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fact and fiction from the Sunday papers

Manchester United are poised to spend pounds 5m on Blackburn's Henning Berg before Wednesday's European transfer deadline, according to the Mail on Sunday. Alex Ferguson has apparently warmed to the Norwegian because most of his targets are ineligible for the Champions' League. The Sunday Mirror reports United are interested in another Norwegian, the striker Kennet Andersson, who, their sources say, can leave Bologna for pounds 5.5m. Ruud Gullit is ready to pull off another Italian job at Chelsea, the People says, with a move for Milan's Paolo Maldini, rated the best left-back in the world, following news that new Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi wants to offload the established stars at San Siro. Bryan Roy, the Nottingham Forest misfit, is reportedly interesting Sampdoria, but the News of the World says Wolverhampton have enquired about the Dutchman. Having signed one Dutchman in Robert Molenaar, Leeds are chasing another in the Celtic striker Pierre van Hooijdonk, the People says.



Small-screen actor, rock musician, movie star... where will Jimmy Nail turn up next? Propping up the Arsenal defence, perhaps? A visit to the barber's and Jimmy would seem the ideal stand-in should Tony Adams decide to say Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Mind you, he would need to wear something tougher than Crocodile Shoes.

Take a bow


Maybe the old maestro has not lost his touch after all. Rush may have only scored in two games out of 23 after he signed from Liverpool during the close season, but his hard work for the team is now bringing some dividends.

Red card


So Shearer's little tug on your arm was responsible for leaving you in a heap on the turf, was it? Own up, Mark. You slipped over. And, what's more, the first Newcastle goal was your fault, too. You dived over that one.

Missing person

Warren Barton (Newcastle)

Kevin Keegan's forgotten extravagance, Barton cost pounds 4.5m - a record for a defender - when he left Wimbledon for St James' Park in June 1995. He seemed to have made the right wing-back's berth his own, but lost favour when Steve Watson replaced him in March. He has rarely progressed beyond the bench this season, the Uefa Cup providing him with his only two starts.

Watch out for...

Darren Williams (Sunderland)

Signed for a bargain pounds 50,000 in October, the 19-year-old midfielder, a member of the York City side that beat Manchester United and Everton last season, made such an impression on his Premiership debut against Arsenal on Saturday that Peter Reid may retain him for Wednesday's FA Cup re-match.

Good boys



Ian Wright


Premiership 16;

Coca-Cola Cup 5; Europe 2.

Robbie Fowler


Premiership 11;

Coca-Cola Cup 5; Europe 3.

Fabrizio Ravanelli


Premiership 9;

FA Cup 2; Coca-Cola Cup 7.

Alan Shearer


Premiership 16;

Coca-Cola Cup 1; Europe 1.


1 Leeds

New signing Robert Molenaar was booked on his debut

2 Middlesbrough

Emerson collected his eighth yellow card of the season

3 Chelsea

Sinclair booked at Nottingham Forest

4 Arsenal

Bergkamp sent off; seventh caution of the season for Keown and the eighth for Hartson

For most of the nation, the first sighting of football's most famous perm came on 14 August, 1971, when BBC's Match of the Day cameras were at Anfield for Liverpool's match against Nottingham Forest, unaware that they were witnessing the launch of one of the superstar's of the decade.

The 20-year-old Kevin Keegan, signed for pounds 33,000 from Scunthorpe during the previous season, obligingly marked the occasion with a goal in a game Liverpool won 3-1.

The Liverpool side featured, in the No 10 shirt, the man with whom he was to forge such a productive partnership, John Toshack, who may yet step into his shoes at St James' Park.

In his book, The Seventies Revisited, Keegan recalls his first meeting with Bill Shankly, at which the young player revealed the ability to elicit money from his employers that Newcastle followers know so well.

"With a boldness that camouflaged my knocking knees," he wrote, "I turned down Bill's first wage offer of pounds 45 a week. My basic at Scunthorpe had gone up to pounds 30, plus pounds 8 for a win and pounds 4 for a draw." "All right, son," Shanks said, "I'll make it pounds 50, and you'll never have to ask for another rise."

By then, too, Keegan had already threatened once to walk away from the game that was to make his fortune.

Recalling how his talents were first brought to Liverpool's attention, Keegan says: "Jack Brownsword, the Scunthorpe trainer, put a word in for me. I had told him I was so fed with not getting a chance with a major club I was considering returning to Pegler's brassworks in Doncaster."