Francis Jeffers, who has just joined his ninth club in 10 years – Motherwell – has to go down as one of the great lost hopes of English football.
Given an Everton debut aged 16, at Old Trafford of all places, he is still the joint leading scorer for his country at Under-21 level – 13, with Alan Shearer – and, like David Nugent, can claim a full international record of a goal a game (on his only appearance, against Australia in 2003). But after a costly row with the then Everton manager Walter Smith, Jeffers appears to have developed a self-destructive streak.
Arsenal's Arsène Wenger was one of many managers whose faith proved unjustified, and supporters of his subsequent clubs have rarely had a good word for him. An exception was provided by whoever managed to defeat the censors for a while last week by adding to Jeffers' Wikipedia entry: "Deserves more than this dismall [sic] attempt at crediting his amazing career, seriously, Motherwell, you don't deserve his great ability."
Rutkiewicz drawin' a crowd
Football's musical reputation could be about to take a much-needed upward turn with the release of "Fair Drawin'", a debut single by Kevin Rutkiewicz, the St Johnstone club captain who is currently on loan to Dunfermline. His album "Handwritten", released last year, was well received and at the end of this month he is supporting Midge Ure in Kilmarnock.
Rutkiewicz, born in Scotland but with Polish ancestry, initially picked up a guitar while injured at his first club Aberdeen. Invited to play an Oxjam concert after joining St Johnstone, he developed a taste for live music and the confidence to play his own material. He is described by fans as akin to fellow countryman Paolo "Jenny Don't Be Hasty" Nutini.
Meanwhile, the former Manchester United striker Dion Dublin is having continued success with the band he manages, The Establishment, who are supporting Ocean Colour Scene at the University of East Anglia tomorrow week.
Record gives Fulham blues
Fulham will go into tomorrow night's Premier League game against Chelsea with what must be the worst record of any club against the team who are considered to be their biggest local rivals.
Defeat at Stamford Bridge in November, when Michael Essien scored the only goal and was then sent off, meant they have won only nine out of 72 meetings, and lost 42. Only smaller teams who have not often been in the same division as their neighbours can compare: notably Bradford City's two wins in 22 meetings with Leeds United.
Miller's Turkish delight
Talking of Leeds, they do like a red-haired Scottish midfield dynamo at Elland Road (Gordon Strachan, Billy Bremner etc), which could be good news for a more recent Scotland international.
Michael Stewart, formerly of Manchester United, Hibernian and Hearts, has been on trial this week after parting company with the Turkish club Genclerbirligi. Stewart claims that once he injured his ankle, the club stopped paying him and that they owe him £1m, an issue he is taking up with Fifa.
One compatriot happier with life in Turkey is Kenny Miller, who captained Scotland against Northern Ireland on Wednesday, having recently joined Bursaspor from Rangers. The food, he says, is "beautiful", although the driving is "like Wacky Races".
Help at hand for Harriers
Encouraging news of Kidderminster Harriers, the last non-League side to reach the FA Cup fifth round (in 1994, beating Birmingham City) before Crawley Town this season.
After winning promotion to the Football League in 2000 under Jan Molby, they stayed for five seasons but, apart from reaching one FA Trophy final, have struggled since and were threatened with administration if not liquidation.
The Kidderminster Harriers Independent Supporters Trust has raised more than £10,000 after appeals via Facebook and Twitter, and two former directors have paid the outstanding wage bill. The club is understood to be talking to new investors, although KHIST warn that nothing has yet been agreed.Reuse content