PlanetFootball Compiled by Mary Hannigan


If Sheffield Wednesday manage to avoid relegation to the English second division this season Michael Reddy will probably have a stand named after him at Hillsborough.

Away from home

The man from Graiguenamanagh came on as a substitute at Portsmouth on Saturday, in a game that had been billed as the league leaders' promotion party. But, two minutes into stoppage time, Reddy broke clear and beat Shaka Hislop in a one-on-one to win the game for Wednesday. Cue headline: "Not Reddy for the Drop". Like it.

Similarly, Jon Daly scored for Stockport in their win over Plymouth to lift them away from the second division relegation zone and, in division three, Richie Foran got a late equaliser for Carlisle at Bury, a goal that could yet save Roddy Collins's team from dropping into the nether regions of non-league English football.

A good day, too, for Damien Duff, who made it six goals in his last eight games for Blackburn with the winner against Charlton on Saturday, and for Robbie Keane, who scored for Spurs against Leeds for the second time this season.

Not so good for Steve Finnan - Fulham lost again and are tumbling uncomfortably close to the relegation zone. Mind you, if the "Finnan to Liverpool" rumours are true he'll stay up, even if Fulham go down. Jamie Carragher insists he isn't worried - "There have been a few defenders who have come and left because I've been in their position - and bigger names than Steve Finnan". Whooooo.

Waiting on Partridge

Nice to hear that Liverpool winger Richie Partridge, who spent most of the season on loan at Coventry, is recovering well from the hernia operation that ended his season prematurely. "I won't be able to do much for the first week or so, but my girlfriend will be around to be my little waitress," he told the Mirror last week.

Hopefully, Richie won't work his girlfriend, Lesley, too hard because her big brother might come 'round to have a word'. And he is? Michael Owen.

Quotes of the week

"I was talking to Claudio Ranieri after the game and he said he thought they were playing Real Madrid in the first half."

- Mick McCarthy on his chat with Ranieri after Sunderland played Chelsea last week. Ranieri actually said "Cowdenbeath"; McCarthy just didn't understand his accent.

"I've come into a situation where just about 99 per cent of things at this club are right."

- McCarthy, again. Is the one per cent relegation?

"Being linked with Aberdeen is news to me. I don't know where it is, to be honest."

- Swindon's splendidly named and geographically-challenged Australian midfielder, Danny Invincible.

"I think Ronaldo could be the next Wayne Rooney."

- ITV's Clive Tyldesley last Tuesday night.

"I believe we at Liverpool are capable of playing that kind of football as well but you need everything to be right."

- Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek after watching Real Madrid last week. Jimmy Tarbuck will be hiring him as a joke-writer soon.

Unsafe keeping

Qualifying comfortably for our Wacky Footballing Journeys category: Californian goalkeeper Ryan Duncan (24) left Sacramento State in 1998 to join BSV Kickers Emden, an amateur German team, moving on to BV Veendam in the Dutch league, then Levski Kustendjil and Levski Sofia in Bulgaria, before joining FC Kedah in Malaysia last summer.

In February he switched to DPMM FC in Brunei, a team owned by the Sultan of Brunei's son. A fortnight ago a war protester ran onto the pitch and punched Duncan in the face - this after the American had been told by a local, "Your Christian name is ugly and you're going to die".

Our intrepid goalie didn't wait for a transfer, he just packed his gloves and got on the next plane to California. His agent, though, has told him that teams from Finland and Estonia are interested in signing him. Enough's enough.

Spat of the week

"This is our worst season in living memory," said Liverpool old-boy Ian St John on Sky Sports last week after the 4-0 defeat to Manchester United. "He should remember that between 1966 and 1973 we never won a competition - and he was part of that team," replied Liverpool assistant boss Phil Thompson.

To which St John responded: "Tommo should remember his previous job as a pundit for Sky Sports when he had an opinion on everything. My advice to him is to get on with the job he is paid for - coaching. He could start with shooting practice." Boys, boys.

More quotes of the week

"I will drink anything - give me petrol and I'd probably drink it."

- Dundee United's Russell Latapy, admitting he's fond of a jar, unleaded or not.

"We are conceding goals, remain impotent in attack, and there is no basis to our play."

- Manchester City defender David Sommeil, having a ball at Maine Road (Football 365).

"We are so good. The white angels dance around the Red Devils."

- Spanish sports daily Marca's take on that game last Tuesday.

"I accept it if it was not meant ironically."

- Real Madrid manager Vicente Del Bosque, unsure whether to take Gary Neville's comparison with the Harlem Globetrotters as a compliment.

Poem of the week

"So, Arsenal you are favourites and odds on to win, Your balloon flies so high, but beware, we have a pin."

- As lovingly penned by Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock ahead of yesterday's FA Cup semi-final.

No worries for Ali's Cats You will, no doubt, be aware the Iraqi Minister of Information, Mohammad Said "Comical Ali" al-Sahaf, is now a figure of cultish status - you can even buy a T-shirt featuring his mug with the slogan "We are in control" on the Football 365 website.

"The situation is excellent, they are going to try to approach Baghdad ... and I believe their grave will be there," he told reporters in Baghdad last week, as American tanks drove up behind him.

His, em, confidence even extended to believing Mick McCarthy's Red and White Army would be playing Premiership football next season (see picture). As McCarthy told reporters last week: "Am I scared? No! And neither should you be!" Or was that another Ali quote?