Outside the Box: Rooney clan don Sunday best but their cup final is at Anfield
Sunday 26 April 2009
This is a big weekend for Wayne Rooney; and not because of Manchester United's important Premier League game with Tottenham yesterday. This afternoon the England striker's brother and cousin play in the FA Sunday Cup final for the quaintly named Croxteth team Oyster Martyrs – who are managed by his uncle – against Scots Grey from Nottingham. Uncle Richie, a devoted Evertonian, says the only disappointment is that the final is being played at Anfield, not Goodison.
Pool fans' Valley of tears
Mixed emotions for Blackpool fans who followed the team to Charlton last Saturday. The Supporters Club coach was caught up in queues following the closure of the M6 after an accident and arrived just in time to hear the announcement: "there will be three minutes of added time". Those still keen enough to find their way into the ground were just in time to see Lee Hughes score and earn a 2-2 draw. Blackpool have agreed to refund the cost of coach and match tickets.
Carsley's no class act
It seemed a good idea at the time: Birmingham's Lee Carsley visiting a local school to give a talk on "inner motivation". Pupils from St Albans College were able to see just how motivated the midfielder was for the next game, a crucial local derby with Wolves. He was sent off for a tackle that could have broken Chris Iwelumo's leg.
The bizarre life of Brian
Another addition to the Brian Clough oeuvre arrives this week with 150 BC: Cloughie – The Inside Stories (Hot Air Publishing, £18.99) by the Midlands journalist Dave Armitage. The book consists of 150 anecdotes, including three from Leeds players at the time of the famous 44 days at Elland Road. One of the oddest tales is from Chris Fairclough, who as a young apprentice at Nottingham Forest was summoned to the manager's office, where he could hear music playing. Told that it was "Nellie Lutcher, what you call real singing", he was instructed to sit and listen to a couple of tracks before being sent away. He remembered the incident when Clough died, bought a compilation album of the Afro-American R and B singer and is now a fan.
FA backing Fashanu day
One of the less glorious aspects of Clough's career was his treatment of Justin Fashanu, who cost £1m from Norwich City but played only 31 games. The manager would demand of him: "Why do you keep going to that bloody poofs' club?" Fashanu, still Britain's only leading openly gay footballer, was found hanged in an east London garage in May 1998. This Saturday is Justin Fashanu Day, part of the campaign against homophobia in football by amateur side Brighton Bandits FC, supported by the Football Association.
Ashley on his uppers
Newcastle United's owner Mike Ashley has seen the valuation of his estimated wealth drop by 50 per cent in the past 12 months according to the Sunday Times Rich List, from nearly £1.4bn to £700m. Ashley, 44, bought Newcastle in 2007 for £138m and has invested another £120m since. He took the club off the market in December but rumours continue that he would be willing to sell if the right offer arose.
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