Juninho wants Pele and Zico at Wembley

Football
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The Independent Online
Juninho, the Brazilian who has done so much to get Middlesbrough to the FA Cup final, hopes to be watched at Wembley by two illustrious compatriots.

"Zico and Pele were great heroes for me and I want to invite them to come and watch me in the Cup final if it's possible," he said. "It would make it even more special for me to walk out at Wembley knowing they were there. It would be wonderful for me and also for Emerson."

Boro's opponents at Wembley, Chelsea, are hoping to add another expatriate to their burgeoning enclave. Earlier this week, Ruud Gullit signed the Nigerian defender Celestine Babayaro from Anderlecht, and he may add Gustavo Poyet, a Uruguayan international with dual Spanish nationality, to his foreign complement. The hard-working midfielder, who is just as comfortable in an attacking role, can leave Real Zaragoza on a "Bosman" free transfer.

Wimbledon have been warned that if they leave England, they are unlikely ever to be allowed to compete in European club competition.

The club's owner, Sam Hammam, has not completely given up on the idea of moving the Selhurst Park tenants to Dublin, where the Irish would flock to watch Premiership football. The team still has an outside chance of competing in the Uefa Cup, and although Europe's governing body has yet to make an official ruling, they are reluctant to sanction an English club playing home games in a different country.

A Uefa spokesman, Fritz Ahlstrom, said that when Galatasaray attracted massive crowds to games played in Germany when they were banned from playing at home, they to play other European games there but were not allowed to. "No decision has been made about Wimbledon if they were in Dublin but you can imagine that it would be the same reply as Galatasaray received," he said.

A Wimbledon spokesman said there was no point in commenting until Uefa had notified of any ruling regarding a move to Dublin. "Until then, we refuse to accept that the scheme is dead," he said.

Derby have escaped the possibility of having points deducted by the Premier League thanks to an observant supporter.

Jim Smith, the Derby manager, was in breach of regulations when he named four non-European Union players in his 16 to play in Wednesday's Premiership match against Nottingham Forest. Three can be selected and only the fact that the blunder was spotted by the fan minutes before the kick-off saved Derby from embarrassment and possible punishment.

It meant Smith had to alter his side and team sheet 15 minutes before the start, and he replaced his Estonian goalkeeper, Mart Poom, with Russell Hoult.

Smith admitted that it was only when a told the first-team coach, Steve McClaren, that he became aware of the blunder. "The referee [Graham Poll] said he would have to report us to the Premier League because we had given him the change on the team sheet after the permitted time but I don't think it will be a problem.

"I don't know who the supporter was but I'd like to thank him. It was a good job Russell Hoult was ready and hadn't had a couple of pints after thinking he wasn't going to be involved!"

The brewers Boddingtons had to pull the plug on an advertising campaign which congratulated Manchester United on winning their European Cup semi- final. So confident were they that United would win that they invested more than pounds 40,000 in advertisements congratulating them, which would have appeared in newspapers yesterday morning.

Late-night telephone calls had to be made to have the adverts withdrawn after United's defeat. The ads featured a pint of the beer, known as the "cream of Manchester", with a Dortmund pennant and the slogan "Creamed".

Bryan Hamilton is calling on young players after losing three more of his Northern Ireland squad for next Wednesday's Group Nine World Cup qualifier in Armenia. With five senor players unavailable Hamilton has brought in Manchester City's teenage midfielder, Jeff Whitley, the Ipswich midfielder, Danny Sonner, and the teenage Wigan goalkeeper, Roy Carroll.

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