Villa Scrabble through after Cup Shambles; Sunday Roast

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), January 16, 2000 | Go to article overview

Villa Scrabble through after Cup Shambles; Sunday Roast


WE can reveal exclusively that Aston Villa have requested their semi-final against Leicester City be made best of three after their astonishing Worthington Cup reprieve.

And word has it that Villa chairman Doug Ellis and his secretary Steve Stride are already searching for possible loopholes in the competition rules should Leicester win.

Their attention has been drawn to the fact that Muzzy Izzet's surname, worth 346 in scrabble on a triple-word score, Pegguy Arphexad (196) and Theo Zagorakis (142) contravene Worthington Cup regulations.

No this isn't me going senile, it's the Football League for letting Aston Villa back in the competition.

This was maladministration on a colossal scale.

The Football League does not have the capacity to think its way through the simplest of problems.

In ignorance, West Ham fielded an illegal substitute for eight minutes of their original Worthington Cup tie against Villa which they won after a penalty shootout. Admittedly, the Hammers had contravened the rules and should have been promptly booted out of the competition instead of being offered a second bite of the cherry. But likewise, Villa had already been knocked out of the cup with the anonymous Manny Omoyinmi having no bearing on the result. Surely the only solution to this ridiculous mess was that the winners of the Leicester and Fulham quarter-final received a bye into the final.

Meanwhile, over at Molineux, in the interests of the British sense of fair play and justice, Sheffield Wednesday will be awarded a goal every time they get the ball into the top tier of the John Ireland stand in Tuesday's FA Cup replay.

And those lucky so-and-soes from Wolverhampton can have absolutely no complaints. Anyone at Hillsborough last Saturday would tell you that Steve Sedgley's goal was no more over the line than Geoff Hurst's controversial effort in 1966.

Indeed, Sedgley's header had barely crossed the halfway line let alone the goalline.

Who needs a dodgy Russian linesman when you've got referee Graham Barber, whose impersonation of Stevie Wonder was the performance of the fourth round.

But if Barber is hoping to find a white stick on Tuesday night, there should be plenty to choose from. Wolves supporters have walked past a rotting human corpse for four years without noticing it!

Turkey of the week

ENGLAND'S cricketing 'Tweedledee and Tweedledum' Nasser Hussain and Duncan Fletcher share this week's turkey for another epic selection cock-up.

The dopey duo had a chance to put matters right by selecting Warwickshire's Nick Knight and Worcestershire's Vikram Solanki for the final Test against South Africa after their run feast against an Invitation XI.

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Villa Scrabble through after Cup Shambles; Sunday Roast
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