That was the weekend that was

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How Keegan could have used hypnotist to win

Newcastle scraped a draw with Aston Villa after Kevin Keegan read the riot act at half-time - but hard words might not have been needed had hypnotist Stewart Ashing been in the Premiership leaders' camp...or, rather, in Villa's.

Had he been allowed a few moments with Villa scorer Tommy Johnson before kick-off, the outcome might have been different...

Ashing drew gasps of horror from Sunderland fans in South Shields when he put winger Sam Aiston into a trance at a supporters' club function. The hypnotist convinced Sam he was playing against Newcastle and even had him raising his arms to celebrate a goal. Embarrassingly for him, however, this was after Ashing told him Newcastle had scored.

''I was probably a bit confused,'' said Sam, who is a lifelong Magpies fan. As, of course, is Tommy Johnson.

Turn back

the clock

Those of you with nothing better to do might have spent the weekend pondering over the little poser set by Glenn Moore in Saturday's Independent, which revealed (exclusively) that of 80 defenders in action in the First Division on 27 August, 1988, only 16 remain with their clubs today.

27 August, 1988? This was the day that Arsenal's back four - Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn - played together as a unit for the first time, forging the most enduring back line in the modern English game.

OK, how many of the dozen other survivors can you name? If you want to take a shot, put down the paper now. Otherwise, here's the full list.

John Humphrey (Charlton), Mark Bowen (Norwich), Stuart Pearce and Steve Chettle (Nottm Forest), Julian Dicks, Alvin Martin and Steve Potts (West Ham), Steve Bruce (Man United), Brian Borrows (Coventry), Dave Watson (Everton), Alan McDonald (QPR) and Gary Mabbutt (Spurs).

Buddhists criticise Baggio

Eased out by Juventus, struggling to win over his critics in Milan, Roberto Baggio is in danger of becoming Italian football's most expensive misfit.

And it is not just in calcio that the pony-tailed one is finding himself isolated. "Il Divino", as his admirers know him, shocked the nation during his time in Turin by becoming a Buddhist.

But these days, even religion is failing to deliver the tranquillity Baggio seeks. On Thursday, the Italian Buddhist Union issued a statement distancing themselves from the player and his Soka Gakkai sect. "We do not accept his group's claim to be the true upholder of Buddhist tradition," Vincenzo Piga, the president, said.

So he'll be asking for a transfer, then...

Red card
























Excuses, excuses

I think there is a great danger people will underestimate Manchester City because they are bottom of the League. People think they will get easy points, but that is not going to happen.

David Pleat, explaining Sheffield Wednesday's failure to take maximum points on Saturday. Er... what about Liverpool then?

Vital statistics

The number of current Premiership clubs against whom Tony Cottee has scored a League goal. Bolton completed the set

The number of goals the Kidderminster veteran, Paul Davies, needs to equal Mark Carter's Conference record of 172.


The number of goalless minutes played by Tony Yeboah before Saturday's Leeds winner

The crowd at Anfield on Saturday, biggest in the Premiership this season

Take a bow


Dorchester Town, of the Beazer Homes League, who put their 9-1 FA Cup first-round thrashing at Oxford United last weekend firmly behind them with a 4-3 away win at Atherstone on Saturday.

Forest's birthday surprise

Assistant managers might miss out on the plaudits now and again but life in the boss's shadow does have consolations.

Frank Clark's No 2 at Forest, Alan Hill, did not need persuading when Clark offered a weekend in Brittany, taking in third-round opponents Lyon.

Delight turned to dismay, however, on the eve of the trip, when the offer was withdrawn. ''I couldn't believe it,'' Hill said. ''I told him, 'look, it's my job, I've got to go' - but he was adamant.''

All was revealed 24 hours later - with a surprise dinner party to mark Hill's 51st birthday. ''Oh, and about that France trip,'' Clark said. ''Sorry, you'll have to go to Monaco instead.'' Which is where Hill spent Saturday, removed from the nightmare at Ewood Park, watching Lyon win 2-0.

Heated rivalry: a Real Madrid fan burns an Atletico Madrid scarf while others give the facist salute on the anniversary of Franco's death. Real's 1-0 victory over their local rivals knocked Atletico off the top of the table


Fact and fiction from the Sunday papers

So who is going to succeed Graham Taylor as manager of Wolves?

According to the Sunday Mirror, the rumour linking ex-Liverpool and Blackburn boss Kenny Dalglish is the only one with substance. The Mirror claims that Sir Jack Hayward, Wolves' multi-millionaire owner, is prepared to stump up pounds 20m for Dalglish to spend on players - and throw in a further pounds 1m for a three-year contract. ''Kenny Dalglish is definitely the man they want - and money is no object,'' said a Molineux insider.

But in the News of the World, Wolves are ''bemused by Kenny Dalglish's supposed interest''. The man who has ''soared to the top of the Molineux shortlist'' is Steve Coppell.

Wrong again. Readers of The People were informed that Chris Waddle is the man that the Wolves chairman, Jonathan Hayward, Sir Jack's son, wants. But he cannot convince others at Molineux, who favour Alan Curbishley of Charlton, or Sunderland's Peter Reid.