Anorak News | Dead Man Dancing

Dead Man Dancing

by | 7th, April 2004

‘IF Claudio Ranieri is a dead man, he’s not walking – he’s dancing a victory jig and crying real tears of joy.

Last night, his Chelsea did what they had not done in their previous 17 attempts and beat Arsenal, shooting down the Gunners 2-1 and so progressing into the semi-finals of the Champions’ League.

“It’s difficult to kill me,” says Ranieri in the Telegraph. “I may be ‘dead’ but I will still continue to work. I don’t stand still.”

Indeed he does not, and the Italian now leads his team to Monte Carlo for a date with Monaco, who also defied the odds to see off Real Madrid.

There is much to say about the Chelsea game, with the Independent watching Arsenal change from champions into “chumps” after surrendering a one-goal lead.

But these days football is less and less about two halves and more about the haves and have nots. And Wimbledon has not.

The Dons now have even less, having lost to Sunderland and with that defeat lost their Division 1 status.

The Guardian looked on as 4,800 fans (2,300 of which were in Milton Keynes to support Sunderland) stood and stared as the team that gave football a shot of true romance when it won the FA Cup in 1988 slid back into obscurity.

This fall, and the club’s previous rise from the amateur ranks, the paper charts with the aid of a graph, a rising – and now falling – line that begins with Wimbledon’s election to the football league in season 1977-78.

How times have changed from the late Seventies! Now a footballer is less likely to mingle with fans in the local pub than he is to sign an autograph hunter’s book, at least if he plays for Manchester United.

The Times hears that Manchester United’s ban on its players signing shirts and memorabilia outside the team’s training ground has been adopted by Liverpool and Everton.

The reason is not that Everton’s Duncan Ferguson should be approached with extreme caution (and never from behind), but that the teams are upset that the autographs are not for true fans but for dealers who then flog them over the Internet.

For the record, the paper lets us know that a signature from Roy Keane will fetch round £160, while Paul Scholes’ will earn around £140.

Not bad for a squiggle and a quick “Best wishes”.

And good news for United’s shareholders who know that if the club ever falters financially, it can always ask its players to dip their pens in ink – after all, imagine what riches could be earned if Keane were to write an entire sentence.’

Posted: 7th, April 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink