Football Diary

by Patrick O'Connor

TWO of the Premier League's top foreign managers have been upsetting the natives!

Chelsea's Portuguese boss Andre Villas-Boas really put the cat amongst the pigeons by suggesting that top Premier League clubs be allowed to field reserve sides in the Championship.

Villas-Boas, who is in his first season in English football, reckons this would help young players make the step up to Premier League football.

“The suggestion is frankly offensive,” raged an obviously peeved Football League chief Andy Williamson who scoffed at the idea that lower league clubs become feeder sides to the Premier League.

"Our clubs are constituted as sovereign entities which represent their town or city with pride, rather than being a subsidiary of another club in another part of the country. These are senior professional football matches that matter - they are not just platforms for developing other clubs' players."

Manchester City's Italian manager Roberto Mancini has apparently escaped sanction by the Football Association for imaginary card waving in two recent games.

But rival Premier League boss, Stoke's Tony Pulis, is not happy and wants the FA to take action against anybody indulging in such antics.

"It's something that's come into the game and should be stopped and the sooner the FA do that, the better. Sadly, it's the way it's gone, and for me it's unacceptable.

"Let the referee officiate and decide whether it's a yellow, red card or a fair challenge, and the rest of us get on with it."

Oh brother!

Three young footballers with non-league club Luton Town have been handed a golden opportunity.

After five years with the Blue Square Bet Conference Premier side, twins Rio and Cole Dasilva, 12, as well as their 13-year-old brother Jay, have joined the Academy at Premier League giants Chelsea for a five figure sum each.

Luton claim the total value of the deal could top £1m should the trio play in the Chelsea first team.

"This is a historic deal to see three brothers transferred together," said Luton head of youth Gregg Broughton.

Saturday's football programme threw up some pretty unusual features.

Michael Duberry, a defender with League Two outfit Oxford United, netted a hat-trick but would have only been delighted with the third goal!

Duberry scored three times in Oxford's home game against Hereford – unfortunately the first two were in his own net. It took a 'proper' goal by the veteran defender in the last minute to secure a 2-2 draw for Oxford.

The player said later on Twitter: "Wow. Didn't expect an afternoon like that. Scoring the imperfect hat-trick - left foot (OG), header (OG) and right foot. Thanks for all the positive tweets and thanks for the negative ones - as through positive thinking I'll turn a negative into a positive."

There were unusual goals too for Paul Owens in Coleraine's 3-1 win over Glenavon in the Irish Premiership league.

Owens twice scored direct from corners and was thwarted in his bid to score a spectacular hat-trick by a save from Glenavon keeper David O'Hare.

Finally, according to the Metro newspaper, the Premier League fixture between Norwich and Chelsea saw a first half completely devoid of fouls.

It is believed that this is the first time it has happened in a top-flight game. The match ended in a 0-0 draw.