Outside the Box: Young Firm just like the old for Glasgow's 'Milan derby'
After a year spent three Leagues apart, Scotland's Old Firm finally met for exactly the first time in 12 months last week, and needless to say the occasion went with a bang. There were smoke bombs to delay the kick-off, damaged seats and arrests – all for an Under-17 game, which the Rangers coach Billy Kirkwood described as "just like the Milan derby". The occasion was the final of the 126-year-old Glasgow Cup, which in 1986 drew 40,000 spectators but is now a youth tournament. More than 6,000 turned up at Partick Thistle's Firhill Stadium to see Rangers win 3-2 with two goals from Junior Ogen, a Cameroonian who recently scored six in a 10-1 victory over Airdrie's Under-17s.
Bad days at Goodison
Can any team have a worse away record than Fulham's at Everton? Losing to a goal by Steven Pienaar last week meant they have never won in 25 League matches there and have been beaten in the past 20 since a goalless draw in 1959. True, they are not much better away to Manchester United (one win and 17 defeats in 18 trips). Nor are Everton themselves (20 games since an Old Trafford win in 1992), Newcastle (no win in 29), Southampton or Sunderland (both without a win in 18).
What's in a name? Money
Liverpool supporters will doubtless be relieved to learn that the Qatari telecommunications group Ooredoo have denied being in talks with the club about a deal that would involve stadium-naming rights. "Ooredoo Anfield" hardly trips off the tongue. Such sponsorships will unquestionably continue to materialise, however, and after agreeing a lucrative £97 million, 20-year deal with Allianz, who also have naming rights to Bayern Munich's ground, the Brazilian club Palmeiras are at least allowing their fans to choose what their stadium is called – to some extent, anyway. The choices that supporters have been presented with in an online poll are: Allianz Parque, Allianz Center or Allianz 360°. York City's ground is mercifully no longer known as Kit Kat Crescent, but in honour of another confectionery company Ireland's Drogheda United are still playing at Hunky Dorys Park.
Nev'll bury old differences
The former Wales and Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall is offering to help Bury, his financially stricken first League club, "in any way I can – apart from playing, obviously". It could be said he has already done his bit, after the Lancashire club spent £6,000 on him when he was a bin-man playing for Winsford United and then sold him to Everton for £150,000. Now they need £1m or, according to the club's chairman, Brian Fenton, "the club will cease to exist". Southall, who following his retirement had brief and unsuccessful periods as manager of Dover and then Hastings United, added the little barb: "They know where I am, or they should do, because I applied for the manager's job twice."
In full swing in the Sixties
Forty years on from probably their most famous matches, Kevin Hector and Roger Davies will turn out for a Derby County Legends XI at Pride Park on Friday at 7pm. Both men could be excused if they have lost a yard or two of pace; Hector is now 68 and his fellow striker 62. Hector was a regular scorer in two League championship successes with the club, and in 1973 won the first of his two England caps as a belated substitute in the home game against Poland that Alf Ramsey's team had to win to qualify for the World Cup finals. Bizarrely, Ramsey's watch had stopped and he did not realise there were only two minutes left as England sought the decisive goal. Hurriedly sent on at Bobby Moore's urging, Hector still had time for a header that was cleared off the line. Earlier that year, Davies, a typical Brian Clough/Peter Taylor signing from Worcester City, made his name with a hat-trick in Derby's remarkable 5-3 FA Cup win at Tottenham after they had been 3-1 down with 10 minutes left. Friday's match is against the Charityboyz, in aid of the Alzheimer's Society and a young local girl who is suffering from brain cancer.
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