Robin van Persie takes up summer residence in Castel Gandolfo


TV VIEW:A weekend to forget for poor old Jonathan Walters as he tried to get his head around matters

To err is human. Like the contestant on ITV’s The Chase who, according to Private Eye, was asked: “Which British cyclist is popularly known as ‘Queen Victoria’?” The reply? “Bradley Wiggins.”

(Mind you, that pales next to another of their offerings: “Castel Gandolfo is the summer residence of which religious leader?” Reply: “Jesus.”) But to forgive, as we know, is divine, which is the only word you could use for the Stoke supporters who expressed their love for Jonathan Walters on Saturday after an afternoon that would have been decent enough for the fella, if it wasn’t for the two own goals and missed penalty.

“He’s begging to take it, but they won’t let him,” Paul Merson chuckled on Sky Sports when Chelsea won their own penalty, the notion that Jonathan might score a hat-trick for Chelsea almost having Merse disappear under his desk with mirth.

All you wanted to do, really, was slap the fella. Merse, not Jonathan.

Granted, if the misfortune had befallen, say, Frank Lampard, we’d have been hooting, but it was our Jonathan, so.

Held responsible

Over on Setanta, Paul Dempsey was holding Brian Kerr and Gary Breen personally responsible for Jonathan’s woes, the pair having praised him pre-match, and, in fairness, they both held up their hands, which Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic might have done too just to keep the score down.

(Actually, that’s untrue, if it wasn’t for the fella, it’d have been Scarlet for Stoke).

Which takes us rather seamlessly, it has to be said, to Leinster’s Lager Cup joust.

“They must score more tries in one game than they’ve managed in four previous pool matches or instead of the usual raucous RDS cheers all they will hear is their own death rattle,” said Sky’s Mark Robson, rather dramatically, as the teams took to the field.

There was then, we gathered, quite a lot at stake. And Mark was hyped to the gills.

Eg, after Scarlets had been awarded an easy enough penalty: “As the clock eats its way down in this game it provides fewer opportunities for this desperate Leinster team!!!!” Em. . .

“There’s still 78 minutes to go, mind,” Ieuan Evans pointed out, for, indeed, the penalty had been awarded just the two minutes in to the game.

All was good in the end, Scarlets were, you know, scarlet after a 33-14 setback, Leinster living to fight another day.

Lunchtime battle

On to yesterday and Manchester United were hosting Liverpool, a friendly lunchtime ding-dong between neighbours.

“You can feel the hostility, it’s great,” said a purring Graeme Souness, while Jamie Redknapp put on his helmet, both fine midfielders in their time, but with marginally different appetites for tackles.

United, naturally enough, won, which put the pressure on Manchester City ahead of their run-in with Arsenal.

And after half an hour there was nothing to separate the teams, apart from City’s two goals and Laurent Koscielny’s sending-off.

Not even City captain Vincent Kompany’s second-half dismissal could bugger up their day, Jamie saluting the ref for making the right decision – although criticising him for his footwear.

“You shouldn’t have a referee with green boots,” he insisted. Graeme scratched his beard – as if the moustache wasn’t intimidating enough – evidently not feeling as passionate about the issue.

A lovely day, though. Some time soon, perhaps: “Castel Gandolfo is the summer residence of which religious leader?” Reply: “Robin van Persie?”

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