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by Ben, last updated 2008-02-27 20:56:35

 As One Door Shuts...A Nutter One Opens

 by Gerry McDonnell

For some inexplicable reason, the subject of mental illness remains taboo. I am convinced that if we debate the topic in a mature and sensitive fashion, we could raise awareness of the constant unnecessary stigmatisation of these unfortunate lunatics.

I'm not embarrassed to admit that I used to regularly suffer from panic attacks. All it would take was an unexpected knock on the door, and I'd find myself screaming like Andy Cole's wife. Luckily, the attack would subside once I realised my other half hadn't arrived home from work early.

As a result of my experience, I feel I'm in a perfect position to reflect upon Paul Gascoigne's descent into a fruitcake laden abyss. Looking back, all the clues were there: Gazza was fearful of an alien invasion, he was holding conversations with plastic parrots and he fancied Newcastle to beat Blackburn. The Rovers are the only sane betting choice at 19/10.

I can't help but feel the media attempted to sensationalise Gazza's problems. It's not unusual for a man to cry during sex; as Joey Barton can confirm. I'll be incredibly sore if Middlesbrough fail to beat Reading at 9/10.

It's been reported that Ashley Cole burst into tears when Cheryl surprisingly decided to reconcile with the incredibly wealthy reserve full-back. I'm guessing it's not the first time that a handkerchief has come in handy. I'm rubbing my hands together at the 5/2 for a draw between West Ham and Chelsea.

Robbie Keane also bawled after Tottenham lifted the Carling Cup. I find the idea of a male showing such emotion quite distasteful; although if Birmingham beat Tottenham at 3/1, I'll cry like Liz Hurley's maid on pay day.

To cap off a disgraceful week for the male race, William Gallas sobbed after kicking lumps out at an advertising hoarding. How surprising: a Frenchman and a pointless strike. Arsenal will demolish Aston Villa at 4/7.

On a brighter note for Arsenal, Eduardo may return to action in as little as nine months. I have to confess to being surprised by the quick turnaround: I've been to Selly Oak hospital, and it normally takes seven months just to make it out of the waiting room. You should seek medical attention if you pass on the 4/5 for a Manchester City win over Wigan.

It's not just the clinically insane and the cast of 'The Crying Game' who deserve our sympathy; our thoughts should also go out to players with learning disabilities. It's rumoured that Robbie Savage was the inspiration for 'Are you smarter than a 10 year old?' The genuinely bright will be taking 13/10 for a Sunderland win over Derby.

I thought Wes Brown was a level (if somewhat orange) headed footballer, but he's clearly delusional if he believes he's worth £80,000 a week. That kind of money could fund research into psychiatric disorders for a number of years, or settle Wayne Rooney's tab at KFC. The 13/5 for Fulham avoiding defeat against Manchester United is finger-licking good.

There were many people who believed that El Hadji Diouf may have had a serious mental illness, as he would often dribble more than Cristiano Ronaldo. I've been practically salivating over the 5/6 for a Liverpool win over Bolton.

History is like an Alzheimer's sufferer, it will often repeat itself. The last time Everton finished 4th in the Premiership, their neighbours lifted the Champions League trophy for the 5th time. I fancy Everton to beat Pompey at 10/11, but I hope it doesn't lead to Liverpool fans holding up six fingers; that should really be left to the citizens of Coventry.

Alzheimer's is the latest in a long list of illnesses to plague my father. I look back in fondness to the time when he was just a paranoid schizophrenic - it was nice that he has someone to talk to, even if he was out to get him. People use offensive labels such as 'nutter' to describe the mentally ill, but i refuse to pigeon-hole my old man; as he's also an agoraphobic. I'll definitely be going out when Arsenal, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Liverpool land a healthy 10/1 accer.




