The Circus is SBS's daily look at world sport from left field.
The Circus - December 17
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy under fire, Charles Barkley brushed by Tiger, and FIFA handbags at ten paces. It's all in The Circus.
Thrown to the Wolves
Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy has a habit of getting up people's noses. He even fell out with the famously even-tempered Roy Keane when he was manager of the Ireland national team for the 2002 World Cup, to the point where Keane spoke thus: "Mick, you're a liar ... you're a f*cking wanker. I didn't rate you as a player, I don't rate you as a manager, and I don't rate you as a person. You're a f*cking wanker and you can stick your World Cup up your arse. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your bollocks."
Now McCarthy has risked the ire of pretty much everybody by making 10 changes to the starting 11 that beat Tottenham Hotspur last weekend for Wednesday's English Premier League match against Manchester United, which Wolves predictably lost 3-0, even though the boot-studder did a fine job when he came on as a substitute for the final three minutes.
Teams in the title race with Man U weren't happy, Wolves' travelling fans weren't happy, and most importantly, The Times of London wasn't happy. And when The Thunderer isn't happy, you know about it. Take that! And that! And that!
Amazingly, the one person who is happy is Sir Alex Ferguson, who trotted home from Old Trafford with three lovely points tucked under his arm. And as we all know, making Fergie happy isn't an easy business.
Keeping it in the family
Former basketballer Charles Barkley is a buddy of Tiger Woods. Good for him. But Barkley is surprisingly surprised that Woods changed his telephone number after the infamous vehicular tangle with a fire hydrant/tree/two-iron wielding wife.
It seems to us that the mobile phone was a significant part of Woods' problem, and the last thing he needed was a baker's dozen of cocktail waitresses and porn actresses giving him a tingle to see how he was after the stack.
Barkley, however, is miffed. "You should reach out to your celebrity friends when things go bad," Barkley told The Associated Press. "They're the only people who understand what it's like." Presumably that means they are the only people who know what it's like to be playing around with various overly full-bosomed blondes while keeping up appearances of a happy family life.
There was a bit of a hoo-haa last month about the English bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup when some nice, expensive Brit handbags ended up on the arms of various FIFA chappies' wives. No harm done, though. All forgiven and forgotten, with handbags returned to sender. It was just the nasty media being … well, the nasty media and stirring up trouble.
Lest anyone think that the bid might flounder after Handbag-gate, the British government has come to the party with a promise to … ummm, pretty much hand over the country to FIFA for the duration at a cost of 300 million pounds sterling.
Among other things the government has guaranteed to suspend normal border controls for FIFA members, staff, subsidiaries and partners for eight years from 2010, and allow unlimited import and export of various tasty hard currencies, which sounds like the sort of thing that would have the voice-over guy from Border Security in a state of self-righteous apoplexy. For a change.
Ups and downs
Football's promotion and relegation system is a wonderful thing – except for fans of the teams being relegated. Like Brazil's Coritiba:
Meanwhile, at Galatasaray versus Fenerbahce, taking a corner means taking your life in your hands:
The numbers game
267 – meat pies won by China's Ding Jinhui when he took out the UK snooker championship. Part of the prize was the winner's weight in pastries
69 – kilograms that Jinhui weighs
0 – pies that Jinhui will eat personally after donating them all to a charity in Sheffield
100,000 – UK pounds that Jinhui won to go with the pies
Quote of the day
"The tour guide waited for them in vain at the airport on Saturday when the team was [due to travel] back home. We think they are hiding somewhere with the intention of going somewhere, or just intending to remain here. We have alerted the authorities to help track them down."
- An official bravely but unsuccessfully tries to explain what has become of 12 members of the Eritrean national football team who absconded during a regional tournament in Nairobi.
Headline we'd like to read
Charity rejects pies, requests No.56 with special fried rice
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