Derek Davis' Football Chatter

AN injured ankle meant Billy Clarke could not be in Dublin last night to personally receive his two caps awarded by the Irish FA but he had a pretty good representative anyway.

AN injured ankle meant Billy Clarke could not be in Dublin last night to personally receive his two caps awarded by the Irish FA but he had a pretty good representative anyway.

Dermot Healy, Clarke's great-uncle, was so honoured at being asked to go to the ceremony he even made his first flight - at the ripe old age of 87.

Healy, along with Billy's father Charlie, flew from Cork to Dublin to pick up an under-18 and an under-19 cap presented to the Ipswich Town striker after appearing at both age groups over the past year.

The Football Association of Ireland do not award caps for each game played, but one at each level for the whole year.

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Billy needed to stay at Portman Road for treatment and so missed the ceremony but can rest assured in the knowledge that the coveted caps will be well looked after in his home town, with one likely to end up in Dermot's local in the north side.

The Templeacre Tavern, where Dermot can be found playing the accordian, also happens to be Roy Keane's local pub and is festooned with Manchester United and Ireland memorabilia belonging to the legendary midfielder.

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I SEE Arsene Wenger has been charged yet again by the FA after he had a go at referee Steve Bennett during Arsenal's 2-2 draw with Pompey.

What's the point? He will get a slap on the wrists or another fine that he will pay with disdain.

It is the same with Jose Mourinho. He could be in hot water for accusing Andrew Johnson - the Everton striker not last week's ticket competition winner - of diving, and even though the Chelsea boss was in the wrong, why should he not say what he thinks?

There is too much of this trying to get people to sit down and shut up at football matches.

Let people enjoy, go mad and have a rant, as long as it does not turn physical - let us not take characters out of the sport.

If you want to stop controversy then let's help referees get decisions right in the first, or even second place.

A RECOMMENDATION by Lord Stevens to set up an independent body to deal with transfer payments will not sit well with the FA.

They will see it as another attempt to erode their powers, especially by the Premier League who are looking to gain even greater control of the game in this country.

The recently published Burns' review suggested a semi-autonomous compliance unit with its own ruling board but the FA claim that is not necessary.

Stevens' long-awaited bungs inquiry will make several recommendations tomorrow but it remains unlikely that the identity of any 'dodgy deals' will be made public.

The former Metropolitan Police commissioner's remit is to make recommendations rather than name and shame any deals where he believes illegal payments were involved.

Those transfers that have not satisfied his scrutiny are likely to be passed on to the FA for further investigation.

Stevens has been investigating 362 transfers between January 2004 and January 2006, and his team have spoken to officials from 29 clubs as well as a number of football agents. In October he announced he had whittled down his investigations from 362 to 39 transfers, involving eight clubs.

He was then given another two months to complete his inquiries.

WORD from the Kop is that Rafa Benitez is going to sign John Wark's nephew Scott Wark on loan from Needham Market in the January window. He will also bring in Middlesbrough's Jason Euell and buy Phillip Neville from Everton.

Thus allowing the Liverpool fans to sing: 'Euell, Neville, Wark on loan'.

HARDLY original but what better Christmas present for the other half than two tickets for the Ipswich v Stoke City game on Saturday.

I have a pair of tickets to give away and all you have to do is tell me which current Stoke player enjoyed a brief loan spell at Ipswich Town from Southampton last season?

Send you answer to or Championship Chatter, EADT Sports Desk, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN. Competition closes at noon on Thursday, December 21.

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