Well, was it a goal or wasn’t it?
The late kick-off time and the jeering of the National Anthem by some sections of the Liverpool support (for reasons too many to list) became an irrelevance as the world debated whether Andy Carroll’s headed “goal” should have stood.
Chelsea were on the ropes at the time, and had his effort been given Carroll would have been elevated to king (or probably prince within the House of Anfield) and the bargain of the century.
Instead, the goal wasn’t given – probably because it wasn’t a goal. Chelsea ‘keeper Petr Čech produced an instinctive reflex save to push the header on to the underside of the crossbar. And no number of replays helped to confirm that all of the ball had crossed all of the line.
Chelsea won in the end, Didier Drogba making history with a fourth cup final goal. But his contribution was no more or less match-winning that Čech’s effort.
Good as his super stop was, some went overboard in praise of the Czech Čech.
“The greatest save ever in a cup final,” tweeted one overly enthusiastic but under-educated twit, quickly corrected by one equally overly enthusiastic pedant. Well, you’ve got to educate these youngsters haven’t you?
Čech’s stop was good. But this is just unbelievable, as remains so nearly 40 years on …
Manchester – if not the country – is divided as City travel to Newcastle trying to keep their title ambitions on-track, while United hope for a derailment.
In the end, Yaya Touré helped City maintain their lead, so United could only beat Swansea and take the title fight into a final Sunday.
This they duly did at a subdued Old Trafford. But there was nothing shy and retiring about Sir Alex Ferguson’s press conference minutes after the final whistle, winding up the tension as only he can.
Perhaps he’s clutching at straws, hoping against hope that City slip up on the final day.
He might be powerless in what they do against QPR, but Fergie will at least have everyone at City thinking about the visit of QPR, and their manager, ex-City boss Mark Hughes.
Hughes, said his former gaffer, was “sacked in a very unethical way and he’ll remember that”. Or rather Fergie is hoping Hughes will remember that, in the same way as the United manager joked he wished “Sparky was playing against City on Sunday”.
All of which will give the conspiracy theorists much to talk about before and after Sunday’s showdown.
For many years now, May bank holiday Monday has meant just one thing – that come Tuesday morning, you will wake up decidedly tired, probably because you have watched the conclusion of snooker’s Betfred World Championship in to the wee sma’ hours.
But not this year. Business was done and dusted quickly enough on Monday evening to get another re-run of Coast on BBC2, as Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Ali Carter to claim a fourth world crown.
After 17 days at the Crucible, and despite his disappointment, Carter still had the strength to tweet: “Gutted I lost, but lost to the greatest player of all time, so no disgrace there. Thanks to all my positive followers.”
Not something I could be accused of, distancing myself from Ali’s claim – or delirium – about Ronnie. “Greatest player of all time?”
I suppose if you’ve just been gubbed for the second time in four years by “The Rocket” in the world final, you are looking for some kind of solace in being second best – especially in the knowledge that, with all the rule changes and amendments to the ranking system, if it happens again then Ronnie gets to keep you.
Difficult, then, not to sound like an Essex fanboy, albeit one who ignores the record books – which show Ronnie only level with John Higgins on four world titles, two behind both Ray Reardon and Steve Davis in the modern era, who in turn look up to Stephen Hendry on seven.
I should say here that Ali is a trained flyer, ready to carve a career as a commercial pilot once he hangs up his cue, and has come through a torrid time healthwise to achieve what he has on and off the table.
But maybe check the radar first before you try landing that Rocket claim again, mate.
Radar, Hawkeye or fifth or sixth officials would have been useful at Easter Road in the crunch relegation game between Scottish Cup finalists Hibs and Dunfermline.
The game was over before the Hibees sealed a decisive win thanks to Paul Hanlon’s fourth goal.
A great strike, probably one of the best of his career, and certainly one of the most important. And how much better it would have been had it crossed the line instead of rebounding a yard back into play.
Hanlon said he was embarrassed to call it a goal, and might not claim it as his – which alerted a Mr McCoist of Govan who said he was in Scotland on the night, and could he have it …
Doesn’t seem too long ago since I cynically suggested – and jested – that the after-fight brawl that took place in Germany between David Haye and Dereck Chisora was no more than a taster for the two of them getting it on in the ring.
And as if by magic, on 14 July, Upton Park will stage a “re-match” between the two. As neither man holds a British licence, the fight will be sanctioned by the Luxembourg Boxing Federation, rather than the British Boxing Board of Control.
For those who are none the wiser, having your fight sanctioned in the UK by the Luxembourg Boxing Federation is rather like claiming a doctorate from a postal university in America…
Needless to say, the BBBoC are upset and dismayed that promoters have skipped around their jurisdiction, while rival promoter Frank Maloney said the show “undermines the authority of the BBBoC” and world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko called the fight “a freak show with freak rules”.
I agreed wholeheartedly with all their sentiments as I checked to find which Sky package I’d need to see the fight …
Meanwhile, Bill Miller confirmed his 15 minutes of fame were over as he withdrew his bid to take over Rangers, blaming previously unknown financial information that had made him have second thoughts.
Of course, it wasn’t this minor detail that most picked up on. It was Miller’s claim about “hearing the message from Rangers supporters and fans loud and clear (‘Yank go home!’)” that made the headlines. And why I wrote about it in Weir’s Week last week.
The perilous situation Rangers are in seems lost on some of their moronic hordes – especially those with the ability to knock up and print off cheap, but hugely effective, banner advertising …
The final play-off game to decide who will contest the richest match in the world (allegedly) sees Blackpool hold out against Birmingham City, setting up a meeting with West Ham United.
In Scotland, meanwhile, we had our own play-off matches in the First and Second Division. Not that you would have known had you watched the evening news sports bulletins on either BBC’s Reporting Scotland or STV’s Scotland Today. Not a mention of these games.
So Scotland’s broadcasters: even if it was unintentional, you have made all those who follow wee, diddy, no-hoper teams feel even more inferior than they did before.
Shame on you. You’d never get me to ignore them. (By the way, how’s Clydebank doing these days?)
Just a week away from the all-Edinburgh Scottish Cup final and fans of Hearts and Hibs (in order of their most recent cup success) have been dealt a blow with an alcohol ban on all trains between the capital and Glasgow on final day.
As I said on talkSport’s Extra Time, I can see why there would be a ban travelling to the match. But surely fans would be able to celebrate on the way home – or, more importantly, drown their sorrows.
But there was even more doom and gloom. The supporters of the winning team will travel back to Edinburgh via Airdrie and Bathgate, with the losing team’s fans going home via Falkirk High.
So if it wasn’t bad enough not being able to drink just to console yourself in defeat, and then having to deal with the fact you’d just lost to your biggest arch-rivals in the biggest game for more than a century, you have to visit Falkirk just to get home.
Falkirk! Oh ScotRail, you have a sick sense of humour …
And if it’s Friday, it must be D-Day again at Ibrox, as the Rangers administrators Duff and Phelps get another chance to practise their technique of waving goodbye to one prospective bidder while welcoming several others at the same time.
The good news is that Craig Whyte (remember him?) has agreed to transfer his majority shareholding to two of the four parties involved in takeover talks.
Whyte’s 85 per cent shareholding in Rangers is required for the club to exit administration via a Company Voluntary Arrangement.
But just a warning to some errant Gers fans. Don’t be displaying any of your Bill Miller-style banners this weekend in Perth, saying what you think of Craig Whyte.
Because he might interpret it as a sign of support, warmth and affection and decide to stay …
– Tweet Stewart Weir with thoughts and comments.