Weekend Betting:


Arsenal v Aston Villa Saturday 1st March 15:00

Arsenal 4/7
Draw 3/1
Aston Villa 6/1

Get on: Arsenal


Birmingham v Tottenham Saturday 1st March 15:00

Birmingham 3/1
Draw 5/2
Tottenham 21/20

Get on: Birmingham



Derby v Sunderland Saturday 1st March 15:00

Derby 23/10
Draw 23/10
Sunderland 13/10

Get on: Sunderland


Fulham v Man Utd Saturday 1st March 15:00

Fulham 9/1
Draw 4/1
Man Utd 4/11

Get on: Draw


Middlesbrough v Reading Saturday 1st March 15:00

Middlesbrough 9/10
Draw 5/2
Reading 7/2

Get on: Middlesbrough


Newcastle v Blackburn Saturday 1st March 15:00

Newcastle 6/4
Draw 12/5
Blackburn 19/10

Get on: Blackburn


West Ham v Chelsea Saturday 1st March 15:00

West Ham 4/1
Draw 5/2
Chelsea 19/20

Get on: Draw


Man City v Wigan Saturday 1st March 17:15 Live on Setanta

Man City 4/5
Draw 13/5
Wigan 5/1

Get on: Man City


Bolton v Liverpool Sunday 2nd March 13:30 Live on Setanta

Bolton 7/2
Draw 13/5
Liverpool 5/6

Get on: Liverpool


Everton v Portsmouth Sunday 2nd March 16:00 Live on Sky

Everton 10/11
Draw 5/2
Portsmouth 7/2

Get on: Everton



 Premiership Betting Preview - Matchday 28 (Mar 1-2)


The first silverware of the English season was settled last weekend, as Spurs ended a nine year trophy drought, winning the League Cup. Tottenham’s players partied hard after the extra-time win over Chelsea, but then it was back to work, as the Premiership is far from over. There are eleven more weeks of Premiership action for punters to bet on, which means elven more reasons to get up to 60% better Premiership betting odds at PinnacleSports.com.


Gunners to Win Title for Eduardo

Arsenal players have vowed to maintain their position at the top of the Premiership table, and win the title for striker, Eduardo, who suffered a horrible broken leg on Saturday at St.Andrews. The Gunners made that objective a little bit harder for themselves, by conceding in the 90th minute to draw 2-2 with Birmingham. The home side had played 86 minutes with ten men, following Martin Taylor’s red card for the tackle on Eduardo, who now faces nine months on the sidelines.

Arsene Wenger now goes into Saturday’s home game with Aston Villa, one striker down, and with Tuesday’s visit to the San Siro to consider. Arsenal are unbeaten at the Emirates Stadium this season, but Villa have lost just once in eleven league games. The concern for the Villans is that their run without a clean sheet stretches back even further – over 13 games. With Arsenal scoring 31 times at home so far this term, this should be an entertaining game, but as Villa haven’t beaten the Londoners in 19 attempts, PinnacleSports.com make Arsenal favourites 1.826 (-0.5 & -1)* with Aston Villa 2.110 (+0.5 & +1)* - a market priced to only 102%.


United Look for Five More Against Fulham

Manchester United coasted to victory last weekend, beating sorry Newcastle 5-1 at St.James’ Park. Rooney and Ronaldo grabbed two goals each, as the Red Devils returned to winning ways after the disappointment of their defeat in the Manchester Derby. United are now just three points behind Arsenal, and will expect to maintain the pressure with a win over struggling Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Fulham, second from bottom, are struggling badly for form, winning just one of their last seventeen games, despite changing manager at the very end of last year. Roy Hodgson is a vastly experienced coach, but he has his work cut out with the Cottagers. Despite the return of influential midfielder, Jimmy Bullard, from injury, Fulham are struggling for goals, drawing blanks in five of their last six games. Brian McBride comes back into the reckoning for this game, and though he will add aerial threat, it is hard to see the West Londoners getting anything out of this game, though United may be distracted by Tuesday’s Champions League tie. PinnacleSports.com price Man Utd favourites 1.901 (-1 & -1.5)* with Fulham 2.030 (+1 & +1.5)*.


*Odds are subject to change






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