Football: The Sweeper: Gullit homes in on Netherlands

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The Independent Online
RUUD GULLIT has backtracked on the idea of finding a permanent home in the north-east, some may say wisely given last weekend's ignominious start to his Geordie career. The former Sloane Ranger has more or less admitted that he intends to commute from the Netherlands. Presumably, when he said he intended to live "as close to the city centre as possible", he meant Amsterdam, Newcastle.

However, the north-east press have persisted this week with stories about his house hunting activities on Tyneside with girlfriend Estelle - the niece of Johann Cruyff - and baby daughter, Joelle. If he does eventually put down roots in the area he will be the first Newcastle manager to do so since Ossie Ardiles. Kevin Keegan bought a place on Sir John Hall's Wynyard Estate, which is about 40 miles outside Newcastle, while Kenny Dalglish moved to Durham after commuting for a time from Southport.

Gullit and Estelle are said to be looking at houses in the same Jesmond area where Ardiles lived. One hopes the property is of a more solid construction than that of Ardiles. Two days before the Argentinian was served his P45, the disgraced director Douglas Hall addressed the press following a 5- 2 defeat at Oxford and said: "Ossie's job is as safe as houses".

AT LEAST Gullit was only put through the wringer once at the weekend, unlike Magpies' fan Chris Douglas, who discovered that his season ticket, like his team, had been mangled by a turbo charged machine - in his case, his washer. A simple case of a replacement ticket, one would have thought. Not likely. The 20-year-old has been told he must wait a month for a replacement and pay for individual tickets in the meantime with the promise of only a 50 per cent refund on his pounds 90 outlay. Exploitation of Newcastle fans? Never. "It's not just a case of issuing him with a new ticket," said club spokesman Graham Courtney. "We have to change all the computer records. To be fair, it's actually quite an advanced job." Not unlike attempting to lead the Magpies to a win, then.

THERE MAY be only one Rush as far as Liverpool and Wrexham are concerned, but in the 1992 FA Cup final there were two of them and the only one who mattered in the north-east in those days was Sunderland's - namely David Rush. A Wembley appearance may have been a regular high point for Ian but for David - no relation - it represented a mountain-top from which he was to fall with disastrous consequences.

Even in these days of astronomical earnings, his decline serves as a warning to the young. "At that time I thought I was untouchable, I was a star on my own doorstep," he said.

"I didn't think about security - I just blew the lot. People filled my head with rubbish, they had me convinced I would become a superstar". Six years after that day out at Wembley, Rush is penniless and playing Sunday league football for his local pub - at the ripe old age of 27. But after a car crash in March, which left him with his jaw, cheekbone and neck broken, as well as back injuries, he is hoping to rebuild his career.

SINCE THE former Leeds United midfielder Ian Snodin took over as Doncaster's manager in the summer he has signed Neville Southall, John Sheridan, Tommy Wright and and now this week a new No 2 - his elder brother Glyn, also ex-Leeds. Ian is the player-manager but he still expects to be told what to do by his big brother. "We're close as brothers", he said. "But since I'm still playing, Glyn will take training, and anything he wants to do I will abide by. And on Saturdays he will have the role of manager."

When it comes to reconstruction, Rovers certainly got the right man. The new owner, Aidan Phelan, asked John Ryan, a former benefactor of the club, to become the chairman. It has been well documented how Ryan made his money from cosmetic surgery and how Melinda Messenger was among those whose career he gave a lift. But how come he didn't choose to invest in one of the Bristol clubs - or possibly even the pair of them?

FLOWER POWER is alive and kicking in Chinese football. When the team Huandao equalised from a controversial penalty in a recent league game against Yanbian, 1,000 of the home team's supporters demonstrated against the referee's decision outside the government building in the town. And when their protests went ignored some of them took to smashing flower pots. And then the following night they staged a silent vigil. Any similarity with the San Francisco flower children, however, ends with the pot.

Paul Ince would like a One 2 One with Mel Gibson, according to the phone company's latest magazine. "He is a great actor who inspired me in his role as William Wallace in Braveheart," says Ince, rather unconvincingly. Glenn Hoddle's ideal One 2 One partner is not mentioned but as it would probably be Glenn Hoddle, that's no surprise.

As You Were

THE NEATLY coiffered Harry Redknapp (above, left) joined West Ham in 1964, but it was not until the 1967-68 season that he secured a regular place on the wing, where he played 170 times and scored eight goals. The closest he came to honours with the Hammers was a League Cup semi-final defeat to Stoke, which was eventually settled after a second replay at Old Trafford. From East London, Redknapp moved to Bournemouth, Brentford, Seattle (US), Oxford and Bournemouth again, before returning to Upton Park in 1992 as assistant manager, and later, manager. Redknapp today (above, right) can not only take pride in assembling the strongest squad West Ham have had in at least a decade, but in his son Jamie, who, although never a Hammer, will be an international player for some time to come.

The price is right

EVER THE existentialist, Sweeper would be the first to admit that the seagulls following this trawler are still awaiting that first sardine, but England should put seafood firmly on the menu by dispatching Sweden with clinical efficiency this afternoon. England's away form was excellent in their World Cup qualifiers and the Hod squad showed against Argentina that they are right up there with the best on the planet. Marvellous Michael Owen looks a blinding bet at 5-1 with the Nanny Goat (Tote) to score the first goal in what should be a 2-0 victory. Plucky Scotland are beset by striking problems and their game against Lithuania may well end goalless. Conversely, the socialist shindig between Ukraine and Russia should not, and the proletariat should be treated to a `Desmond' (2-2).



Sweden v England

Correct result tip: England to win (pounds 4 at 11-8, Ladbrokes & Tote).

Correct score tip: 2-0 England (pounds 1 at 9-1, generally available).

First goal-scorer: Michael Owen (pounds 2 at 5-1, Tote).


(Game expected to end 0-0)

Lithuania v Scotland

(pounds 1 at 6-1, Coral).


(Game expected to end 2-2)

Ukraine v Russia (pounds 1 at 18-1, Hills).



(pounds 1 accumulator with Ladbrokes): Faroe Islands (16-1) to beat Czech Republic, Iceland (10-1) to beat France, Malta (14-1), to win in Macedonia, Latvia (16-1), to win in Norway and Azerbaijan (16-1) to win in Slovakia. Payout: pounds 810,645.

ORIGINAL BANK: pounds 100.

CURRENT KITTY: pounds 80.38.

TOTAL WAGERED TODAY: pounds 10.90. (including 90p tax paid on).


Name: Rick Parry.

Position: Chief executive of Liverpool FC.

Form: Ex-chief executive of the Premier League (where he negotiated the highest-ever sports TV deal with BSkyB); ex-consultant to Birmingham and Manchester Olympic Games' bids; has also worked as a chartered accountant for Ernst and Young.

Big Ideas: Experience in TV and event management make Parry an ideal man to advise Liverpool on the future of European football - the club will contribute to Uefa's task force to modernise competitions. Parry will ensure the Reds don't lose out.


Found on the Web: Memories of famous Wales matches of our time


In 1966, Wales travelled to Wembley to take on the newly-crowned World

Champions in a European Championship qualifier. Our brave warriors put up a fight worthy only of the present-day team. They lost 5-1.


Not that I'm morbid or anything, but this was another hammering. We'd

beaten the Germans 1-0 in Cardiff and 4,000 Taffies went to Nuremburg

with hopes of a decent result which would mean us qualifying for the European Championships. Gavin Maguire's second-minute back-pass, a sending off, and we lost 4-1. Why do we bother?


delia smith

norwich city

Cookery author and football club director

"I only became aware of football when I was 25 and England won the World Cup, in 1966. Anyone who was 25 then became a football fan overnight. My first live match was England against Ireland, with George Best playing. My second live match was in Norwich with my boyfriend. I remember going through the turnstiles, and we stood at the River End and it was brilliant. Then we got married, and I became a Norwich fan from then on... When you think of all we have these days, football remains in the dark ages. Stadiums are just not built for [being hospitable]. The worst things are the food and the toilets."

Seen But Not Bought

WHAT BOLTON fan would want to be without their very own Bolton Wanderers' Ice Bucket? Made from "Rivington-cut" 24 per cent Lancashire lead crystal, the bucket retails at a remarkably affordable pounds 54.99 and is surely the fashionable option for half-time refreshments. Emblazoned with a classy Wanderers' crest, the bucket would no doubt come in handy on many occasions. Queues for the toilets can get very lengthy, after all.

Who Ate All The pies?

THE RANGERS' Scottish Dinner gives a good indication of what a fan requires before a match at Ibrox. The starter - Chieftain o' the Puddin' Rice - is served "wi' a Dram", the Sirloin of Scotch beef is served in a whisky sauce, and the main ingredient in the Tipsy Laird Trifle is whisky. All this for pounds 27.50, and no doubt it's served early enough to leave time for a few quick drinks afterwards.

They're Not all Dennis Bergkamp

Unsung foreign legionnaires No 4


The 25-year-old Argentinian midfielder is currently playing at Hartlepool. Di Lella was born in Buenos Aires and played football in his home country for the Second Division side, All Boys, before moving to the Spanish Second Division side, Grenada. He progressed, for nothing, to Darlington, and then to non-league Blyth Spartans. His FA Cup goal against Blackpool last November - on Match of the Day to boot - made him a Spartans hero. Shirt- waving, South American-style celebrations followed him to Hartlepool. On a one-year contract, he scored from a free-kick last week against Hull, and is rated as `not bad at all' by followers of Hartlepool.