FOOTBALL: THAT WAS THE WEEKEND THAT WAS; Walsall saddle fans with shopping trip

While Stevenage Borough supporters were being asked to shell out up to pounds 30 to watch next Sunday's FA Cup tie against Newcastle when tickets went on sale at their Broadhall Way ground yesterday, the Hertfordshire outfit were not the only club embroiled in a row over prices.

Second Division Walsall have incurred the wrath of Saddlers fans with a curious offer by which supporters wanting to see their side's dream fourth-round game against Manchester United have to pay pounds 44 for an Old Trafford seat priced at pounds 19.

In the usual way, season-ticket holders were given first access to Walsall's 8,500-seat allocation, which go on general sale today. But the club created controversy by giving fans without season tickets a chance to jump the queue - so long as they spent pounds 25 in the club shop in addition to buying their ticket.

With a voucher offer also in operation, supporters without season tickets or the correct voucher accused the club of taking advantage of their anxiety to make sure of a full turn-out for Saturday's big occasion.

"I'm worried that most of the tickets will be sold before Monday, but I don't see why regular Walsall fans should have to pay an extra pounds 25 to get them," one disgruntled fan complained.

But the Walsall club secretary, Roy Whalley, insisted: "Genuine supporters will not mind buying goods at the shop. Our average gate is 4,000 and there are 8,500 tickets."

In any event, under FA Cup rules, a club can set any conditions it considers appropriate for the sale of tickets.

Stevenage, meanwhile, were selling tickets for the visit of Kenny Dalglish's team at pounds 12.50 for the East and North Terraces and pounds 20 for the main stand, rising to pounds 30 for a reserved place.

FAMILY

TREE

Breaking into the first team is tough enough for any player, but Andy Todd's progress at Bolton has also involved overcoming the barrier of his father.

The versatile 23-year-old has begun to establish himself as a key figure in the Bolton defence this season, but it has taken him two years to reach this stage and manager Colin Todd admits their relationship might have had something to do with that.

"It has taken him a long time to get into the side and I wonder if maybe I've treated him more severely than other players because he is my son," Todd senior said. "My staff were always pushing me hard to include him. Now he is in the side it has not surprised me that he has done well. I'm pleased also that the crowd seem to have accepted him, which is always something you are anxious about."

Bringing his son to the club from Middlesbrough two years ago presented a dilemma in itself. "It was a difficult signing for me," he said, "but we had a joint management team at the time, with Roy McFarland also here. Roy was just as keen, if not keener, and in the end I was able to leave the decision to him."

"Andy still lives at home, but we have a house rule that football is never discussed. In every other way we are a normal father and son, but if he wants to talk to me or I want to see him about a football matter, we meet in the office at the ground."

Young Tommy gunning for success

Having been christened Tommy Doherty, it was only to be expected that Bristol City's 18-year-old midfield player would be a little different from the average young footballer.

Indeed, the talented newcomer, who scored his second goal of the season as City extended their current run of form to one defeat in 18 matches at Wigan on Saturday, might have been typecast as a mere full-back had he not had the nerve to tell his manager, John Ward, that there was a lot more to his game than just that.

"He drove up to the training ground last summer to hunt me out," Ward said. "He was anxious to tell me that he wasn't just a defender and wouldn't mind if I wanted to play him in midfield. To be honest, it took me by surprise because here was a boy who had just got his first pro contract and doesn't tend to say much to anyone."

Doherty recalled the incident, saying: "I thought the manager might have seen me playing for the reserves at right-back and maybe didn't know I could play in midfield."

Ward describes his young player as a quietly confident lad and "not at all arrogant", but he clearly is not without a fiery side to his character, if not quite on the scale of the original Tommy Doc.

During one pre-season match, he was so determined to show his competitive edge that his manager was forced to substitute him for his own good - after only two minutes of play.

"He was charging around trying to kick everything and everyone," Ward said. "The referee told me that either we took him off or he would be sent off."

GOOD BOYS . . .

