Spot the mess loses its appeal

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Pewsey Vale football club may not be flushed with money this year because locals have shied away from its annual sheep dung dropping competition. Previously, they flocked to the Wiltshire club's ground, where the pitch was specially marked out in a grid for the day, and put bets on which square a ram or a ewe would leave its deposit.

Two years ago 3,200 tickets were sold and the club earned almost £2,000 as crowds clamoured to guess where the dung would drop but this year only 350 potential poo punters coughed up in spite of a top prize of £1,000. The theory is that the National Lottery has lured the loot away from the competition, the proceeds of which would this year have gone towards floodlighting.


Rod Stewart, who failed a trial with Brentford more than 30 years ago but will shortly be playing at Ibrox, Villa Park, Maine Road and Wembley, maintains his fanatical interest in football.

Having long since forsaken the Chiswick flyover for Hollywood hills, Stewart has been telling Mojo magazine about his "field of dreams", a full-sized football pitch in Essex. "I'd built it without permission, not dreaming you'd need it," he said. "If you've got 30 acres, surely you could put a pitch there. But I wanted it to Wembley standard, so I did have to move a bit of earth."

The earth would really move for the old Tartan trooper if Scotland accepted his offer to train there during next year's European Championship finals. First, of course, there is the small matter of qualifying.


Port Vale's run without being awarded a penalty in League fixtures had stretched to a staggering 23 months and 89 matches until Andrew Bernal, Reading's Canberra-born former Sydney Olympic midfielder, apparently thought he was playing Australian Rules and handled the ball last Saturday. Who better to lay Vale's spot-kick bogy than Ian Bogie.

Taking after your father can be handy, especially if he is one of the world's leading exponents at his chosen profession. But the downside can be inheriting some of his endearing talents, like an ability to run into problems. That seems to be the lot of Diego Maradona the younger. The eight-year-old is locked in a contract dispute after switching clubs from Pro Calcio Napoli to Calcio Luma. His mother, Cristina Sinagara, apparently thought Pro Calcio's training ground was too far away, although it has been fine for the past two years. Pro Calcio have blocked the move.


Stefan Effenberg, who was dismissed from the German World Cup squad for making an obscene gesture to fans, has been invited to preach at a local church. "I always knew Stefan Effenberg as an honest man who says what he thinks," said Klaus Hurtz of the St Francis Roman Catholic church in Mnchengladbach, where Effenberg plays for Borussia. The text for Effenberg's, talk was his relationship with God.


Bury ended a remarkable run by Richard Prokas, of Carlisle United, so Mike Kilner, of Stevenage, informs me. From his debut in August until last Saturday's defeat at Bury, Carlisle had not lost in the 33 League games he has started. He was on the bench for the defeats at Northampton and Preston and did not play in the home draw against Chesterfield. This must be a record, surely.

There were masses of entries for the Religious XI, including gems like Allah McCoist, Gerd Mullah and Jamie Curateson. The Wild Turkey Bourbon goes to Martine Buckler, of Dorset, for:

RELIGIOUS XI: Pontius POLLITT; STIG-mata BJORNEBYE, Crown of THORNs, MURRAY Magdalen, Stations of the CROSS, BARR-abas, JOSEPH of Arimathaea, 30 PREECEs of silver, LENTINI, the via doloRSLER, STan MATTHEW'S Passion.

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