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Robbo Robson | 09:52 UK time, Friday, 24 July 2009

England win an Ashes Test at Lord's; A 59-year-old a putt away from Open glory; Sven-Goran Eriksson is director of football at Notts County. The world has gone mad, I tell you.

I half-expected Sven to 'Robinho' his press conference and talk about the honour of following in Clough's footsteps. No disrespect but there are just four things I know about Notts County:

1. They're not Nottingham Forest and if you say Notts Forest their fans get ridiculously uppity.

2. They're the oldest football club in the world - as if that entitles you to anything. It's a playground argument really. 'Boro are better than Notts County!' 'No!!! Cos my club is older than your club!'

3. Jimmy Sirrel - a wily Scot (managers from north of the border are always 'wily') who raised 'em up from the basement to the top flight in 10 years). And not by using wads of cash from a mysterious source either.

4. Juventus would still be playing in pink if it wasn't for Notts County. In fact it may well be that folks like Claudio Gentile might have been sweet little kick 'n' rush Wenger archetypes were it not for the change of kit.

Sven-Goran ErikssonStill that might be slightly more than Sven knew. The Sun says there are six women to every man in Nottingham so that might be the draw.

Certainly Mr Trembling (surely one of the Mr Men) was living up to his name during the press conference as he nodded along his agreement that one of Sven's jobs would be to identify local talent. Can't see him struggling with that brief somehow. Look out for the Svengirlies.

I've never understood the Eriksson affect on the ladies. How does a 61-year-old with a hairline that's disappearing like the Retreat from Moscow and a voice as monotone as Morse code make a woman's knees go weaker than Freddie Flintoff's? I can only assume his chat-up lines are a bit like Summer Nights from Grease: 'Well-a, well-a, well-a!' Swoon!

Sven will be joined by his usual assistant - the unfortunately-named Tord Grip. It always sounds less like a name and more like a product you can use to clean up after your dog when you're talking him on his walkies.

County fans can look forward to the arrival of obscure and exotic visa carriers from far-flung corners of the world who the mighty Swedes will cobble into a pretty useful side. It makes sense that the Magpies are now favourites to go up - Sven and Tord know how to pick a player.

Let's hope for County's sake that it is successful. Eriksson never leaves a club empty-handed. If they need to bring his weekly wage in a security van, then it'll be a security convoy to pay the severance pay, given past experiences.

You can't begrudge County their excitement. It must feel amazing, like that Secret Millionaire drivel on the box when your new best friend turns round and says: "Actually, I'm not some two-bit numpty that's barely alive in a stagnating corner of a once-proud league. No. My real name is Munto Finance and your whole world is about to change." (Cue music and gruff men sobbing).

It's hard not to buy into the romance of the whole thing, to be honest. Yes, it's not that much different from Man City or Chelsea but at least these people have closed their eyes and stuck a pin in Division Two for a change.

Give it three promotions in four years and we'll all be howling that our club could have done the same if the roulette wheel that is football ownership had spun our way. But for now, good luck, Sven. Although if they do hit the Premier League in a decade, it'll still be nowt compared to the achievements of old Jimmy Sirrel.

Of course, this would be the most outlandish story you've ever heard were it not for the suggestion in that most reliable of tabloids that Maradona's going to be Pompey's 'global ambassador'.
That's right Diego Maradona. Argentina's national hero. Convicted drug cheat. Prone to divinely-inspired acts in both foot and cheating little hand. The greatest player the world's seen (outside of Madrid and Manchester of course). Going to Portsmouth.
Really? What next?

Usain Bolt to compete in an egg and spoon race at Acklam Park Comp Sports Day? Monty and Sandy to announce their engagement in matching kilts at the road hole at St Andrews?
Ricky Ponting and Ian Bell
Ricky Ponting to say in a press conference upon hearing news of KP's replacement: "Who? Ian Bell?! NO! Not Belly!! KP, we could just about handle him, but Ian! All that ferocity and flamboyance?... Noooooooooooooooooo!!!"

I thought I'd heard it all when Villa paid 12 million quid for Stewart Downing. Bargain compared to Glen Johnson but £12m. Is he really worth 15% of Cristiano Ronaldo? That much? I like Stewie but I think they've been rooked.

You know we're still supposed to be waist-deep in the credit crunch, and at the moment I can barely credit anything I hear. Owen at United, Lance Armstrong's amazing return in the Tour, Monty Panesar batting for 11 overs, that bloke for Harlequins faking an injury using theatrical blood so they could get a kicking replacement on. And then being the only one at the whole damn club to take the flak for it!

You don't know what to think. The Edgbaston groundsman Steve Rouse has said the Test pitch for next Wednesday is 'like jelly'. Do you know, I wouldn't be surprised if it blinking well was jelly.

They'll take the covers off and there'll be a 22-yard strip of lime jelly. As England's new number four creams one through the covers, there'll be headlines saying 'Jelly Belly'. Mind, you wouldn't want to trifle with Harmy on a bouncy track like that, would you, eh?
If you think that's surreal, let me remind you once again. Sven-Goran Eriksson is the director of football at Notts County. Time for a lie-down.


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