Football: The Sweeper: Scoreboard spells trouble for Leek

AS IF relegation from the Nationwide Conference with some of the lowest crowds ever recorded in the competition were not bad enough, poor Leek Town are now being sued by Port Vale for non-payment of an electronic scoreboard which the First Division club sold them. That would be a sad enough story alone if it were not for the fact that Leek, who bought the item (which more often than not is used for relaying the scores of opposing teams rather than their own sorry side) for a nominal sum, have spent pounds 14,000 trying to get the thing working. Vale have responded that it was "definitely working when it left us".

DON HUTCHISON, the one-time wild thing of Anfield, claims he is a reformed character nowadays, but he certainly appeared to be up to some of his old tricks the other week in Bremen, when starting his first senior international for Scotland in the friendly against Germany. While Swiss referee, Urs Meier, was jogging past him during the pre-match warm-up, Hutchison took careful aim and chipped the ball so it landed on the referee's head. When Meier spun around, Hutchison looked in the other direction like a naughty schoolboy caught red-handed before pointing in the direction of a colleague. Fortunately for Hutchison, Meier saw the funny side of it and the Scot avoided a booking before the game had even begun - if such a thing were possible. Unfortunately for Germany, they failed to see this early warning of the Everton player's technique. Hutch, of course, went on to score the only goal of the game.

AFTER SWANSEA'S Cyril the Swan had his wings clipped by the FA of Wales, it could be the turn of the Wolves mascot, Wolfie, to come in for disciplinary action. Wolfie has been reported to the Football Association for crowd incitement and bringing the game into disrepute after an allegedly unprovoked attack on Baggie Bird, West Bromwich Albion's mascot, in the pre-match warm-up at last month's Black Country derby at Molineux.

Baggie fan Noel Bishop said: "Passions always run high at derbies and this match was no exception," said Bishop, "but the 3,000 Albion fans were going crazy, especially when Wolfie goaded us."

WITH THE season nearly at an end, the time has come for The Sweeper's awards of the footballing year. Without further ado, the gongs are:

BEST OWN GOAL

Nottingham Forest's pre-season sale of Kevin Campbell, who showed the City Ground what he can do for struggling Premiership clubs with a quick- fire six goals while on loan to Everton.

STRIKERS OF THE SEASON

Pierre van Hooijdonk, whose selfish withdrawal of labour ultimately cost manager Dave Beasant his job and Forest any hope of survival; and Paolo Di Canio, whose attack on referee Paul Alcock and subsequent suspension did much to undermine Sheffield Wednesday's season.

SPECIAL AWARD FOR SERVICES TO TUMBLING

Mr Alcock himself. Not for falling under the hand of Di Canio, of course, because that was a terrible, harsh push that would have demolished a wall. This is for general lack of balance in the past. As The Sweeper revealed earlier this season that the Kent official's tumble at the hands of the Italian was his third trip to the turf. Frank Sinclair (when at West Brom) and Wayne Biggins (when at Stoke) also received suspensions after their past run-ins.

LAUGHING-ALL-THE-WAY-TO-THE-BANK SALE OF THE SEASON

Rookie Kevin Davies' pounds 7.5m move from Southampton to more-money-than-sense Blackburn for a net return of one League goal. Runner-up: John Hartson's pounds 7m transfer from West Ham to Wimbledon for the same modest return.

TEAM OF THE SEASON (FIRST HALF OF IT)

Aston Villa.

JuRGEN KLINSMANN'S DIVING AWARD

David Ginola (Tottenham Hotspur), who stayed on two feet long enough to also win the PFA and FWA awards.

FIRST ANNUAL GOLDEN WHEELCHAIR AWARD FOR SERVICES TO THE DISABLED

Glenn Hoddle.

SPECIAL AWARD FOR SERVICES TO THE NATION

Eileen Drewery, whose indoctrination of Glenn Hoddle provided the Football Association with the perfect excuse to get rid of their failing, crackpot coach.

COWARDICE AWARD

The FA (for the above reasons).

BUSYBODY AWARD

Sports minister Tony Banks and PM Tony Blair, with special thanks to Richard and Judy. (All for meddling in the aforementioned affair).

COTTAGE INDUSTRY AWARD

Mohamed Al Fayed, of Fulham and still Egypt - "I give you promotion, a passport [Kevin Keegan] to Europe but you give me nothing in return - apart from Harrods."

MOST REGRETTABLE QUOTE MADE WHEN NOT IN POSSESSION OF THE FULL FACTS AWARD

Middlesbrough's manager Bryan Robson, who said of Paul Gascoigne after the first match of the season in August: "He [Gazza] assured me he only had two glasses of red wine, so as far as I'm concerned that's not a problem. That's a nice sensible night out."

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn