Outside the Box: Elliott linked with return to The Valley as chairman


Paul Elliott, one of the country's most widely experienced anti-racism campaigners, could make another breakthrough of his own by becoming the next chairman of Charlton Athletic.

Outside the Box understands talks have taken place that could lead to an offer to work with one of the country's few black managers in Chris Powell. Like Powell, Elliott is a former Charlton player. He reached landmarks later as one of the first black players in Italian football, with Pisa; as Celtic's first black player; and as Chelsea's first black captain.

Involved with the launch of the Kick It Out movement 20 years ago, and still a trustee, he is against a union solely for black players but would like to see football introducing a form of American football's "Rooney Rule", whereby a non-white candidate is put forward for managerial and coaching vacancies by a panel comprising representatives of organisations like the PFA and the League Managers' Association.

A league to swear by

Whatever problems Mark Clattenburg is having, the league in which he began refereeing claims to be making football a more family-friendly experience by having "spotters" reporting instances of bad language by players and coaches.

Small crowds at Northern League games mean that swearing is rarely drowned out, and spies close to the touchline are now employed to report it. Sanctions for persistent offenders could even go as far as suspension or expulsion from the league, whose chairman, Mike Amos, says: "We desperately need to attract more young people and families, and we don't believe they want to give money and time to hear gratuitously offensive language."

King of the derbies

Following last week's item on players to have appeared in most different local derbies, reader Neil Dacy is pushing the impressive claims of Craig Bellamy, who has become our clubhouse leader by appearing in genuine derbies for all nine of his clubs. And who better than the feisty little Welsh dragon for such occasions?

His initiation began with the East Anglian derby for Norwich, continuing via Coventry (v Aston Villa), Newcastle against Sunderland, Glasgow's Old Firm game, Blackburn against Bolton, West Ham against various London opposition including Spurs and Arsenal, then Manchester, Merseyside and South Wales. He receives bonus points too for having scored in seven of them.

For added overseas flavour, what of Nicolas Anelka? As well as Chelsea, Bolton (against Blackburn), Manchester, Merseyside and north London, he could claim derbies if not for Paris Saint-Germain (sadly lacking in genuine rivals) then for Real Madrid, Istanbul's Fenerbahce and even for Shanghai Shenhua against Shanghai Tellace.

What price a win?

So who made money from Arsenal's extraordinary comeback from 4-0 down to win 7-5 at Reading last Tuesday?

A good few punters who had more faith than those visiting supporters chanting "We want our Arsenal back", according to Ladbrokes, whose spokesman said: "The gamble grew and grew as their momentum did". At one stage Arsenal were 66-1 to qualify, which led to one bet of £100 and a string of smaller ones.

The big losers, however, were those who thought there was easy money to be made even when Reading were as short as 1-500. Betfair report that at 4-0 the home team were being backed at 1.01 (betting £100 to win £1); £77,000 was matched, and lost, at that price.

50 shades of Gray

And finally... Playing against Birmingham City last week, Neil Warnock's Leeds United should surely have introduced more colour from the substitutes' bench, which included Paul Green, Aidan White, Michael Brown and Andy Gray. White was the only one brought on and a second home defeat of the season resulted.

When White and Brown started in the Capital One Cup against Southampton in the week, with Gray as a late substitute, the outcome was a 3-0 win over the Premier League side.

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

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