Planet Football


Robbo talks Shrek
We were impressed to read on that Michael Robinson, already a television star in Spain, is now a movie legend. Sort of.

The former Irish international striker, who also played for Liverpool, provides the voice for the cross-dressing barmaid Ugly Sister in the Spanish version of Shrek 2, a role filled by Larry King and Jonathan Ross in the American and English versions.

It's not, though, the first time Robinson has dabbled in the movie business: in 1996, he played himself in a Spanish film about a referee who promised his dying mother he would never lie. It is not, alas, available at a video shop near you.

More impressively, a rubber version of Robinson starred in the Spanish version of Spitting Image. Is there life after football? Evidently.

Wakey wakey

"I can understand a team like Real Madrid turning someone's head - they would turn my head if they came in for me."

- Jamie Carragher (Liverpool)

"Everybody within the club feels we have the quality to challenge for a top-six place."

- Antoine Sibierski (Manchester City)

"We want to finish as high as possible in the Premiership, and I believe it should be top spot. If we don't finish top then we want a Champions League place."

- Rupert Lowe (Southampton chairman)

Dial Franz for sechs

Apart from the €2 million he was paid to appear in an advertising campaign for mobile phone provider O2 in Germany, Franz Beckenbauer, according to the International Herald Tribune, also received "a free, two-year cell phone contract with a phone number of his choosing".

Unfortunately the first four digits of the former German captain and coach number, 0176, are also used for sex chat lines in that country, while his choice of "6666666" . . . well: "The German pronunciation of six (sechs) sounds awfully close to what a barrage of lonely men called looking for. Beckenbauer put up with one night of amorous telephone advances before calling it quits."

PS: There's no point dialling the number in the hope of reaching the Kaiser, he has had it changed.

Quotes of the week

"This is the big time, it's like Madonna coming to Slane."

- St Pat's manager Johnny McDonnell on Deportivo La Coruna's Champions League visit to Dublin.

"I haven't earned the money he has because I haven't smiled for as many cameras or encouraged as much interest in my life."

- Michael Owen in his new autobiography, about the man who has just become his clubmate, David Beckham.

"I find it hard to believe Chelsea paid £24 million for Drogba. I never saw anything very special about him as a player. I didn't think too much about him as a person either, he's far too arrogant."

- Dmitry Sychev, who played alongside Didier Drogba at Marseilles last season, wishing his old pal all the best.

"Nicky (Butt) joined us as a 14-year-old boy, he is the same today as he was then."

- Alex Ferguson suggesting Butt, now at Newcastle, is a bit of a slow developer.

"Sven's a lot livelier than he looks. Obviously there's a bit of a lad in there somewhere, fair play to him."

- Harry Redknapp who, like ourselves, is looking at Sven-Goran Eriksson in a new light.

Squirrely story

A couple of weeks back the Sun reported that Coleen McLoughin had flung her £25,000 engagement ring in to the Formby Point nature reserve after a furious row with her fiancé, Wayne Rooney. Next day? Treasure hunters flocked in to the place searching for the ring, upsetting 300 resident rare red squirrels in the process.

"We really do not want people trampling through the woods and disturbing the squirrels," a National Trust spokesperson told the BBC, "we are asking people to keep away".

"I will, as soon as I find the bloody thing," a W Rooney of Goodison Park allegedly replied.

What's in a name?

Why does Crystal Palace's new signing from Southampton go by the nickname of "One Size"? His name is . . . Fitz Hall.

About face

"I understand Newcastle are a big club, but I cannot see myself playing for them. I mean no disrespect to the club, but it is not the move I am looking for."

- Patrick Kluivert, before signing for Newcastle United recently.

"I'm very excited to have signed for such a fantastic club as Newcastle United. I've always wanted to come to one of the biggest clubs in the Premiership, and there's no doubt that Newcastle are one of the biggest clubs in England."

- Patrick Kluivert, after signing for Newcastle.

More quotes of week

"There's no doubt we'll be seen as a big fish in the First Division - everybody will be trying to knock us off our perch."

- Leeds' manager Kevin Blackwell (reminds us of our favourite joke: two parrots on a perch, one says to the other, "Do you smell fish?").

"I firmly believe that in four or five years the Far East will be a place to be recognised and known."

- Newcastle chairman Freddy "Marco Polo" Shepherd, who reckons the Far East will only be discovered when Newcastle United start selling shirts there.

"If I wanted to have an easy job I would have stayed at Porto: beautiful blue chair, the UEFA Champions League trophy, God, and after God, me."

- Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, still struggling with self-esteem issues.

"I feel sorry for the managers at Oxford. When you've got to go and beg for a meal for the players after a match it doesn't make you feel that the club is ambitious."

- Irish defender Paul McCarthy explaining why he left Oxford for a more ambitious club, non-league Hornchurch.

"Sometimes with a player like Paul Gascoigne a manager has to put his neck on the line."

- Eh, Paul Gascoigne.

Chrystal clear

Crystal Palace excitedly opened the delivery of their new kits, made in Romania for sports manufacturers Diadora, only to note that both the home and away shirts bore the name "Chrystal Palace". "We could do without getting embarrassed off the pitch, 'cos we've got a good chance of getting embarrassed on it," as Palace supporter Joe Cusworth told BBC Online. "It makes us look like a total bunch of clowns."