That was the weekend that was

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The Independent Online
Well,

obviously...

'I cannot begrudge them their draw. We had chances to win it but that would have been cruel on Vale' - Everton manager Joe Royle, honest enough to give Port Vale credit.

'We've been practising that move all week' - Port Vale chief John Rudge on Ian Bogie's match-saving deflection.

'I have asked the players to pass the ball around instead of just hoofing it. That is why I can't be too critical about the way we gave Tottenham their goal' - Wolves boss Mark McGhee, in forgiving mood after holding Spurs at White Hart Lane.

'For some reason, Dean Austin decided to roll the ball back to Ian Walker when he should have cleared. We seem to like doing things the hard way' - Tottenham manager Gerry Francis, somewhat less so.

'If the police do find out who was responsible they will never be welcomed back at Elm Park' - Reading chairman, John Madejski, with a message to the spectator whose coin struck linesman Jeff Pettitt.

'He's the only one who listened to me - I said this was a game to shoot on sight!' - Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson on Paul Parker's goal.

'We all think he meant to cross it' - team-mate Ryan Giggs, doubting whether that was what Parker had in mind.

'Their quality shone through. But we weren't disgraced' - Reading's joint- manager Jimmy Quinn.

Rumours

Fact and fiction from the Sunday papers

A pounds 12m bid by Rangers for Blackburn's Alan Shearer, revealed "exclusively" in the News of the World, seems also to have been brought to the attention of the Sunday Express, who ran the same story. Both hedged their bets by declaring the likeliest rivals for his signature to be Newcastle who, according to the Express, will land Shearer's disaffected teammate, David Batty, for pounds 3.5m this week.

Glasgow's Sunday Mail, on the other hand, reckon that Rangers are poised to whip the Dutchman, Dennis de Nooijer, from under the noses of Celtic, who are trying to sign him from Sparta Rotterdam.

Either possibility would add credence to the People's claim that Rangers might sell Brian Laudrup to Arsenal in a pounds 5m deal that would see Dutch winger Glenn Helder move to Ibrox.

The News of the World suggests that Parma, having sold Faustino Asprilla to Newcastle, are interested in Aston Villa's Savo Milosevic as a replacement, which seems to support the People's theory that Villa manager Brian Little, disappointed with the Serbian striker's form, is waiting to see if Ian Wright's rumoured bust-up with Bruce Rioch leads to a transfer. The NoW believes he wants Newcastle's Paul Kitson.

Missing person

DALE GORDON (West Ham)

The former Norwich winger (right) seemed destined for great things when he moved to Rangers for pounds 1.2m only to find the competition too fierce. "My nightmare is over," said the injury-plagued Gordon in December 1993 after moving to West Ham. In fact it was just beginning. In two and a half years he has played just eight league games, scoring once. He was poised to make a comeback on Saturday only for the weather to dash his hopes.

Red card

CHANNEL 4

Take a bow

PAUL INCE

Turn back

the clock

In a football world which tends to demand success yesterday, patience is not a virtue shared by all club chairmen. But it is a quality with which Mike McDonald, having hired Howard Kendall to plot Sheffield United's bid to escape relegation, may well need to become acquainted.

Even a manager of Kendall's pedigree, with an F A Cup, two League Championships and a Cup-Winners' Cup against his name, cannot claim overnight success even in the happiest phases of his career, which may not be welcome information to a side still propping up the First Division.

Although Kendall began his managerial career by steering Blackburn to promotion in his first season, his first 17 matches produced only four wins and saw Rovers slip as low as 20th in the old Third Division.

And after Everton took him on in May, 1981 his progress was so slow - 15th and 8th in his opening two seasons - that he might well have been sacked had Adrian Heath, now his No 2 at Bramall Lane, not scored a vital FA Cup goal at Oxford. Having been granted that reprieve, however, Kendall went on to bring the Cup back to Goodison. The Blades will hope to find an omen in there somewhere.

10

reasons why...

Camelot should not be asked to run the FA Cup draw

1 It's enough of a lottery as it is

2 Graham Kelly has more charisma than Anthea Turner.

3 It would be unreasonable to expect teams like Manchester United to queue up in supermarkets

4 Mystic Meg would predict that a team suffixed "United" or "City" would travel far in the competition

5 ITV might not agree to repeat the draw on "Blind Date"

6 There would not be enough room in the machine for all the balls in the extra preliminary round

7 Manchester United would insist on a different coloured ball in every round

8 Replays might be renamed rollovers

9 Camelot already make more money than Faustino Asprilla

10 Winston Churchill's family might get all the FA Cup final tickets

Geller upstaged

Psychic Uri Geller's magic proved no match for that of Manchester United's Ryan Giggs in the fourth round tie at Elm Park. Beforehand, Reading's most famous fan had bent a spoon over the head of Eric Cantona's father but after the 3-0 defeat was forced to concede to Giggs: "I said before the game that we would win, but your talent overwhelmed my mind."

Watch out for...

DEAN RICHARDS (Wolves)

Graham Taylor's legacy to Wolves may have been a meagre affair but it did include Dean Richards, the 21-year-old former Bradford City defender, signed for pounds 1.8m, from under the noses of Manchester United. Taylor's successor, Mark McGhee, is said to have turned down pounds 3.75m from Coventry for the England Under-21 captain and told United that if they wanted him now it would cost pounds 2m PLUS Paul Scholes, a valuation that may yet increase.

Programme notes

No 8: Reading

Price: pounds 1 Pages 48. Glossy, well-presented and readable. Unlike the team, it stands comparison with its Manchester United counterpart. The FA Cup tie inspired evocative historical features and some opinionated input from the supporters' representative. Strong on club news, both the important and the trivial.

Verdict

7/10

FA CUP XI

TEAM OF THE WEEKEND

BOSNICH

ASTON VILLA

RANKINE

WOLVES

WATSON

EVERTON

G NEVILLE

MAN UTD

TANKARD

PORT VALE

McCARTHY

PORT VALE

GOODING

READING

FOX

TOTTENHAM

JOHNSON

ASTON VILLA

GIGGS

MAN UTD

CANTONA

MAN UTD

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