Outside the Box: 'Scissorhands Sid' is a cut above the rest for Stoke

They come and go, these football managers, but fortunately for barber Sid Cartlidge, a 70-year-old Stoke City supporter, they all need a haircut from time to time. The man known as Scissorhands Sid reckons to have served 17 different managers, which by our reckoning takes him as far back as the Potters' icon Tony Waddington. He has just opened a new salon in town, at a ceremony attended by the current incumbent Tony Pulis and several predecessors, including Lou Macari (two spells as manager in the 1990s), George Eastham (1977-78) and the current director of football John Rudge. Ruthlessly cast aside by neighbouring Port Vale after 15 years as manager, Rudge is if anything even more, er, folically challenged than Pulis, and says: "It's not about what he takes off any more, but what he leaves on. I've so little hair left these days that Sid can give me a cut over the phone."

Sheffield's passage to India

Sheffield FC, officially regarded as the world's oldest football club, are currently doing their bit for England's 2018 World Cup bid by flying the flag in India. On Friday they lost 1-0 to Mohun Bagan (themselves founded more than 120 years ago) in a four-team tournament in Kolkata in which the former India Test batsman Sourav Ganguly is also taking part. The 38-year-old, a keen footballer during his schooldays, is playing for the hosts Mohammedan Sporting. Like successful rock stars, Sheffield have extended their tour into this week with a couple of extra dates, in Meghalaya on Tuesday and Guwahati on Thursday. Wayne Coyle, the Sheffield 2018 bid's director, says: "As part of the World Cup bid we want more people to have access to playing football and Sheffield FC's global brand will help us use football as a tool to tackle other social problems."

The Wombles are angry

The suggestion in this and other media that AFC Wimbledon would be delighted to play MK Dons in the FA Cup – as will now happen if both win their first-round replays next week – has been disputed by many supporters and the club itself. A rather po-faced announcement on the official website recording the possible meeting with "Milton Keynes" describes how the occasion would be "very painful for us". One long-standing fan of the original Wimbledon FC and their AFC offshoot told Outside the Box: "Emotions are still very raw and I'm not sure that I'd go because I would be so extraordinarily angry. Having to play them would mean acknowledging that they exist." There is, however, an alternative view as espoused by the supporter who wrote: "I've been waiting for this game for eight years." Neutrals who agree with him will be able to follow the game on ITV1 in the lunchtime slot on Saturday week, should it come to pass.

Gerrard and the Gray socks

The Sky Sports pundit Andy Gray, constantly speculating during Liverpool's game with Chelsea last weekend about whether Steven Gerrard would shoot direct from a free-kick or chip the ball forward, had clearly not been following the previous game against Napoli. In Five's television coverage of the Europa League game, the sharp-eyed Graham Taylor pointed out that every time Gerrard intends shooting from a free-kick he first pulls his socks right up. Opposing goalkeepers, as well as summarisers, take note.

May the Fort be with you

Time for an update on our old Highland League friends at Fort William – albeit not great news so far. The 6-0 drubbing by Turriff United was followed by an 8-1 defeat to Wick Academy and left the Fort in a familiar position, holding up the rest of the league. Going into this weekend's fixtures they had four points from 12 games and an unhelpful goal difference of 10-58. But as usual, two regular partners in difficulty were not far away: Rothes had only five points and Strathspey Thistle six. Just like Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal, the games between them are expected to decide how matters pan out by the end of the season. Check yesterday's results on page 11.


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