THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Thursday 1 Emre is accused of having racially abused Ali Bangura of Watford; the Newcastle player was previously charged with insulting Everton’s black players in December. Anton Ferdinand will face trial for alleged assault over an incident at an Essex nightclub last year. Alan Knill is dismissed by Rotherham, who are without a win in 14 games.

Friday 2 Arsène, already asked for some “clarification” by the FA, has another swipe: “We commit the lowest fouls in the league but we are the most punished. The club deserves more respect than that.” West Ham could have points deducted after being charged with breaching Premier League rules over their Argentinian signings.

Saturday 3 “Liverpool will be feeling very unfortunate tonight,” laughs a sympathetic Sir Alex, as Man Utd briefly open up a 12-point lead at the top of the Premiership with a shaky 1‑0 lunchtime win at Anfield. John O’Shea scores the winner in injury time, shortly after Paul Scholes is sent off. Chelsea narrow the gap with a 2‑0 win at Portsmouth. Arsenal avoid becoming the first club to lose in four different competitions in consecutive games with a 2‑1 win at home to Reading. At the bottom, Charlton come from two down to draw 2‑2 at Watford. “I’ve told the players it’s a win,” winks Alan Pardew. “I don’t want to say we’re out of the woods,” says Paul Jewell as Wigan go nine points clear of the relegation area with a 1‑0 win at Man City, who drop to 17th. In the Championship, Sunderland, now ten games unbeaten, are 2‑1 victors at West Brom. Wolves stay fifth with a 3‑2 win at Luton. Of the bottom six only Southend avoid defeat, with a 2‑2 draw at home to Leicester. A “gobsmacked” Dennis Wise drops captain Kevin Nicholls for saying he wishes he was still playing for Luton; Leeds still lose 3‑2 at home to Sheffield Wednesday. In League One, the leaders Scunthorpe win 2‑0 at Brentford. Forest go second after thrashing Huddersfield 5‑1. Hartlepool beat Hereford 3‑2 to go five points clear at the top of League Two. Stockport continue their surge with a 3‑0 at home to Swindon and become the first club to win nine games in a row without conceding a goal. “I’m bursting with pride,” says manager Jim Gannon. Wrexham win 2‑1 at fellow-strugglers Boston to move out of the relegation places. Celtic beat bottom club Dunfermline 2‑1 and are just two wins from the SPL title.

Sunday 4 “We are going though every emotion,” says Alan Curbishley as West Ham stay bottom with a 4‑3 defeat at home to Spurs, after being 2-0 up at half‑time and leading 3‑2 in the 89th minute. Carlos Tévez scores his first goal for the club in his 19th appearance. Benni McCarthy scores two penalties as Blackburn beat Bolton 2‑1. “It takes a lot to convince people we can play,” mutters Mark Hughes. According to the Mail on Sunday, the Premier League bungs inquiry is to study claims that an unlicensed Israeli agent has been involved in the transfers of three players to Bolton. Birmingham are back on top of the Championship after a 1‑0 win at Cardiff. Anton Ferdinand is in trouble after newspaper stories reveal he told Alan Curbishley he was going to visit his sick granny in the Isle of Wight, but instead took a 7,000‑mile round trip to an all‑night party at the Knock Knock Club in Columbia, South Carolina. “I’ve made a stupid mistake,” he deduces.

Monday 5 Preston are back in fifth spot in the Championship after beating Southampton 3‑1. Police are to investigate footage of anti‑Semitic chanting at Upton Park during the game against Spurs, posted on the internet apparently by one of those involved.

Tuesday 6 “My players produced an almost perfect performance,” says Rafa Benítez as Liverpool, watched by their new owners for the first time, progress in the Champions League on away goals after an Eidur Gudjohnsen goal gives Barcelona a 1‑0 win at Anfield. Chelsea are through, too, coming back from a goal down to beat Porto 2‑1. Ipswich debutant Franny Jeffers scores for the first time in two years in his side’s 5‑2 win at Hull. Peter Jackson is sacked by Huddersfield.

Wednesday 7 “The last two weeks have been horrendous,” says Arsène as Arsenal are eliminated by PSV after a 1‑1 draw; Brazilian defender Alex, on loan from Chelsea, equalises for the visitors late on after scoring an own goal. Man Utd complete a 2‑0 aggregate win over Lille. Celtic take AC Milan to extra time before losing 1‑0. Bristol City’s 3‑1 win at Chesterfield takes them up to second in League One.

Thursday 8 In the UEFA Cup, Newcastle beat AZ Alkmaar 4‑2 with another two goals from in‑form Obafemi Martins. Glenn Roeder knew he’d come good: “The culture of living in Milan would be slightly different to living in Newcastle. He had to get used to that.” Spurs blow a two-goal lead at Braga, but finally win 3‑2 with a last-minute goal. “There was only one winner so I was a happy customer,” says a relieved Martin Jol. Rangers draw 1‑1 at home with Osasuna.

Friday 9
Birmingham lead the Championship again after beating Derby 1‑0. “We probably paid too much money for him but that was repaid tonight,” says Steve Bruce of goalscorer Rowan Vine. Accrington Stanley could face a points deduction after being charged with fielding ineligible players in three League Two matches.

Saturday 10 “He took our dream away,” says George Boateng after Rob Styles awards Man Utd a second‑half penalty against him for handball in a 2‑2 FA Cup quarter-final draw at the Riverside. Sunderland go third in the Championship with a 2‑0 win at Barnsley, despite Roy Keane dropping three players who missed the bus to the game. “There must be a god on our side,” says Dennis Wise, as Leeds beat Luton 1‑0 at Elland Road but still stay bottom. Southend win 2‑0 at Ipswich. Hull also win, 2‑0 at home to Preston, and move out of the bottom three. “It’s in our own destiny,” points out Phil Brown. Bristol City go second in League One with a 1‑0 win at home to Brentford, who stay second bottom. Leaders Scunthorpe draw 1‑1 at home to Forest and equal a club record of 15 games unbeaten. Yeovil are third after a 2‑1 win at Cheltenham. Below them, Millwall are just five points off the play-offs after a 2‑0 win at home to Carlisle; Neil Harris becomes the first player to score a hundred goals for the club. Rotherham look doomed to the drop after a 5‑1 defeat at home to Port Vale, Akpo Sodje scoring four. In League Two, Walsall close the gap on leaders Hartlepool to three points with a 1‑0 win at home to Chester. Stockport’s run ends with a 3‑1 defeat at Barnet. Clive Allen’s son Oliver scores one of the goals. “Scoring is what I’ve been brought up to do,” he says. Peterborough win again, 4‑0 at home to MK Dons, and are five points off a play‑off spot. At the bottom, Boston win 2‑1 at home to Bristol Rovers to go level on points with Wrexham and Accrington in the last relegation place.

Sunday 11 “We are happier than them,” boasts José as Chelsea come back from 3‑1 down at Spurs to earn a replay in the FA Cup. He also denies calling Mike Riley personally a “son of a whore” in Portuguese at the end of the game. “I say this kind of word ten times in every 15 words.” Watford are in the semis after a 1‑0 win at Plymouth, Hameur Bouazza scoring. Blackburn join them with a 2‑0 home win against Man City. “It is important I shield the players,” says Stuart Pearce, holding up a bin lid as a section of travelling City fans demand his resignation. Wolves are fourth in the Championship after a 1‑0 win at home to West Brom. Jay Bothroyd scores the goal. “Let’s blow smoke up Jay’s arse,” suggests Mick McCarthy, not really one for making polite conversation. Rangers beat Celtic 1‑0 at Parkhead to cut the gap at the top of the SPL to a trifling 16 points, Ugo Ehiogu scoring the winner with an overhead kick.

Monday 12 Said to be no longer on speaking terms with Roman Abramovich, José admits that he would be interested in coaching Real Madrid: “I would not discard doing that. It would be an honour for me.” Roy McFarland is sacked by Chesterfield, who are 20th in League One. The FA’s website crashes as 60,000 tickets go on sale for the first match at Wembley, an Under-21s game with Italy.

Tuesday 13 Joey Barton is arrested over an alleged assault in Liverpool earlier this month. Several late goals prove crucial in the Championship. “We’ve got eight cup finals left,” says Steve Tilson as Southend shoot up to 20th through an injury-time winner at home to Burnley. QPR are in the bottom three after conceding in the 87th minute to draw 1‑1 at Derby, who move level with leaders Birmingham, beaten 1‑0 at Norwich. Sunderland score in the 90th minute for a 2‑2 draw with Stoke. Luton, beaten 2‑1 at home by Hull, are second bottom: “It takes three or four years to get a reputation as a decent boss but three months to lose it,” says Mike Newell, blaming the board for player sales in January. Bradford’s surprise 4‑2 win at Bristol City sends Chesterfield into the League One relegation area.

Wednesday 14 Man City fall to a fifth straight defeat via a Frank Lampard penalty that brings Chelsea back to within six points of Man Utd. Stuart Pearce is confident that he still has the support of the Man City board: “The other night at the reserve game the chairman bought me a sandwich.” Arsenal also win 1‑0, at Villa.

Thursday 15 “I have to find defenders who are good enough to play in front of Shay Given,” says Glenn Roeder as Newcastle go out of the UEFA Cup on away goals after a 2‑0 defeat at Alkmaar. Rangers could be fined after fighting in the away section during their 1‑0 defeat at Osasuna. The Football League are to discuss using penalty shootouts to decide drawn matches. “If you don’t change in a changing world then you can fall behind,” says League chairman Brian Mawhinney, via his arse. Paul Jewell will contest two FA charges for criticising referee Phil Dowd on the pitch and in a Sky interview after Wigan’s defeat at Arsenal: “If I am asked a question, I will try to give an honest answer. Isn’t that what democracy is all about?” Mike Newell is sacked by Luton, who have lost five in a row.

Saturday 17 No change at the top of the Premiership as Man Utd stay six points clear with their sixth straight win, 4‑1 at home to Bolton. “We need plastic surgery,” mutters Sam Allardyce, sucking his cheeks in. Gary Neville injures his ankle and won’t be available for England. Chelsea win 3‑0 at home to Sheffield Utd. West Ham move off the bottom with a 2‑1 win at Blackburn, Bobby Zamora scoring the winner with a shot that hits an offside Carlos Tévez and fails to cross the line. “I’ve asked the referee to keep his door open,” fumes Mark Hughes, filling a sock with snooker balls. Watford lose 3‑1 at Spurs, where Paul Robinson makes himself feel better by slotting one past England team‑mate Ben Foster with a hoofed free-kick from 80 yards. “People will now be questioning Ben,” he points out, helpfully. “I can get in my car and put a nice little book tape on,” says Stuart Pearce as Man City move up to 15th place with a 2‑0 win at Boro, who rest players ahead of their FA Cup replay, which gets Neil Warnock’s blood boiling: “It’s scandalous and I would love to see them lose their next six games.” Derby go back to the top of the Championship with a 3‑1 defeat of Cardiff. Sunderland are up to second with a 2‑0 win at home to Hull and still haven’t lost this year. At the bottom, David Healy scores an 88th-minute equaliser for Leeds in a 1‑1 draw at Southend; Dennis Wise is sent off for arguing over a last-minute penalty appeal. League One leaders Scunthorpe go 16 games unbeaten, a club record, with a 1‑1 draw at Brighton. Bristol City cut the gap to four points with a 1‑0 win at Crewe. In League Two, the leaders Hartlepool come back from three down to draw 3‑3 at Stockport, who stay sixth. Accrington score in the final minute to beat bottom‑placed Torquay 1‑0 and move out of the relegation places. Boston also win, 2‑1 at Mansfield, despite the club not being able to afford a team bus for the day and the players driving to the game in convoy. In Scotland, Kris Boyd scores a hat‑trick for Rangers in the 3‑0 win at home to Aberdeen as they reduce Celtic’s lead to 13 points.

Sunday 18 Charlton are four points off a safe spot after a 2‑0 win at home to Newcastle. China’s Zheng Zhi scores one and makes the other. “I know about Mother’s Day here,” he says. “This was her present.” Everton are back in sixth place after a 1‑0 win at home to Arsenal, Andy Johnson scoring the winner in the 90th minute. Birmingham are second in the Championship after a 1‑1 draw at West Brom. Celtic lose their third game in a row and their second in the SPL, 1‑0 at Falkirk.

Monday 19 Chelsea win 2-1 at Spurs in their FA Cup replay, which ends with a fan trying to attack Frank Lampard as he celebrates with team-mates. Man Utd win 1‑0 at home to Boro with a contentious penalty awarded for a foul on Cristiano Ronaldo, which prompts a general dust-up at full‑time. “We have played them three times this season and conceded three dodgy penalties,” says Gareth Southgate. Sir Alex, furious too with Sky over their reporter’s line of questioning to Ronaldo, isn’t having it: “They are putting a stigma against the boy that he doesn’t deserve.” In replacing the injured Darren Bent, David Nugent becomes the first Preston player called up by England since Tom Finney in 1959.

Tuesday 20 Rafa Benítez joins the fatcat chorus calling for Premiership clubs’ reserve teams to be allowed to play in the League: “If you do not give young players the chance to play competitive football, things become impossible.” “He is insulting the history and the stature of the Football League,” replies Brighton chairman Dick Knight. Valdas Ivanauskas finally quits as Hearts’ head coach, after months on sick leave. A statue of Southampton stalwart Ted Bates may be removed from outside St Mary’s, following complaints that it’s badly out of proportion.

Thursday 22
Lille are fined £40,000 for player misbehaviour and poor crowd control at their Champions League tie at Lens against Man Utd, who also receive a small fine over disturbances involving their fans. Paul Jewell gets a two‑match touchline ban for his confrontation with Phil Dowd. After talks with Liverpool’s new owners, Rafa says he won’t be leaving for Real Madrid.

Saturday 24 Scotland beat Georgia 2‑1 with an 89th‑minute goal from Craig Beattie, to stay top of their Euro 2008 qualifying group. “Maybe I will have to explain to some players what is wanted from them,” fumes John Toshack as Wales flop again, losing 1‑0 to the Republic of Ireland at Croke Park. David Healy scores a hat‑trick in Northern Ireland’s 4‑1 win in Liechtenstein. Giampaolo Pazzini gets the first goal at the new Wembley after 29 seconds and finishes with a hat-trick as Italy Under‑21s draw 3‑3 with their English counterparts. Scunthorpe salvage a 2‑2 draw in the 90th minute at Leyton Orient but their League One lead is cut to two points by Bristol City’s 1‑0 win at Doncaster. With the five teams ahead of them playing tomorrow, Stockport fail to close in on the League Two promotion places by crashing 7‑2 at home to Rochdale. Oh, and Steve McClaren, without his rictus grin for once, has to be corrected for saying: “We lost a game we should have won.” England are booed off by their supporters again after drawing 0‑0 in Israel; four goalless matches in the last five is their worst run since 1981.

Monday 26 AFC Wimbledon get back 15 points of the 18 deducted in February, leaving them in the play-off places of the Ryman Premier. Kevin Blackwell is Luton’s new manager.

Wednesday 28 England take nearly an hour to score against Andorra before winning 3-0 with debutant David Nugent getting the third. The team are jeered throughout by the travelling fans – “not nice for the players”, says John Terry – while Steve McClaren walks out of the press conference saying: “If you want to write whatever you want to write, you can write it.” Northern Ireland lead their group after a 2-1 defeat of Sweden. Wales beat San Marino 3-0, Ireland record a fourth straight win, 1-0 against Slovakia. Scotland lose 2-0 in Italy.

Friday 30
ITV and Setanta outbid the BBC and Sky for the exclusive rights to the FA Cup and England home games from 2008 – they’ll be paying £425 million over four years. Accrington are fined £12,000 for fielding ineligible players.

Saturday 31 “Our life is made of happy moments and bad moments,” says José as Chelsea win 1-0 at Watford to stay six points off the pace. Man Utd come from behind to beat Blackburn 4-1, Paul Scholes scoring the first. “He sees things before they actually happen,” says Michael Carrick. Peter Crouch scores a hat-trick as Liverpool thrash Arsenal 4-1 at Anfield. Charlton beat Wigan 1-0 and are a point off climbing out of the bottom three for the first time. West Ham win 2-0 at home to Boro. Sunderland go second in the Championship with a 1-0 victory at Cardiff. Niall Quinn spends £8,000 on taxis home for a group of fans kicked off a plane he’s also travelling on. Southampton win 6‑0 at Wolves, Polish striker Marek Saganowski scoring a hat-trick. Dean Windass also gets three as Hull thump third-bottom Southend 4‑0. Plymouth’s Matthias Doumbe is sent off after 40 seconds in a 3-0 defeat at Ipswich. League One leaders Scunthorpe go four points clear with a 2-0 win over Bradford while rivals Bristol City and Forest draw 1-1. Walsall close the gap on League Two leaders Hartlepool to five points with a 3-2 win against Accrington. Swindon go third with a 2-1 win at home to Shrewsbury. In the SPL, Celtic fail to win for the fourth game in a row, being held 1-1 at Dundee Utd. Rangers can’t take advantage, also drawing 1-1, with Inverness. Doncaster win the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy with a 3-2 defeat of Bristol Rovers in front of 59,024.

From WSC 243 May 2007. What was happening this month

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