THE PREMIERSHIP'S

LEADING SCORERS

John Hartson 19

(West Ham)

Andy Cole 18

(Man Utd)

Kevin Gallacher 16

(Blackburn)

Dennis Bergkamp 14

(Arsenal) Chris Sutton

(Blackburn) Gianluca Vialli

(Chelsea)

. . . and BAD BOYS

THE SEASON'S RED AND YELLOW CARDS

Coventry

Leeds United

Arsenal

Derby

Bolton Everton

RUMOURS

Fact and fiction from the Sunday papers

Despite reports that Arsene Wenger is to rein in his overseas spending, yesterday's tabloids named four Dutchmen and a Dane as potential targets for the Arsenal manager.

The People reckons Dutch target No 1 is Milan striker Patrick Kluivert, who they say the Italians will sell if someone comes up with pounds 6m. The Mirror, however, believes Wenger's sights are on Ajax brothers Frank and Ronald de Boer and has offered a combined pounds 10m. Meanwhile, the News of the World says international defender Jaap Stam could be on his way to Highbury to be groomed as the successor to Tony Adams.

Wenger is also in the hunt for Rangers striker Brian Laudrup, according to the Express, who name Manchester United as rival bidders for the Danish star but believe both could be pipped by Chelsea, reported to be offering a pay deal to Laudrup worth a staggering pounds 3.5m a year.

The sale of Faustino Asprilla seems set to spark a Newcastle buying spree. Mirror spies say Kenny Dalglish is another with his eye on Kluivert, but is more interested in landing French midfield schemer Robert Pires for pounds 5m from Metz.

And if the News of the World's information is correct, Dalglish is also looking at Juventus striker Daniel Fonseca as a new partner for Alan Shearer. The same paper suggests Asprilla's return to Parma could make Argentinian striker Hernan Crespo a pounds 6m target for Blackburn.

Closer to home, Leicester are set to sign Stoke's England youth international wing-back Andy Griffin for pounds 1.5m (People) while Everton want to sign fervent fan Alan Stubbs from Celtic (Mirror).

On the managerial front, the Mirror believes Terry Venables could take over from Steve Coppell at Crystal Palace if director Mark Goldberg succeeds in a pounds 30m takeover and also suggests that Gerry Francis is top of Portsmouth's list as a replacement for Terry Fenwick.

The 1st Eleven

Norway's finest - a Premiership XI Scotland might encounter in France this summer.

Frode Grodas (Chelsea) Gunnar Halle (Leeds) Ronny Johnsen (Man Utd) Henning Berg (Man Utd) Stig Inge Bjornbye (Liverpool) Oyvind Leonhardsen (Liverpool) Alf-Inge Haland (Leeds) Stale Solbakken (Wimbledon) Petter Rudi (Sheffield Wed) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Man Utd) Tore Andre Flo (Chelsea)

Missing...

Mark Robins

(Leicester City)

Known best as the striker whose goal saved Alex Ferguson's job when Manchester United beat Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup eight winters ago, Robins appears to have run into a dead end at Leicester. Still only 28, he has not appeared in Martin O'Neill's side since April last year and there is no indication that his situation at Filbert Street is about to change. A month on loan at Reading in September, culminating in a 6-0 defeat against Tranmere, came to nothing, as did a proposed move to Greek club Panathinaikos. He waits now to see if a short-term contract with Deportivo Orense will open any doors in Spain.

Neil Wainwright

(Wrexham)

Having scored a spectacular 88th-minute winner after just 13 minutes of his first-team debut as a substitute at Blackpool last month, the 20- year-old left-winger repeated the feat as Wrexham took three points at Millwall on Saturday. The Warrington-born striker's 76th-minute goal settled the issue on his third full appearance. "He has a great chance in the game," his manager, Brian Flynn, declared afterwards.

Should Newcastle's nightmare become reality at Stevenage on Sunday, David Batty could always set his sights on another centre of sporting dreams. If he can borrow some riding breeches and fit in a few sessions in the sauna, he might just fool someone into letting him ride around a racecourse instead.

David Batty

Richard Dunwoody

PREMIERSHIP TEAM OF THE WEEK

DAVID SEAMAN

ARSENAL

IGOR STIMAC

DERBY COUNTY

COLIN HENDRY

BLACKBURN

JON NEWSOME

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY

NICLAS ALEXANDERSSON

SHEFF WED

PAUL TELFER

COVENTRY

TIM SHERWOOD

BLACKBURN

GARY SPEED

EVERTON

STEVE GUPPY

LEICESTER CITY

DARREN HUCKERBY

COVENTRY

KEVIN GALLACHER

BLACKBURN

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?