Last updated : 03 June 2004 By Editor
Mourinho yesterday:

"I am a winner because I'm good at what I do and because I am surrounded by people who think the same. When I arrive I will put all my cards on the table and say we have to work with big things in our minds.

"I don't believe in the idea of old managers and new ones. I just believe in good and bad ones, the ones who have success and the ones who don't. But I will say this: we have top players. I'm sorry that I'm a bit arrogant, but we have a top manager. We want top things.

On his spat with Fergie after Keane’s sending off in February:

“Alex Ferguson said Baia had overreacted. I disagreed with him and told him to look at the video. I only hope he will apologise to me having seen it. His reaction was not a correct one but I understand he was emotional because his team were dominated by a side who have 10 per cent of his budget.

“For me it was a normal football situation and his reaction wasn't a personal thing. But I felt my players were not big enough to cope with that kind of pressure and so I had to show that I was not afraid of him and the boss was ready for a fight.

“At the end of second leg he came to the dressing room to congratulate me and I have respect for such important people. I haven't come here for fights. I came here to win but at the right moment if I feel my players, my group and my club need my help, it's like family and they will get it.”

Having made numerous references to Porto’s tiny budget when they beat United clearly there’ll be no excuse for him failing with Abramovich’s millions behind him.

One sinking ship to the next. From the Guardian:

Trevor Birch began life as Everton's new chief executive yesterday by stressing that the best way the club can flourish is by leaving Goodison Park.

Birch's appointment in place of Michael Dunford comes as part of a reshuffle in the boardroom, with the owner Bill Kenwright replacing Sir Philip Carter - who has been made life president - as chairman.

Although Birch will attempt to attract new investment, he admitted that a move from Everton's home of 112 years and a ground-share with Liverpool might be the best option.

“If Everton do not find a ground, or share one which gives them the access to that additional revenue, it is unlikely they will be a big club again in the near future," he said. "You have to keep an open mind, if that is the only alternative to Everton generating further revenue.

"There are a lot of clubs out there who are suffering, but if you look at the clubs who have been successful in the recent past it has been due to the level of finance that has been avail able to them. That tends to be generated by a very good stadium."

Heading to be banned? From the Mail:

The effects of heading in football are to be discussed by a leading group of scientists later this year.

Rod Markham, a Sydney neuropsychologist, recently called for FIFA to ban heading after conducting a review of published studies from around the world which indicated brain injury is likely in footballers over a long-term period.

Markham wrote a letter to the sport's governing body highlighting his findings, making it clear brain and neck trauma can be caused by repeatedly heading a ball, with severity of injury dependant on a number of factors.

Recently, Markham was quoted as saying: "The worst problem occurs when a person headbutts somebody else's head or the goalpost, and they've been shown to have the same impact on the brain as hitting concrete. But even with heading just the ball itself, over a period of time it seems these micro-impacts are cumulative."

In November 2002, former England striker Jeff Astle was adjudged by a coroner to have died in January of that year at the age of 59 from neurological damage as a result of repeatedly heading a ball during his career.

It has led to the threat of a lawsuit and ongoing communication over the last two years between Astle's widow, Lorraine, and the Football Association, who deny any liability.

In his letter to FIFA, Markham wrote: "I should like to request consideration of the banning of heading in all soccer matches played due to the cumulative and often acute and long-term brain injuries."

Markham went on to suggest players could perhaps wear protective headgear to "minimise the damage done," however his comments have been dismissed by Dr Jiri Dvorak, FIFA's chief medical officer.

But FIFA are aware of the growing number of studies into brain injury caused by heading - one of which is being conducted by the FA - and are to hold an international symposium on Concussion in Sport in November in Prague.

Dr Dvorak said: "Most of the comments of Mr Markham are based on the views of others and may not have any scientific basis.

"The Health Council of the Netherlands also reviewed the literature and found no conclusive evidence.

"Mr Markham is not known among the scientific community, nor has he contributed any original work to that issue; nor is he known in Australia as a clinician.

"But we have been intensively researching for three years and are preparing a symposium to discuss this among scientists."

The FA's 10-year study is now in its third year, with the cost of the project totalling £116,000. In 2001, the FA identified 33 academy players - 11 defenders, midfielders and forwards - as having potentially long careers and with the consent of their parents, were informed they would be monitored over the coming decade.

The 33 players underwent scans and tests before the programme, after one year, will do so again after five years, as well as at the end to determine if there are any effects.

The study is under the direction of a number of medical clinicians, with their records and research held at the Neurosciences Division of the Leeds General Infirmary, with the findings to eventually be submitted to a leading scientific medical journal.