAM

MAN UTD

GOOD BOYS . . .

THE PREMIERSHIP'S

LEADING SCORERS

John Hartson 13

(West Ham)

Dennis Bergkamp 11

(Arsenal)

Chris Sutton 11

(Blackburn)

Andy Cole 11

(Manchester United)

Gianluca Vialli 10

(Chelsea)

Ian Wright 9

(Arsenal)

. . . and BAD BOYS

THE SEASON'S RED AND YELLOW CARDS

Leeds United

Bolton

Everton

Arsenal

Coventry

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected