RESEARCHERS AT BBC Radio Five Live will be asked to take a little more care in setting up on-air interviews after plunging Sport-on-Five presenter Ian Payne into red-faced purgatory on Saturday.
The hapless Payne, told to expect the Scotland defender Tommy Boyd on the end of a telephone line to talk about the postponement of Scotland's match against Bosnia and the prospects for Craig Brown's team against the Czechs on Wednesday, instead found himself discussing such matters with a former children's television presenter.
For more than a minute, despite some rather obvious clues, Payne followed his brief as if nothing were amiss. The lack of a Scottish accent seemed to ring no alarms and even when the interviewee asked him to speak up over the bedlam in the background he took it in his stride. "I've got the kids playing on the computer and Radio Five on in the other room," Payne was told.
The penny began to drop, however, when the supposed Celtic star announced he would be "watching the game with some mates and having a few beers" before declaring he was more interested in the England match.
Only when "Boyd" confessed to being "not really focused" on Wednesday's match did Payne abruptly abandon the conversation.
It turned out he had been talking to Tommy Boyd all right - the Tommy Boyd who used to present the children's television shows Magpie and the Wide Awake Club and who recently joined LBC radio as a breakfast show host. "There was a mix-up with a contacts list," a BBC spokeswoman later admitted.
Burns brings Tartan army to Berkshire
SCOTLAND MAY have been inactive on Saturday, but in a corner of Berkshire one son of Caledonia is apparently intent on turning Reading Football Club into a home from home.
It seems that Tommy Burns, the former Celtic manager who moved to Reading a year ago, shares Gianluca Vialli's apparent mistrust of English players. Of the 21 new faces he has brought to the McJesky (sorry, Madejski) Stadium, more than half share the manager's nationality.
Saturday's line-up against Manchester City included Eddie Gray's son, Stuart, bought for pounds 100,000 from Celtic, the pounds 420,000 former Kilmarnock striker Jim McIntyre, Andy McLaren, signed on a free from Dundee United on Thursday, as well as Scott Howie, the ex-Motherwell goalkeeper.
The Burns roster also includes the Chicago-born Scot Jimmy Crawford and would contain former Scottish international, Robert Fleck, had injury not finally ended the ex-Chelsea player's League career. And Ray Houghton, though a Republic of Ireland international, was born and raised in Glasgow.
Even his English signings sound as if they ought to hail from north of the border. In recent weeks he has also picked up London-born striker Keith Scott and ex-York defender Tony Barras, who shares his second name (sort of) with Glasgow's street market. And, naturally, the Clapham-born Byron Glasgow has made progress under Burns.
Schmeichel seeks pounds 4m stay at United
PETER SCHMEICHEL'S days at Old Trafford may be numbered after all, despite the great Dane's return to form. The Sunday People reports that the Manchester United goalkeeper is now asking for a new two-year deal worth pounds 4m. The paper suggests that United may prefer to invest in a man for the future, namely Parma's Gianluigi Buffon.
Both the Sunday Mirror and News of the World are on to big changes in the offing at Tottenham, where the latter says George Graham is planning to clear out players collectively worth pounds 18m this summer, with Les Ferdinand and Chris Armstrong among those to go. The Mirror says Graham is setting up a pounds 7m deal to sign Chris Sutton from Blackburn in the summer, paving the way for Ferdinand to join Kevin Keegan's Fulham.
The People highlights three Premiership players set to quit their clubs in frustration at not being given regular first-team football. Jesper Blomqvist is said to be unhappy not to have an automatic place in Manchester United's team when Ryan Giggs is unavailable and Bruno Ribeiro is disillusioned with life at Leeds. Arsenal's Kaba Diawara, bought for pounds 3.5m from Bordeaux only in January, is poised to return to France to join Marseilles in the summer.
The Mirror says Manchester United will move for Everton's Michael Ball if the Goodison Park club are relegated, while the People names United and Liverpool as contenders for the signature of Northern Ireland midfielder Neil Lennon if Leicester decide to sell.
New Huddersfield owner Barry Rubery wants to bring Roy Evans back into management, according to the News of the World. And after midweek denials that David Pleat is being courted by Nottingham Forest, the Mirror says the City Ground club now see Trevor Francis as the man to revive their fortunes.
SEEN AND HEARD
SCHOLES OF THOUGHT (1): "Don't you get knighted if you score a hat-trick at Wembley?" - Kevin Keegan.
SCHOLES OF THOUGHT (2): "The most disappointing thing for Scholesy, though, is if he scores a hat-trick and gets man-of-the-match he's got to go on the telly and he doesn't like that too much" - Keegan again.
SCHOLES OF THOUGHT (3): "He doesn't blow his own trumpet, but I'll do it for him." - Andy Cole.
Missing... making it... and mistaken
OUT FOR six months because of a knee injury, the 33-year-old former England striker and Molineux legend is determined to return to first-team action in time to aid Wolves' First Division promotion push. Bull came through a 90-minute reserve team run-out against Grimsby - scoring one of his side's five goals - and has set a place on the senior substitutes' bench as his next target.
SEVEN MONTHS ago, the 19-year-old full-back was working as a wool packer and playing for Carmarthen in the League of Wales. Then came a move to Cardiff City, the chance to shine on a bigger stage and - three weeks ago - a pounds 500,000 transfer to Aston Villa. This week, still digesting manager John Gregory's prediction of a first-team game before the season finishes, he was called into the Wales squad.
WE CAN'T EXPLAIN what it is but Pete Townshend, founder of The Who, would make an obvious Substitute for the Dutch international Jaap Stam, who regularly ensures that the Manchester United Kids Are Alright.
The years since Gary Lineker scored an England hat-trick against Poland, in the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico
The total goals conceded by Liechstenstein, beaten 5-0 by Hungary on Saturday, in four Euro 2000 Group Seven matches. Malta, in Group Eight, have let in 18 in five.
The non-English Premiership players who started Saturday's Euro 2000 qualifiers
I TOLD YOU SO
"I've had a dream that England win and everyone leaves the stadium cheering." Kevin Keegan, speaking on Friday. Who needs Eileen Drewery?Reuse content