First things first and I’d like to join the entire football community in sending my best wishes for a full recovery to Sir Alex Ferguson. It was only in March that myself and Ally McCoist were enjoying a glass of red with Fergie at Cheltenham… he was loving his life and on top form.
What a puzzle it was to hear of the surgery he needed so soon afterwards, and it only goes to show how precious life is. My memories of him go all the way back to the canny lengths he would take his homework to as a young coach.
He was apparently such a fan of the way we played at Ipswich he wound up at the front of our bus with Bobby Robson on a pre-season tour… only for his Aberdeen to knock us out that very season with a draw at Portman Road and a win up at Pittodrie in the 1981 UEFA Cup!
You may have been made aware of an incident when the TalkSPORT team were out in Rome last week. Unfortunately they only send the reporter to the game, and so myself, Dean Saunders and Tancredi Palmeri were left to provide colour from a table at a restaurant opposite the famous Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti, or Spanish Steps to you and me.
Some Liverpool fans threw a bucket of water over us at one point and it didn’t bother me so much as the poor woman sat behind, who I feared was going to suffer a heart attack. You can see for yourself here, but there was plenty more of interest to be discussed over those few days.
It is such a tourism-oriented city that Tancredi was one of the few Italians we got to talk with about the Liverpool semi-final, and I can sympathise with the Roman sense of injustice on the night.
The Slovenian ref in charge at the Olympic stadium was supposedly a candidate for this summer’s World Cup final, until a guaranteed handball he never gave plus a couple of other decisions I thought he got wrong raised some big question marks.
Tancredi also made a great play of the anthem they play at AS Roma and how that helped them get as close as they did, but I promise you it has nothing on the effect of You’ll Never Walk Alone when they play it at Anfield!
That’s all by the by now, of course, as we look to Kiev, which is just around the corner. I only hope someone can find Deano a ticket as everyone else’s thoughts, except perhaps for those of the Italians, will have turned to Russia, not the Ukraine!
I wasn’t surprised to see Steven Naismith treading a fine line at the weekend, and in the opinion of many observers, he crossed it.
His challenges on Scott Brown and later on David Forrest in the Hearts/Celtic game revealed a couple of things, I thought.
Taking out Brown is something the Celtic captain will have come to expect week in, week out, and is an inevitable consequence of how much he has put himself about down the years.
Naismith will have been trying to say, in no uncertain terms, that Brown was not going to be having it all his own way again. On top of this natural competitive edge, however, I can’t help feeling that missing out on a move back to Rangers was at play somehere in the psychological mix for the Scotland midfielder.
Until next time you can catch me on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast every week day on TalkSPORT, 6-10am.