Outside the Box: Capello turns a deaf ear to Joey's international claims

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The Independent Football

After reading about Fabio Capello describing him as a "dangerous" selection because he was likely to get sent off, Joey Barton insisted on taking a positive line by writing on his entertaining Twitter feed (@Joey7Barton): "he used the words 'me' and 'good player' in the same sentence."

The Newcastle maverick might have been less sanguine had he heard the start of the actual exchange during the media briefing with Sunday journalists. Reporter: "Was Joey Barton in your provisional squad?" Puzzled England manager: "Who? Johnson?"

A tweeting footballer-philosopher to rival Barton is Yeovil's new signing Kieran Agard (@Kier1010), who quotes among others Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Teresa, James Dean and the Bible. Agard, a 21-year-old striker, made a small piece of history as football's first Twitter transfer (inevitably labelled a "twansfer") when he joined Yeovil this summer.

The Glovers' manager Terry Skiverton used his social networking skills to ask for details of any potential new players that his followers could recommend and fans of numerous clubs came up with all manner of names. Some they were desperate to be rid of but the young Londoner was a genuine recommendation who has Premier League experience with Everton – he appeared in last December's 3-3 draw at Chelsea.

Leeds bash a granny

Local derbies involving the two Nottingham clubs, and Leeds United against Bradford City helped raise the average attendance for the midweek League Cup ties.

But one keen supporter missing from Leeds' game (an exciting 3-2 victory) was the 63-year-old great-grandmother Margaret Musgrove, who has been banned from home and away matches for a year. Her crime was to enter the pitch as Leeds players did their lap of appreciation after the final game of last season.

"It's not like I am a hooligan," she protested. "I just wanted to shout 'Lads, I love you'." The club's safety officer, alas, insisted that the punishment for coming on to the pitch was automatic and it has stood despite an official appeal and a Facebook campaign to reprieve her.

Heaven's XI for trio

The last time all three promoted clubs survived in the Premier League was the 2001-02 season, when Blackburn finished 10th, Fulham 13th and Bolton 16th. The successful trio have stayed there ever since, with remarkably similar records, and so start their 11th successive season among the big boys.

Blackburn are being tipped to break the sequence, though their average position in that period is 11th, with five top-10 finishes; Bolton and Fulham both average 12th place.

Stags get a rutting

Mansfield Town must have been relieved to start their Blue Square Premier programme yesterday and escape pre-season friendlies (so-called).

The game away to Ilkeston, who are managed by the former Chelsea striker Kevin Wilson, was abandoned when Mansfield's manager Paul Cox took his players off in the 73rd minute. Three of his team had to be taken to hospital, all after incidents involving Ilkeston's player-coach Gary Ricketts, who has been suspended by his club.

The worst injury was to defender John Thompson, who needed more than 40 stitches in a facial wound and, according to the Mansfield physiotherapist, has "a chunk of skin missing, probably still on the advertising hoarding". Mansfield are now suing their opponents for loss of earnings.

Out of this Cosmos

The New York Cosmos, reconstituted by former Tottenham director Paul Kemsley, who were beaten 6-0 by Manchester United in Paul Scholes' testimonial at Old Trafford, may not have a league to play in yet but they can never be accused of knowingly underselling anything.

Their pen pictures of the players involved in the game included a description of Gary Neville as "the greatest British full-back of all time and the finest defender ever to play in the English Premier League".

Not even Sky Sports offer their new pundit such praise.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk; www.twitter.com/@stevetongue

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