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Derek McGovern: BUNGLED CON JOB.

Byline: Derek McGovern

YOU might remember that last week I wrote that bribing a referee is to football fixers what a silencer to the temple is to assassins - a guaranteed result with few witnesses.

I bring this up again for two reasons.

First because it's a great line and deserves another airing.

Second because its wisdom was underlined by a terrific story from Ian St John's autobiography, released this week.

St John and most of his Motherwell team-mates had agreed to throw a match against rank outsiders Third Lanark in the Scottish League in the early 60s.

The fix, engineered by a band of big-time gamblers, was very much on - the bung of pounds 100 per player and the prospect of backing Lanark at long odds too much to resist for Saint and his fellow sinners.

Minutes before kick-off, however, Motherwell keeper Hastie Weir found out about the plot and blew the whistle to manager Bobby Ancell.

The gaffer went berserk and the sting crumbled.

That tells us two things. First, if an insignificant match like that was almost crooked, how many more contests have been shaped by bungs rather than brilliance?

Second, it's clear that even when you have the compliance of nearly all the players in a team, a sting could still go wrong.

How much more logical, therefore, to simply bribe the ref? Sorry to bang the drum about this, but I'll keep banging until someone listens.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 15, 2005
Words:240
Previous Article:Derek McGovern: BET OF THE DAY.
Next Article:Derek McGovern: WE LAUGHED; ...all the way to the bank if you do the right thing and send this to No.1.


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