A Different Week – Going, going, Gann – Jim Gannon leaves Port Vale

This week saw the most unsurprising stepping down since Hosni Mubarak, as Jim Gannon was sacked as manager of League Two side Port Vale after a turbulent 74 days in charge, that has been likened by many to Brian Clough’s infamous 44-day spell at Leeds United. Despite the Valiants being in second place when he took over from the Sheffield-bound Micky Adams, seven defeats and four draws in 15 games under Gannon saw them slip to outside the play-off places.

Just two weeks into Gannon’s tenure, club captain Tommy Fraser left the club by mutual consent and, after Gannon had been forced to answer to criticism over his tactics and team selection, members of the Vale squad met with the club chairman, amid rumours that Gannon had lost the dressing room. Vale then grabbed some unwanted headlines after Gannon stormed off the team bus during an away trip to Aldershot, after an argument with assistant manager Geoff Horsfield. He had to leave Accrington Stanley’s Crown Ground via a back exit after a large section of Vale fans protested against his regime following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat, by which time the writing was pretty much on the wall in one of the shortest managerial reigns in British football history.

In stark comparison to Gannon’s unhappy spell in the Potteries, England striker Jermain Defoe is enjoying a hugely successful time at Tottenham, for whom he has scored 99 goals in two spells at the North London club. However, clearly confident of hitting his Spurs century in last Saturday’s match against struggling former club West Ham, Defoe decided to dangle a big juicy bone in front of fate’s nose by wearing a t-shirt reading ‘100 GOALS’ under his shirt. Needless to say, the game ended 0-0 and Defoe’s over-confidence was laid embarrassingly bare, as the black lettering was clearly visible through his white shirt. Manager Harry Redknapp’s response was rather predictable: ”I hope he doesn’t wear that again. It tempts fate.”Still, not as embarrassing as Mario Balotelli’s inability to put on a training bib.

Speaking of embarrassment, a Blackpool councillor was this week forced to publicly apologise to his constituents after branding them ”Donkey-botherers” on Facebook. Labour’s Simon Blackburn made the comment during the match between Blackpool and his own team – you guessed it – Blackburn Rovers. Rovers had gone 2-0 down to their Lancashire rivals when he wrote: “Oh my actual God… the donkey-botherers are 2-0 up thanks to two of the worst refereeing decisions ever!”

Unfortunately for him, a lack of attention to his security settings meant that, as well as friends, the comments could be seen by any Facebook user and those users residing in Blackpool were far from impressed. In a hasty apology, Blackburn (the person) said: “I am hugely proud of Blackpool FC and their supporters, both of whom are a huge asset to the town and I apologise for any offence caused.” This cut little ice with many Blackpool residents and May could prove to be a tricky month for Mr Blackburn, as his side look set to finish the season fighting relegation and he is up for re-election.

Someone slightly more optimistic at the prospect of an election is Rene Higuita, the maverick former Colombian international goalkeeper, who is standing for political office as he seeks election as mayor of the Guarne municipality in the department of Antioquia, near Medellin. Nicknamed “El Loco” by fans and press alike, Higuita is best remembered for his legendary Scorpion Kick save against England’s Jamie Redknapp during an international friendly in 1995. He was also well known as a player for his fondness to dribble the ball out from his own penalty area and take on opposition strikers, as well as scoring an impressive 38 goals during his 24-year career. He played in the promising Colombia side that competed in the 1990 World Cup, but he missed the 1994 tournament after he was imprisoned for seven months in 1993 for his involvement in a kidnapping case. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, Higuita is confident of success. He told a Colombian newspaper: “You only need around 4,500 votes to become mayor, but I hope to get 10,000!”

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