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Testing Times

by | 17th, October 2003

‘IT was only a matter of time before Manchester United started flexing their corporate muscle in anticipation of a lengthy drugs ban for their centre half Rio Ferdinand.

England fans hope to have a smashing time in Portugal

And this morning the Premiership champions are firing a warning shot across the FA’s bows, saying they will sue if they feel the player is punished too harshly.

With Fifa threatening to intervene if they feel Ferdinand is let off too lightly for failing to attend a drugs test, the FA are now very much between the proverbial rock and hard place.

The Mail says United will only accept an FA charge that the England international missed his test by accident, in which case a fine is the most likely punishment.

If Ferdinand is charged with wilfully missing his test and banned, United will take the matter to court.

Meanwhile, erstwhile villains Arsenal are determined to put their bad reputation behind them with club chairman Peter Hill Wood telling the Express that the Gunners will never again be involved in scenes like those seen at Old Trafford last month.

Would that it were the same story with the walking scum that are English football hooligans.

The Mail reports that Euro 2004 organisers in Portugal are preparing to deal with the meatheads among England’s expected 50,000-strong support by offering the hand of friendship.

“We believe in our natural capacity to receive people,” tournament director Antonio Laranjo says. “Even the hooligans.”

If the hand of friendship doesn’t work, can we respectfully suggest a firm hand in the small of the back and push the thugs into the cold waters of the Atlantic.

We certainly don’t want them back.

Looking at this morning’s back pages, you would be forgiven for not knowing that England face one of the most important rugby matches of recent years tomorrow.

The Sun is just about the only paper to take an interest in the showdown with South Africa, which is so crucial to England’s World Cup chances.

Win – and Clive Woodward’s team can look forward to a relatively easy path to the semi-final. Lose – and a quarter-final with the All Blacks awaits.

However, the Springboks’ former communications director Mark Keohane insists his team has no chance, saying the squad has effectively split into two after the recent race row.

Keohane resigned in the wake of the Geo Cronje scandal, in which Cronje refused to share a room with Quinton Davids, a Cape Coloured teammate.

What was that Spitting Image song again?’



Posted: 17th, October 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink