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Anorak | Patriot Downs Scud

Patriot Downs Scud

by | 29th, June 2004

‘IF you didn’t hear the pre-pubescent screams, middle-aged groans, teenaged yelps and geriatric sighs emanating from Henman Hill yesterday, consider yourself lucky.

Penalty!

But at 8.45 last night, Middle England rose as one to salute their hero as Tiger Tim edged home against Aussie Mark Philippoussis in a four-set thriller.

The Mail is in raptures as the No.5 seed reached his eighth quarter-final in nine years where he will face Mario Ancic, the Croatian ranked No.63 in the world.

“Tough Guy Tim Scuppers Scud,” says the paper’s headline, as it salutes a performance by the British No.1 “which far surpassed anything he had shown this year”.

Even Philippoussis was full of praise for his opponent, saying: “Tim’s game has definitely improved and he has the game to win it, but it depends on the way he plays.”

The Express’s headline puts that hope into perspective, however – “Dream On,” it says, above a picture of a grinning Henman.

The Brit even managed to keep up with the Aussie in the ace department, both players firing down 22 in “a match of fire and intensity”.

But there is still a long way to go, as the watching John Terry would no doubt have reminded Henman.

If the match was studded with moments of temper as both players questioned a number of line-calls, it was nothing compared with Roman Abramovich’s mood this morning.

The Chelsea owner is said by the Sun to have hit the roof after discovering that Steven Gerrard will not be wearing a blue shirt this morning.

The England midfielder has snubbed the chance to double his weekly salary (to a staggering £105,000 a week) and decided to stay at Liverpool instead.

The Mirror says it was emotional pressure from his friends and family that persuaded Gerrard to stay, although the Mail claims a rather more sinister reason.

It says “the intolerable pressure his family faced, including threatening phone calls and letters, played a pivotal role in Gerrard’s U-turn over a move to London”.

Whatever the reason, the decision is a blow not only to Chelsea but also to the sports hacks who were insisting that the move was a done deal.

Another England player in the news is Ashley Cole, who (according to the Star) is a target for Real Madrid.

The paper says the left-back – “the most sought-after defender in the world” – wants a pay package close to Sol Campbell’s £100,000 a week.

And so far he has refused to sign an extension to his contract which would keep him at Highbury for six years.

Meanwhile, the Sun claims Everton have lost patience with Wayne Rooney and believe the 18-year-old wonderkid is messing them about over contract talks.

And the Star claims that he will line up in the red of Manchester United next season alongside Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

The only trouble is Van Nistelrooy was going to Real Madrid yesterday, where he will play in the same team as Ashley Cole, while Becks lines up alongside Gerrard at Chelsea…’



Posted: 29th, June 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink