Anorak News | A Wait Off Their Mind

A Wait Off Their Mind

by | 1st, March 2004

‘IT was only the Carling Cup but, after 128 years without a single piece of silverware, Middlesbrough were not going to quibble.

Middlesbrough party likes it 1876

The whistle that brought to an end yesterday’s match also, in the words of the Telegraph, “blew away bitter memories of failed finals, liquidation, relegation and decade after decade of frustration”.

The scoreline was 2-1 after 90 “pulsating” minutes of what the paper says was arguably the best final in this competition since Luton beat Arsenal 16 years ago.

But it was not without controversy, as the Guardian publishes stills to confirm Bolton manager Sam Allardyce’s claim that Middlesbrough’s second goal should not have been allowed.

And not for handball, offside or any of the usual reasons, but because while taking a seventh minute penalty Bolo Zenden actually struck the ball twice.

The Dutchman slipped as he took the kick, “keeling over so that his left foot struck the ball and knocked it against his right”.

Somehow the ball still found the back of the net, but the paper says the double contact should have resulted in an indirect Bolton free-kick rather than Boro’s second goal.

There was something pretty dodgy about Arsenal’s two goals against Charlton on Saturday, the first of which was certainly offside, but there is no escaping the fact that the Gunners are running away with the Premiership title.

Arsene Wenger’s men are now nine points clear of Chelsea and Manchester United and still on course to go through the whole season unbeaten.

We could tell you how Robert Pires and Thierry Henry put their side 2-0 up within five minutes, how Louis Saha scored for United against his old club and how Chelsea’s Eidur Gudjohnsen stole three points against Manchester City.

But, knowing that the average football fan can’t digest acres of verbiage, the Times has helpfully condensed each game into a single sentence.

For Arsenal, this reads: “Memory of lost title fresh enough to keep team focused”; for Manchester United: “Manager made to pay for taking opponents lightly again”; and for Chelsea: “Iceland striker happy to settle for second best”.

For some matches, this brevity is a blessing. Once we learn, for instance, that “relegation nerves lead to ugly encounter” in the goalless draw between Leicester City and Wolves, we are not tempted to read further.

But that would be a mistake because in the account of the match in this morning’s Mail we discover that Leicester’s Paul Dickov has been labelled “football’s most irritating player”.

It is an accolade indeed, especially with such stiff competition.

Indeed, so upset is Robbie Savage to have lost out, rumour has it that he has threatened to sue.’

Posted: 1st, March 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink