That was the weekend that was

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European adventure for Llansantffraid

Given average crowds of 150, it is fair to say that the location of Llansantffraid FC - "over bridge into village, left opposite silos, look for Community Centre sign" - is not widely known.

However, that may be about to change for the tiny League of Wales club, situated between Oswestry and Welshpool. Indeed, next season, such details may be vital to Fiorentina, Auxerre or Barcelona, perhaps.

By beating Inter Cardiff on Saturday, Llansantffraid - population 940 - reached the final of the Welsh Cup and almost certain qualification to join some of Europe's elite in the Cup-Winners' Cup. Barry Town, their opponents at Cardiff Arms Park on 19 May, are likely to be in the Uefa Cup as League of Wales champions. "Considering we were an amateur village club only six years ago, it is incredible," their manager, 44-year-old newspaper editor Graham Breeze, said. "Apparently, we had a bit of a celebration on Saturday evening, although I can't remember much about it."

The full implications have yet to sink in, not least the financial ones. "We might make some money but it will take careful planning," former goalkeeper Breeze added. "If we get drawn thousands of miles away, the cost of getting there could cripple us!"

The players' bonus for reaching the final was all of pounds 20. "They deserve every penny of it," said the president Mike Hughes, who paid it from his own pocket.

Jones strikes as Galaxy draw fans

Week two of Major League Soccer saw Cobi Jones, the former Coventry City winger, hit the target as Los Angeles Galaxy beat New York/New Jersey MetroStars 2-1 on Saturday in front of a crowd of 69,250 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena - the largest attendance yet in the United States' new league.

"The fans were cheering all the time," Jones, a member of the US squad at the 1994 World Cup, said. "They were whistling when we were not going forward enough. That's what you like to hear, because the fans are the ones you are here to entertain, so you know when to push it a little more."

Jones beat his international colleague Tony Meola to put Galaxy ahead late in the first half. Arash Noamouz added a second soon after the break before MetroStars' Giovanni Savarese beat Jorge Campos, the flamboyant Mexican goalkeeper, to pull one back late in the game.

Eddie Firmani, the veteran former Charlton Athletic manager who now coaches MetroStars, was also impressed by the atmosphere. "It was absolutely tremendous," he said. "I just felt something special was happening for American soccer."

Elsewhere, Frank Stapleton's New England Revolution lost 3-2 at Tampa Bay Mutiny, Columbus Crew thrashed Washington DC United 4-0 in Ohio, and Kansas City Wiz enjoyed a 3-0 home win over Colorado Rapids.

Well,

obviously...

`It is a difficult subject to talk about. Umbro have been fantastic for us, but there comes a time when you have to say, enough's enough' - Alex Ferguson, on why Manchester United got their kit off.

`I told my players that if you work hard you will eventually get your just rewards' - Dave Merrington, on how Southampton worked their socks off.

`I'm glad we only play them twice a season' - Frank Clark, Forest manager, on a growing dislike of Blackburn.

`No it wasn't an inspired substitution, just a fluke' - Alan Ball, after substitutes Niall Quinn and Martin Phillips combined to set up Uwe Rosler's Manchester City winner.

`We tried to play direct but it wasn't working and when Jess came on we played a bit more football' - Ron Atkinson, not talking flukes after the goal that beat QPR.

`People will be saying it is all over for us now, but it isn't. We still have two games to go and if we win both, the six points will give us a shout' - Ray Wilkins, still adamant that QPR can survive.

`I wish I could believe in miracles' - Colin Todd, resigned to the likelihood that Bolton will not.

`Each season we're criticised from here to kingdom come but we're still good enough to ruffle a few feathers and we're in the Premiership for another year' - Joe Kinnear, having defied Wimbledon's detractors again.

Rumours

Fact and fiction from the Sunday papers

Glenn Hoddle is being pressed to take the England manager's job - with Ruud Gullit as his assistant. According to the News of the World, the Football Association has turned to the Chelsea duo after headhunter Jimmy Armfield failed to persuade first-choice Alex Ferguson to quit Old Trafford. There has already been contact, the paper says, between the Dutchman and FA chief executive Graham Kelly.

The uncertainty over Hoddle's future - his contract at Stamford Bridge expires next month - has not stopped the Chelsea manager engaging in a tussle with Juventus to sign Borussia Monchengladbach's Swedish striker Martin Dahlin, according to The People, who say Hoddle has also inquired about Manchester United's Andy Cole.

The Sunday Mirror and News of the World agree that Tomas Brolin will leave Leeds in the summer, destination Benfica or Sporting Lisbon if the latter's information is correct. The Mirror, concerned about John Barnes's advancing years, might fancy playing the Swede behind Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore.

Leeds, they say, have made "discreet inquiries" about Howard Kendall's position with Sheffield United should Howard Wilkinson's reign come to an end.

Missing person

KEVIN SCOTT (Tottenham Hotspur)

Moving from Newcastle to London in February, 1994 presumably seemed like a capital idea at the time but the 29-year-old centre back (right) may have had other thoughts since his pounds 850,000 move. Although currently sidelined after two knee operations, Scott had hardly been first on the team sheet before his injury, failing to start a match this season after only a handful of appearances last year.

Red card

BARRY FRY

Take a bow

STEVE WHITE

Turn back

the clock

Kevin Keegan says he will not be beyond consoling if it happens and if this is to be the year that Newcastle blew the title he will not be the first manager to watch his dreams turn to dust.

At this stage 20 years ago, when Keegan won the second of his three First Division championships as a player, no fewer than six managers still had their sights on glory in arguably the most thrilling finish in history.

And none can have felt more deflated at the end than Dave Sexton, whose splendid Queen's Park Rangers side - the one with Gerry Francis, Stan Bowles, Frank McLintock and John Hollins - led the table at the end of September, won 13 of their last 15 matches...and yet were still pipped by Liverpool, who clinched the title on 4 May - 10 days after QPR had finished - with a 3-1 win at Wolves.

A decade ago, two teams saw formidable advantages come to nothing. Manchester United, after their blistering 10-match winning start, built up a 10-point autumn lead but lost it to Everton, who then went 11 clear. Again, there was no resisting Liverpool, who won 11 of their last 12 games to beat Everton and the strong-finishing West Ham to the title.

10

reasons why...

Changing one's kit at half-time isn't necessarily such a daft idea

1 It can make the fashion-conscious members of the side feel like new men (?)

2 It can fool the opposition into thinking they are up against a different side to the one they put five past in the first half

3 The laundry ladies are kept in business

4 The kit manufacturers are kept in business

5 Everyone has a chance to wear something that matches the colour of their eyes

6 Clubs have an excuse to bring out fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth strips

7 Some clubs' reserve kits are so repulsive they can make the opposition sick at the sight of them

8 Clubs can change to suit the mood of the referee: yellow if he's handing out cautions, red if he's sending players off

9 If things go awry it would give Manchester United the chance to wear a nice black and white number and pretend they are Newcastle

10 And if the title ends up at Old Trafford, Newcastle could just black out the white bits and go straight into mourning

n Port Vale are expecting a sell-out crowd for their match on 8 May. A championship-decider? No, just the debut of life-long Vale fan and Take That star Andy Williams who has begged to take part in Andy Porter's testimonial

Watch out for...

DANNY MURPHY (Crewe Alexandra)

Liverpool are said to be among a clutch of Premier League clubs eyeing the brightest of Dario Gradi's crop of budding stars. Chester-born Murphy, 19 last month and capped at England Schoolboy and Under-18 level, made his debut in December, 1993 aged 16, scoring his first goal in his second match. An attacking midfield player, his 10th Second Division goal of the current season boosted Crewe's play-off hopes by sealing victory at Hull on Saturday.

PREMIER XI

TEAM OF THE WEEKEND

SOMMER

QPR

ATHERTON

SHEFF WED

DUBERRY

CHELSEA

MONKOU

SOUTHAMPTON

FLEMING

MIDDLESBROUGH

STRACHAN

COVENTRY

LE TISSIER

SOUTHAMPTON

EARLE

WIMBLEDON

WILCOX

BLACKBURN

SHEARER

BLACKBURN

HUGHES

CHELSEA

Programme notes

No 19: Coventry City

Price: pounds 1.50. Pages: 48. Pioneers of the match-day magazine nearly 30 years ago (the superbly stylish 'Sky Blue'), Coventry now cram formulaic editorial features into a smaller, 50s-sized edition. Cluttered cover, based on violet "deckchair stripes" away strip, typifies excessive commercial content.

Verdict

5/10

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