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Football: OFF THE BAWL.

Byline: WITH ALAN McMILLAN

HIGH-PROFILE signings can be too quickly written off if they fail to prove an instant hit.

Football supporters are not known for their patience and the same can be said for football writers and bosses.

Nuno Capucho is the latest in a long line of players who have been tagged no-hopers by fans and pundits, although he has been supported by his manager in public, at least.

If you look at the situation logically, someone who has played for a club such as Porto must have something to offer.

Perhaps coping with a different style of football and a new language is more difficult than we appreciate.

Capucho would not be normal if he hadn't thought over the last few weeks that he might be in the wrong movie. However, there is hope.

Two players currently hitting the headlines in England went through the same trauma.

Juan Pablo Angel, a pounds 9.5 million Colombian, was rated a dud when he first joined Aston Villa but now he's a goalscoring star, who is said to be on Roman Abramovich's New Year shopping list.

If that's the case, you can expect tosee him signing at Chelsea very shortly because it seems there is no one who doesn't want to go there.

Well, apart from Elvis Costello, of course.

Laurent Robert of Newcastle is another who has gone from zero to hero. A record 40 visits to manager Sir Bobby Robson's office for kicks up the backside eventually did the trick. Robson said: ``When he comes off the pitch now, he's shattered.

``Before, he would come off and his shirt didn't need to go to the laundry.''

So Capucho could yet become the player Rangers hoped he would be.

Perhaps a few months from now Rangers fans will be belting out Nuno chants that don't involve the ``f '' word.

Perhaps there will be a supporters club called the Nuno Capucho Loyal.

Or perhaps I will be on my final warning for writing while under the influence of alcohol.

*A new accolade for Rangers the first SPL club to get a mention on BBC TV's Crimewatch.

On last week's show, police described a robber as resembling Ibrox frontman Michael Mols.

But before you ask, cops aren't looking for a tired, fed-up villain ... the similarity referred to freckles.

CAPTION(S):

STILL HOPE:; Capucho
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 22, 2003
Words:393
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