Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Wed 11 October 2006

Seven Shades of... Euro 2008

Last Saturday was a bad one for Wales and the Republic of Ireland. The Welsh conceded five goals at home to Slovakia in their Euro 2008 qualifier and the Irish let in five, too, against the mighty... Cyprus.

At least the two coaches, Steve Staunton and John Toshack, can now claim to be kindred spirits as they share a quiet pint of arsenic down the pub, but maybe they have more in common with each other than they realise?

Using the theory that there's only seven degrees of separation between any two unconnected things, let's try and make a monumentally spurious link between these two under-achieving managerial giants...

Steve Staunton
is the former player and current coach of the Republic of Ireland who scored direct from a corner kick in a 1993 match against Northern Ireland, just like

Artim Sakiri
who did the same for Macedonia against England in October 2002. Sakiri spent two years playing for West Bromwich Albion between 2003 and 2005 where his manager was

Bryan Robson
who in October 1981 became the most expensive footballer in Britain when Manchester United signed him for £1.5 million. The previous holder of the record was

Andy Gray
who was bought by Wolves from Aston Villa in 1979 for £1,469,000. Gray was the PFA Young Player of the Year in 1977, a title won the following year by

Peter Shilton
whose flawed attempt to make “the perfect save” allowed Poland to score against England in a 1973 World Cup qualifier and consequently stop them from reaching the 1974 World Cup Finals. His opposite number that night was

Jan Tomaszewski
the goalkeeper labelled “a clown” by Brian Clough but had the last laugh due to his heroic performance in the 1-1 draw with England, a result matched in a World Cup qualifier earlier that year by Wales, whose goal was scored by

John Toshack
The current Welsh team manager and someone who knows what it’s like for his team to be well and truly spanked in a major tournament qualifying match. See top of list for alternatives in this category.

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