Outside the Box: Strachan's son won't keep mum as broadcasting career beckons
Sunday 21 December 2008
Celtic's manager, Gordon Strachan, is either the wittiest of interviewees or a pain in the microphone, according to taste. "What were your impressions of the game, Gordon?" "I don't do impressions." This maverick approach has not deterred one of his sons, Gavin, from enrolling on the part-time degree course being run by Staffordshire University for footballers who are keen on pursuing a career in the media. The Professional Footballers' Association help with grants for the two-year course, from which the first crop of students – including the former Chelsea full-back Scott Minto, now of Sky Sports and TalkSport – recently graduated. Strachan Jnr, who has a blog on BBC Online every Tuesday, is among the new intake, with Blackpool's Ben Burgess (a 'News of the World' blogger). Roll on Strachan v Strachan.
McShane is right on money
When the England centre-half Peter Swan had a bet on his Sheffield Wednesday team losing to League champions Ipswich Town as part of the 1960s bribes scandal, he was sent to prison and suspended from football for life (a ban that was subsequently reduced to eight years). His younger namesake, another Yorkshireman, who played for Leeds and Hull among others, did rather better out of a wager he placed at Anfield last Saturday, where he was working as a summariser for Radio Humberside. Studying the odds on the first goalscorer for Liverpool's game against Hull City, Swan ignored Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt and (naturally enough) Robbie Keane and, on what he admitted was a rush of blood to the head, put his faith in Hull's Paul McShane, the right-back on loan from Sunderland whose career record at that point was seven goals from 108 games. With 12 minutes played, cue Marlon King for a cross to the far post, headed in by none other than McShane. Five pounds at 66-1, thank you very much. "I'd been at Doncaster races the previous day and won, so I was feeling lucky," Swan said. "The lad I work with said, 'McShane, are you stupid?' and I must admit that when the goal went in I nearly fell off my chair." Laughing even louder was the Spreadex punter who bought goal minutes in Manchester United's 5-3 spree against Gamba Osaka at a price of 145. The aggregate of goal times was a massive 554 minutes, giving a reward for a £10 stake of a cool £4,090.
Don't call us, we'll loan you
It may have seemed like a fun idea at the time – egged on by his giggling team-mates, no doubt – but the promising young League One player really should not have borrowed his manager's mobile and sent a string of messages on it, including offering the club's star player for sale at a knockdown fee. The strait-laced boss was not amused, and the young one is now fulfilling his promise on loan elsewhere – never, it seems, to return.
Millwall fans butt out
And finally, the more unreconstructed of Millwall's supporters (of whom plenty remain) must be getting increasingly worried about the club's image. The home game against Tranmere Rovers on 17 January will include a first at their New Den ground: free carbon monoxide tests as part of the national Stop Smoking campaign. Advice on "nicotine replacement therapy" will be available along with the usual burgers, chips and beer.
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