Planet Football


One of the finer football websites goes by the name of A Love Supreme, the target of its affection Sunderland.

We dropped in last week and had a browse through the T-shirt section of its shop. "Irish Blood, English Heart is what we're made of, there is no one in this league we're afraid of," reads the caption on one; "Quinn'll Fix It" and "Quinness" the logo on two more. Not to mention the T-shirt that reads "The Stokes", with a logo remarkably similar to that of pop combo The Strokes. And then there's "Che Keano - Leader of the Red and White revolution", as well as the shirt that is half Sunderland red and white stripes, and half green. Is there something Irish going on at the club?

Quotes of the week

"He visited a club in China recently with a view to signing, but you have to conform to play in a Communist country and Owen is definitely a non-conformist. He thinks Das Kapital is a book about capital cities."
- Stephen Kenny, former Derry and now Dunfermline manager, after Comrade Owen Morrison's move to China fell through.
"If my wife starts watching the Wags stuff (on television), I'll turn it straight over. That won't get two minutes in my house."
- Now we know who's in charge of the remote control in Craig Bellamy's abode.
"Arsenal have great boys, but I wouldn't be sad if a club gives me three, four, five years and tells me, 'you don't need to win, you can lose Premiership after Premiership, and you have three, four, five seasons to build'. I wouldn't be sad."
- Jose Mourinho sends yet more hugs and kisses in Arsene Wenger's direction.
"I would have trouble explaining how we lost that in Spanish. In English, I find it almost impossible."
- Liverpool supremo Rafael Benitez lost for words, both Spanish and English, after John O'Shea pilfered all three points from Anfield on Saturday.
"I feel as if I am only at the half-time break."
- Bulgarian Marin Levidzhev after half-winning his legal battle to have his name changed to "Manchester United". His local magistrates would only agree to "Manchester Levidzhev", so he's taking his case to a higher court. As the ad puts it: "there's always one."

Tribute to on-song Viduka

You know that Leonard Cohen tune Hallelujah, the one John Cale and Jeff Buckley covered? Do you remember the lyrics? Well, they didn't quite go like this: "I heard
there was a secret ball, Southgate dreamed it would beat them all, but you don't really play the long ball, do ya? It goes like this, the full pitch width, Downing's cross and
Boateng's flick, the baffled 'keeper can't stop Mark Viduka. Mark Viduka, Mark Viduka, Mark Viduka, Mark Viduka." The song was penned as a tribute to the player by Alistair Griffin and is a bit on the excellent side (have a listen at
www.myspace. com/alistairgriffinonline).

"We played it in the dressingroom and the chorus is pretty good - Mark was a little bit
embarrassed by it, but he enjoyed it," said Viduka's fellow Aussie, Mark Schwarzer. "Somehow I don't think that the song will be a serious rival to Kylie, but then again I don't think anyone can rival Kylie."

More quotes of the week

"I can't get my head 'round why they give out these bloody awards month to month . . . I have to be honest and say it irritates me a little. These sort of awards always
did, even when I was a player, so I'll have to say it'll probably go in the garage."
- Roy Keane, overcome with emotion, on receiving his Manager of the Month award.
"I am not a great one for these individual awards because, ultimately, it's a team game. If it were about individuals these lads would not be playing football, they'd be playing tennis or snooker."
- Keane, still fighting back the tears, continues his acceptance speech for his award.
"He's quick upstairs, that's what matters. Like he showed for the goal today, my instructions for him were to sit, so he's obviously listened to me and bombed forward and scored a goal."
- Keane again, this time on how Dwight Yorke was just (not) following orders when he scored Sunderland's opener on Saturday.
"I had no interest in going straight into management. My plan was to chill out for a few years and spend time with my family, but they got fed up with me. It was a family decision. The wife dropped me off here."
- Keane yet again, this time explaining how he found himself at Sunderland.
"Although I am not a vain person, I believe I am the best."
- Ronaldinho, revealing he has self-esteem issues.

Wayne's world no bed of roses

As the song puts it: "Gary Neville is a Red, he hates Scousers." So, when we heard that Steven Gerrard had set the date for his wedding to Alex Curran for June 16th we lay awake all night wondering if he'd be big enough to overlook Gary's loathing of all things Liverpool and invite his England colleague to his do.

Alas, even if Stevie G proves to be a big-hearted sort of chap his gesture will prove utterly futile. Why? The Scouser-hating United captain has set the date for his wedding to Emma Hadfield for . . . yep, June 16th.

Granted, this isn't a crisis that rivals, say, global warming, but we think it might explain why Wayne Rooney has looked a bit out of sorts in recent weeks. Gerrard is his best mate, Neville is his club captain. Well, what would you do?