Ipswich take on the world

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Ipswich Town may be going nowhere in the Premiership (except down probably) but perhaps they do not need to go anywhere. The world seems to come to them. They have a teamful of players who come from everywhere, it seems. They have used the following players so far this season: Forrest (Canada); Yallop (Canada), Wark (Scotland), Taricco (Argentina), Williams (Wales), Norfolk (New Zealand), Genchev (Bulgaria), Thomsen (Denmark), Paz (Uruguay), Neil Gregory (Zambia), and Mathie (Scotland). It is curious that I should have been alerted to this oddity by Peter Marjoram of Ipswich Community Radio. Some community.


And some commentary, too, on ITV's European Champions' League coverage. Did anyone else hear Jack Charlton refer to Hijack Split?


Viewing figures suggest you'll all be delighted that Fantasy Football League returns to BBC2 on Friday night. What is fantasy football? It's that odd form of the game in which no one knows the result before the kick-off.


Hartlepool United's chairman, Harold Hornsey, is so fed up with his club's image in the press that he issued a rebuke to the media at their home match last Saturday, which resulted in a (sadly) rare win. He said it concerned him that every article in the media referred to the club as "cash-strapped, hard up, debt-ridden, financial minnows or crisis club." Any (polite) suggestions how else to refer to the 90th-placed club with desperately low home gates?

Introducing the football protest song. Exotica, who brought you the quirky Bend It! series of football compilations, release a CD single next week titled Eric the King. Timed to coincide with Cantona's court appearance, the title song is to the tune of "Lily the Pink" (move over, Bob Dylan), backed with "Ooh-Aah, Eric Cantona" based on "Go West".

Completing the track listing is what the press release describes as "an ethnomusicological field recording featuring the rich oral history indigenous to the Old Trafford terraces . . . several innovative examples of copsasis (the transmutation of pop songs into football chants by the specific alteration of the lyrical content.)" That is, a bunch of blokes singing in a pub, one of whom has named his daughter Laura Jane Cantona.


For the first time in living memory, West Bromwich Albion emerged for the midweek derby against Wolves without the "The Liquidator," Harry J and the All Stars' 25-year-old reggae hit, crackling over the tannoy. Wolves also have a claim on the tune, and Molineux fans have taken to chanting anti-Albion expletives to it, so the ubiquitous "Go West" was heard instead.


Meanwhile, if you thought a sample was something taken at the Crystal Palace training ground, a group called Grace have a version of Stoke City's bizarre anthem "Delilah" out next week. It features "samples" of crowd noise from the Boothen End. But as the song says - why Delilah?

Batty out of hell. Completely batty. That's the general idea, and head banging seems to be just the right preparation. How else could anyone come up with such gems as Bjrnebye Wild, Bohinen Rhapsody, Def Lampard, Led Ze-Paul-Ince and a side including Crosby, Styles, Nash and Young, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The Wild Turkey Bourbon goes to Marson, Lane and Keenan, of Nottingham, for:

HEAVY METAL XI: SPINK Floyd; SPACKMAN Turner Overdrive, VENISON Lake and Palmer, INCE-XS, SCALES out, Alice COOPER, Stairway to NEVIN, BROLIN Stones, GEOFF HURSTon Airplane, King KLINSMANN, KANCELS-KISS.

Next week: Science Fiction XI. Entries to: Team Spirit, Football Diary, Sports Desk, Independent, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL.

Brolin, Brolin, Brolin, keep those doggies Brolin though Luigi Riva's swollen . . . .