The Diary: Full of Eastern promise

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THE Japanese are out in force at this weekend's Tennents FA National Football Show at Earls Court, London, promoting their 2002 World Cup campaign. Beautiful kimono-clad ladies handed out glossy brochures. Bobby Charlton is advising them and they do not sound short of corporate money to fund the tournament. The brochure positively gushes goodwill and confidence . . . Their main slogan is 'Japan loves goals', symbolising 'goals in football and our aim to host the World Cup'. The secondary slogan is 'Japan makes a love-call to beauty, stamina and peace'.

It gets better. The two slogans are linked as '. . . the close similarity in Japanese between the borrowed English words 'goals' and 'calls' provides a mischevious play on words. To the Japanese mind, the sub-slogan expresses dreams, ambitions, excitement, and passion ('beauty'); courage, and, spiritual strength ('stamina'); and the mutual understanding and friendship of all people of the world ('peace'). Football, we feel, is beautiful, a feat of stamina, and an instrument of building world peace. We'd love to ring them up.' The number is Japan 2002.

Sick with envy

RANGERS' success is sickening Celtic: they have just applied for - and received - a Football Trust grant of pounds 9,750 to upgrade the Parkhead 'vomitories' (sic). This antiquated expression is, according to Collins English Dictionary, 'a passageway in an ancient Roman amphitheatre that connects an outside entrance to a tier of seats' or an 'opening through which matter is ejected'. Paradise regurgitated?

Comic cuts

HAVING caused rumblings on the terraces with a blue and white away strip that from the stands resembled City's light blue, Manchester United's kit designers went back to the drawing board - the result, a stylish number that will no doubt sell like Right Said Fred tickets among the young. But after the brain bruising they gave supporters with a calamitous run-in wouldn't it have been more tactful to have come up with colours other than black and blue? The misery motif is continued in Peter Schmeichel's goalkeeping top which has tears cascading down the front.

Giving it stick

AFTER his goal-scoring feats at the Seoul Olympics, Sean Kerly earned the tag of 'hockey's Gary Lineker'. Now he might be becoming 'hockey's Nick Faldo'. To celebrate his recent election as captain of Sunbury Golf Club, in Surrey, Kerly drove a golf ball more than 230 yards - with his hockey stick.

After the siesta

THE POSTS and nets are going back up, the cliches are being dusted down: weekend football reappears after its brief hibernation with league matches in Scotland and the Makita tournament at Elland Road. But arguably the most exciting action of the day will be in Valencia where Italy face Spain in the quarter-finals of the Olympics. It is a surprise meeting. The young Azzurri, blessed with such talents as Parma's Alessandro Melli and Sampdoria's Renato Buso, were expected to win their group, but were pipped by Poland.

Spain, even without the suspended Alberto Ferrer of Barcelona, are the favourites, but nothing has gone to plan in this tournament. Ask the Danes, humiliated by Australia. If the Beeb shows part of it, watch it, if only for a sight of the marvellous Spanish centre-forward Luis Martinez, the gangling, bracelet-dangling Real Madrid whizz-kid, who may become the man, along with the commanding Ferrer and his elegant club-mate Jose Guardirola, finally to fulfil Spain's endless promise.

No reign in Spain

NO ONE could accuse the Olympics of clinging stubbornly to the past as the presence of the Dream Team multi- millionaires in what used to be a bastion of amateurism proves. But surely Adrian Moorhouse's history deserved better than 'the silver medallist in last year's world championships' when the finalists for the 100m breaststroke final were introduced to the crowd. Like 'the reigning Olympic champion', for example.

Punch lines

THE PROSPECT of the lords of the ring staying at the home of the five rings diminishes by the bout. The Olympic boxing tournament has again had its unhappy hours - boxers, officials and judges suspended - and on Wednesday the bizarre sight of a gloveless Iranian fighter sprinting in to the auditorium having missed his bus. The farce continued.

Accreditation was refused the late- arriving Liberian boxing team becuase they had not been in touch according to organisers. 'We believe the problem is mainly due to the war going on in their country and the postal service not being very efficient,' Karl-Heinz Wehr, general secretary of the International Amateur Boxing Association, said.

Name game

ONE WONDERS whether the move by PSV Eindhoven to change their name to Philips SV to reflect their sponsors' benevolence will catch on over here. The club felt that the 'PSV' (the Philips' sport association) was not well enough known outside the Netherlands. Commercialism rules, so are we now to see JVCFC for Arsenal or Classic FMFC for Queen's Park Rangers? Will Spurs become Holsten Hotspur, Liverpool the Candy Men, Chelsea the Commodores, Celtic the Peoples' XI, Manchester United the Sharp Shooters and Manchester City the Brotherhood. And Crystal Palace? The Tulip lovers?

Numbers game

MORE weird figures from the United Stats of America. The US tennis Open, which starts in Flushing Meadow this month, is expecting another consumerist binge. Last year, 134,250 frankfurters (regular and foot long) were eaten; 50,000 bagels and burgers were similarly despatched. It was clearly hot: cooling was provided by 653,600lbs of ice and 2,038 large tubs of Haagen Dazs ice cream. There was some tennis squeezed in between the main courses of eating and drinking: 45,000 tennis balls are needed each year.

Blond bombshell

THE Neil Mallender limerick proved a real Headingley headache. P Broome, from Belfast, stood out from the postal pack and wins a bottle of Aberlour Malt Whisky for the following . . .

The girls from the Pirelli calendar

Will now swarm around Neil Mallender

His great five for fifty

Was lively and nifty

A feat from our blond salamander.

What rhymes with golden cyclist Chris Boardman. Entries to Sports Diary Limerick, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.


BRISTOL CITY may suffer a striking problem next season. 'Match days at Ashton Gate will not be the same now that May has gone and only Bryant remains,' laments Henry Clements from Bristol.