Anorak News | And They’re Off

And They’re Off

by | 11th, August 2003

‘AT least the thousands who failed to show up to the Community Shield cannot be called fair weather fans.

”Not the face! Anywhere but the face!”

Clever would be a more apt description, given that Sunday was the hottest day ever recorded in the British Isles.

A day for cool heads it was most definitely not. As the nylon and polyester mix shirts melted onto the backs of the crowd that did venture to see the game, the game boiled along nicely.

Phil Neville’s lunge at Patrick Vieira got the ball, and the player, rolling and his work was furthered by Ashley Cole.

But it was knotted handkerchiefs off to Francis Jeffers for actually being dismissed from the field of play. So blatant was his kick at Phil Neville that even his manager Arsene Wenger saw it.

Incidentally, is Phil Neville pitching himself as the new Roy Keane? Given his liking for the fray, he might be.

But anyone who has watched rodeos on cable TV knows that the clown who gets the bruises and the bumps rarely if ever becomes the hero. To be a hero a few brain cells are needed. Sorry, Phil.

Perhaps the most notable thing about the day was that it was not the curtain raiser to the football season. That happened on Saturday.

For those who have had enough of the hot weather, take note of the change in wind direction at Deepdale, where West Ham went visiting.

With Preston North End one goal to the good, the Hammers fans were chanting ”Sack the board”. Given the belated decision to sell off the club’s best stock, you can forgive the chant any lack of originality.

But strikes from Jermain Defoe and David Connolly brought a new song: ”We are top of the league,” sang the Hammerettes and their menfolk.

There are no league tables published as yet, but if there were Walsall and not West Ham would be top of Division One, with Paul Merson to thank for getting them there.

And talking of Merson, this is the time to place your bets on who will win all four professional leagues in England and Wales.

Here goes. Champions of all four divisions will be: Arsenal, Crystal Palace, QPR and Bristol Rovers. Oh, and Phil Neville will star for England.

Between then and now, we can expect many fireworks…

Posted: 11th, August 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink