Anorak News | In The Red Corner

In The Red Corner

by | 27th, January 2004

‘“THIS IS A FIGHT TO THE DEATH,” says the Manchester United fanzine, otherwise known as the Sun.

On the ropes

And what a fight it promises to be!

In the red-faced corner is Alex Ferguson, footballer manger and defending champion. In the grey corner is John Magnier, the major shareholder at United and ex-sparring partner of his red-faced agonist.

Who will win? Well, the smart money is on all the other clubs, who will be delighted that Ferguson, the league’s most successful manager, is on the ropes.

Of course, there is some good news for United, since they have been drawn at home to face Tottenham (not so) Hotspur in the FA Cup, a team that have been beaten at Old Trafford in each of the past nine meetings.

And even better news for United and their fans is that Arsenal, the FA Cup holders, face a tricky tie against Chelsea.

Not that the Gunners will be overly concerned, given that the teams have played each other in the past three Cup campaigns and the Blues have yet to win.

Indeed, under Claudio Ranieri, Chelsea have not beaten the Gunners in 11 attempts.

Of course, Chelsea will point to their renewed excellence under Ranieri and, more tellingly, Roman Abramovich. They will point to fine wins in earlier rounds of the Cup against Watford and Scarborough.

A memento of the latter encounter should be hanging in pride of place on the wall of Scarborough’s goalkeeper, Leigh Walker. That it does not, the Telegraph explains.

The paper says that after the game the entire Chelsea side graciously signed one of their club shirts and gave it to Leigh.

He then left for home – where his mother picked up the dirty top and bunged into a hot wash.

“I’m gutted,” says Leigh. “It was a special souvenir of the biggest match I’ve ever played in. Now it’s ruined.”

Stopping short of a screaming, “I hate you, mum! You ruined my life!”, Leigh pauses to let his mother explain: she had only wanted to wash the sleeves but the water splashed up and erased all the writing.

Perhaps the Chelsea players will deign to give Leigh another shirt.

Of course, had his side been given the penalty they deserved late on in the tie, he could have collected it in person in the replay.

But such is life, and football…’

Posted: 27th, January 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink