Belfast Telegraph

The duck, the Wade and the wardrobe

By Billy Weir

Just when you thought it was safe to turn on a footy show and not have the likes of Boris Becker pop up in an unusual place – never a good thing – Virginia Wade takes centre stage on Match of the Day 2.

I should clarify that unlike BT Sport, the Beeb hasn't completely lost the run of themselves and allowed the 1977 Wimbledon champ to actually appear in person, she just popped up in Dion Dublin's mind.

I'll always have a soft spot for Dion, if he hadn't broken his leg then plain old Alex Ferguson's knighthood would have been but a dream as he'd never have signed Eric Cantona and history would have been very much different.

It still doesn't excuse him of bringing in a strange vocabulary all of his own when talking about Wayne Rooney's crossfield passes against Spurs, with Dion commenting: 'I like to call that a little bit of Virginia Wade there' and then clarified he meant 'a little bit of fade' in case you were confused, which you probably were.

This caused much mirth in the studio with the Marks – Chapman and Lawrenson – looking a tad bemused, but thankfully not trying to follow suit by suggesting that United had made a right Pat Cash of setting up their wall or that it would soon be all Martina Navratilova for Andre Villas Boas.

Anyhow, off to the Man City game with Swansea and a return of some sanity surely. What's that Lawro? Yaya Toure is like a moveable wardrobe?

"Were there any Virginia Wades?" enquired Chapman and, quick as a flash, Lawro replied there 'was an Ann Jones in there' and we weren't sure if he meant inside the wardrobe, while anyone under 50 was left wondering who Ann Jones was.

Surely some sense and sensibility would be returned to proceedings by the arrival of the cerebral Jonathan Pearce for Chelsea's game with Southampton, or sinners vs saints as it should have been billed.

It turned out though that he'd come as Larry Grayson with a savage non-foul on Michael Essien bringing an 'ooooooooooooh he wasn't tripped, it was a dive' in a desperately disappointed and camp tone followed by further admonishment in the form of 'Ohhhh Michael Essien, shame on you, shame on you..'

Normal service was resumed, Gary Cahill scoring his first goal for a year and John Terry 'playing a captain's innings again' by scoring one. At least it wasn't a duck, although there was a Ba for the third goal, but it was Cahill's effort that had Pearce bleating on afterwards.

"I'm glad to get that duck off my back," said Cahill, as monkeys across the globe faced up to the realisation that they were now facing cliché redundancy and no-one seemed to give a monkeys, or a duck, sheep or any other animal you could think of about it.

Back to the studio and a goal by Phil Collins 1985 smash hit Sussudio for Newcastle did indeed have 'a bit of Virginia Wade' on it while a discussion flowed as to the merits of your team being filled with flair players or those who sweated buckets for the cause.

This prompted Lawro to suggest that 'you're going to go through sticky patches' but by now I was sure this had gone for far too Yvonne Goolagong, so I climbed into a wardrobe with Virginia and a duck and hoped it was all just a bad dream.

Belfast Telegraph


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