Football Diary

by Patrick O'Connor

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FOOTBALLERS can be really weird and do have some strange habits.

The Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, who is very much an old school type, has apparently lost his rag over his players following the latest Premier League fad of cutting up their socks!

These fashion conscious creatures, who only last season indulged themselves with the snood, are cutting the feet off their socks and using short tennis ones, with supposedly better traction, to get more of a grip in their hi-tech boots.

To cover up their handiwork they use tape. Now Premier League referees are beginning to clamp down on the practice as some players are leaving their different coloured socks on show.

Where will it all end?

An even more bizarre example of player quirks is the QPR midfielder Joey Barton. According to the Metro newspaper he's not impressed with the “attitude of his in-game character in Football Manager 2012 computer game – even threatening to quit the game because he was annoying himself so much.”

Yes, that does read right. Barton tweeted: “Just had my 1st argument with myself on FM 2012.Gonna have to quit, cos am doing my own head in.”

What a crazy world some of these footballers inhabit!

As for the real game, television viewers were treated to a classic FA Cup tie when Manchester City hosted Manchester United.

The game had absolutely everything, stunning goals, great atmosphere, stirring fightback and a very contentious sending off.

The Manchester United and England forward Wayne Rooney once again proved to be a player for the big occasion with two goals and a masterful performance,

City will now concentrate on their Premier League title hopes but the Red half of the city of Manchester has reclaimed some pride after that sensational 6-1 home defeat at the hands of the Blues earlier in the season.

Unfortunately United's reward for winning the game was an another away tie – this time at arch rivals Liverpool in the fourth road.

Relations between the two clubs is still extremely tense following the Luis Suarez affair and the fixture will need an extremely strong referee (definitely not Chris Foy who was in charge at the Etihad Stadium).

There weren't too many shocks in this year's third round although I was just grateful that my own team Derby County made it through with a 1-0 home win over fellow Championship club Crystal Palace.

Last season we were knocked out by non-league Crawley in a live TV game – a humiliating experience for supporters.

We now face Premiership side Stoke City at home in the fourth round when it would be nice to do a bit of giant-killing ourselves.

Stoke are renowned for their long-throw expert, the former Derby County player Rory Delap, so no doubt our defenders will be practising their heading techniques in training over the next few weeks.