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Offside: The Beast.

Byline: NICK CHERRIE

The Beast is always on the prowl for fresh blood. We may not agree with what he says, but we're too scared to tell him so. This week his victims are...

SOUTHAMPTON

DURING his career Jens Lehmann has probably trodden on enough toes to fill a chiropodist's calendar.

But Kevin Phillips ensured the Arsenal keeper found out what it was like when the, er, boot was on the other foot in the clash at St Mary's.

The Southampton striker did everything but the Riverdance on poor Jens' toes.

Not surprising, then, that the Gunner hurled a ball at his back.

Yet it was the keeper who ended up eviscerated in the press - not the misfiring striker. Even though the Saint was clearly the sinner in this instance.

That's Southampton all over. There's always been something about them that I dislike but - like the G-spot - I just can't put my finger on it...

I just can't see the point of the team. They scarcely win anything; they occasionally scrape into Europe; they occasionally fight relegation; they're usually mired in mid-table mediocrity.

The team's tidy and hard-working, true - but so is your average domestic cleaner. And no one pays to see them go about their duties (except in those, er, specialist magazines. Apparently).

And then there's wee Gordon Strachan.

He's following in the (tiny) footsteps of former Saints boss Alan Ball - the man with a voice only dogs can hear - as the league's most irritating manager.

Ginger-whinger Gordie reminds me of those mad-haired gonks and trolls the girls always plonked on their desks for good luck during exams (mind you, my school was so rough we got the Kray twins' birthday off).

Or better still, when the little pixie fella is leaping animatedly around the dug-out, he resembles nothing more than a demented diddyman.

In fact, he's usually more fun to watch than the 11 men out on the pitch. It's like a humane version of bear-baiting!

Now Strachan usually has plenty to say on any given subject, yet he has been strangely reticent on Phillips's impromptu soft-shoe shuffle. Odd that.

This isn't meant to be a Lehmann rally - and I've put the metaphorical boot into the Gunners before - but I do hope he gets away from this narrow squeak.

And no, I'm not referring to Alan Ball again...

Want to bite back? Contact The Beast at sport@sundaymirror. co.uk

The Beast's savage mauling of Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren in last week's paper, drew plenty of responses - most of them from disgruntled Boro fans.

Stephen Owen emailed us to say: "Full marks to The Beast for seeing through all the hype surrounding Steve McClaren.

"He is constantly being talked about as one of England's brightest young managers, but Boro are going backwaards."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 4, 2004
Words:464
Previous Article:GAA: Kernan Junior's no ordinary Joe.
Next Article:Offside: SUTTON COULD GIVE GOAL SHY BORO THE CHRIS OF LIFE.


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