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Anorak | No Defence

No Defence

by | 19th, March 2004

‘FOOTBALLERS earn an absurd – and many would say obscene – amount of money, so how is it that they seem to be so badly advised.

United’s defence is resting

Rio Ferdinand yesterday lost his appeal against his eight-month ban for failing to attend a drugs test and with it his chance of appearing for England in Portugal in the summer.

And however much the Sun might try to excite sympathy for the Manchester United centre half this morning, one suspects that Ferdinand is somewhat fortunate that the length of the ban wasn’t increased.

With better advice, Ferdinand would have held up his hand to his offence at the beginning, probably received a lenient sentence and would now be looking forward to arriving in Portugal refreshed and raring to go.

As it was, both he and his club have fought what is essentially an open-and-shut case every step of the way and, whatever the Sun’s Shaun Custis thinks, got what he – and they – deserved.

However, even Ferdinand’s rejected appeal has to take second place in most papers this morning to a piece of history at Cheltenham where Best Mate won the Gold Cup for the third year in succession.

Only three horses, including the legendary Arkle, have achieved the feat before.

And, says the Telegraph, Arkle’s admirers are quick to defend their equine hero, saying that the winner of the Gold Cup in 1964, 1965 and 1966 would start as odds-on favourite were he alive today.

Best Mate’s trainer Henrietta Knight (who was too nervous even to watch the race) refused to get drawn into what is always a fatuous argument.

“Arkle was a great horse, Best Mate is a good horse – let’s leave it like that,” she said.

Similarly, comparisons between this England cricket side and the last England cricket side to win in the Caribbean are pointless.

But after their victory in the first Test at Sabina Park, Michael Vaughan’s men know that they have a great chance of emulating the 1968 team.

Much will depend on the toss and the Times says England are hoping to reverse their recent abysmal form in that department and take an early stranglehold on the match.

Much will also depend on West Indies skipper Brian Lara, who will be playing on his home ground and will be desperate to avenge last week’s humiliation.

However, as the Times points out, his average in Trinidad is only 40 – 10 less than his overall average and, until last year, he had only scored four Test fifties on the ground.

England’s bowlers, meanwhile, can only hope that their appeals meet a more favourable reception than did Rio Ferdinand’s…’



Posted: 19th, March 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink