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THAT WAS THE SPORTING WEEK: Fergie opts for extreme youth against Hull, Cliff Richard seen lurking a

22 May 2009 12:07:20

THAT WAS THE SPORTING WEEK: Fergie opts for extreme youth against Hull, Cliff Richard seen lurking a

SUNDAY LIVERPOOL manager Rafa Benitez refuses to congratulate arch-rival Sir Alex  Ferguson after United win the title. Never mind Rafa - sure, you let yourself down but there's always next year. You can congratulate Fergie when he wins it  again then. *** SIR ALEX denies that he will field a drastically weakened side for the final game of the season at Hull because Manchester United must prepare for their European final. Okay, his proposed back line has a combined age of 14, but it's not as  if they haven't been getting plenty of game time in United's all-conquering  Under 5's team. WIMBLEDON's celebrity tennis day to test the retractable roof on centre court  is rated an outstanding success on all fronts, although there is a worrying  moment when Sir Cliff Richard is spotted hanging hopefully around Henman Hill in light drizzle. *** THE second Test between England and West Indies at Chester-le-Street is played  behind closed doors. To keep the draught out. *** UNKNOWN golf pro Robert Rock turns the saying 'first is best, second is  nowhere' on its head when he 'inherits' the winner's cheque of £450,000 at the Irish Open despite finishing as runner-up to Shane Lowry. 'I think it was an  excellent decision of Shane's to enter the tournament as an amateur,' said a  beaming Rock after learning that the victor's status meant he could not keep  the cash. BATH and Harlequins players become involved in a wild punch-up astheir  end-of-season parties coincide in a Fulham pub. A rugby spokesman said: 'We  commend the lads for their responsible behaviour.They kept the action in-house and made sure no innocent bystanders became involved. We will be replacing the broken tables, light fittings, sideboard and all damaged crockery. Thank goodness none ofthose nasty professional footballers were involved, that  really would have been unacceptable.' MONDAY JOHAN CRUYFF slams the Premier League for fielding far too many foreign  players, to the detriment of the England national team. After delivering his  diatribe, the Dutchman who found fame and fortune in the Spanish league departs in his top of the range Audi, smoking a Gitane and drinking his favourite blend  of Colombian coffee. *** DESPITE exiting the Madrid Masters, Andy Murray continues to show the heart for  a fight which has been missing from British tennis for so long. Even though Murray loses the first set to Juan Martin Del Potro, he refuses to throw in the  towell like so many homegrown players have in the past. For example, if Jeremy  Bates lost the first set, you just knew he would invariably lose the match.  Mind you, if Jeremy Bates won the first set, you just knew he would invariably  lose the match. TUESDAY ENGLAND rugby officials deny that dropping Danny Cipriani is anything to do  with trying to belittle him for his perceived arrogance. And anyway, training  with the girls' development squad while helping collect the litter around Twickenham for the summer is a big responsibility. Past his best and a bit slow: But David Beckham is hopeful of a World Cup slot - yet will all three still be playing in nine years? GORDON Brown appears in a front three also featuring David Beckham andWayne  Rooney as England launches its 2018 World Cup bid with apublicity shoot. We  should make plenty of chances but I can't seeBrown sticking too many in the  onion bag. WEDNESDAY JONNY Wilkinson signs a £750,000 deal with French rugby club Toulon, who will  provide the World Cup winning star with 'his and hers' cars and a riviera  penthouse costing £50,000 a year in rental, as well as his impressive salary.  Toulon officials deny reports that the luxury pad has had rubber walls installed to help the occupant avoid accidents and all that remains now is the simple matter of Wilkinson passing a fitness test. Best put the flat back on the market. *** MARK HUGHES is warned by Manchester City'sbillionaire owners that he must  finish in the top six next season. Sohe immediately starts looking around for a club to achieve it with. THURSDAY DIEHARD Celtic supporterAndy Walker contacts the media to complain that  football grounds havenot been passing the 2.5 per cent VAT cut for their pies and pasties onto the fans. Andy, 58, has conducted extensive research into thematter at every ground in Scotland, reluctantly abandoning his one-mancampaign  for justice only when he could no longer fit through theturnstiles. Please note: no elite sporting icons were harmed in the writing of this column


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