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McBride's charmed stay with Everton is nearing its end.

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French invasion proves to be boon to England's Premier League.

The naked truth about Nike.

Mad Brit Diary

Goggles are Davids' most glaring feature.

Edgar Davids
Edgar Davids needed special permission from FIFA to wear his goggles.
-- Juventus web site photo --

(Friday, March 7, 2003) -- There are many things to notice about Dutch star Edgar Davids, the aggressive midfielder who plays for the Italian giant Juventus.

For starters, he is arguably one of the best midfielders in the world and his tenacious tackling and never-say-die attitude has earned him the nickname "Pitbull." Then there are the long dreadlocks and the blistering speed. But the most glaring thing about Davids is that he wears tinted wraparound protective goggles.

It might be common in basketball, but it's rare to see a professional soccer player wearing protective glasses, especially a player as prolific as Davids, a three-time European Champions League finalist with Dutch club Ajax and Juventus.

The Mad Brit thought about Davids recently after watching him play in the 3-0 loss to Manchester United in the Champions League. The Mad Brit used to wear prescription goggles to play a few years back in a Sunday League on a team that was more mixed than the United Nations. But the MB turned to contacts after the goggles broke while he was taking a header. Why, thought the MB, doesn't Davids wear contacts? Surely his peripheral vision is affected wearing the goggles.

Well, the 29-year-old midfielder, who is built like a prize fighter, has no choice. He wears the glasses following an operation on his right eye in 1999 for glaucoma -- a disease which can lead to dimmed vision. Davids not only received permission from FIFA, soccer's governing body, to wear the special glasses, he also got the go-ahead to use an eyewash that contains a substance banned under the Olympics doping guidelines which soccer has adopted.

The eyewash is Diamox, made with the drug Acetazolamide A. If Davids was to take a dope test he would certainly fail. And woe to anyone who jokes about Davids' eyewear. Dutch defender Jaap Stam -- a good seven inches taller than Davids -- is reported to have commented in the locker room: "Come on Edgar, were playing football, you haven't got time to go skiing." Davids' angry response is unprintable here.

Many players in soccer wear contacts, including American goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who without them couldn't see past the six-yard box. And recently, short-sighted Chelsea striker William Gallas became the first player to wear goggles in an English game after doctors advised him against wearing contacts because of an eye infection.

Americans get a chance to see Davids when Juventus takes on Manchester United at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on July 31.

OK who's the nasty twit out there?

Newcastle United coach Sir Bobby Robson is pleading with the thieves who ran off with 12 caps he earned playing for England. "They are irreplaceable," Robson told The People newspaper. "I'm distraught about it. For two days, I could hardly sleep."

Many years ago, it was a tradition in England, that schoolboy-type caps were given to players who played for their country. The teams' names were embrodied into the cap. The tradition faded as it became to expensive.

The former England coach, who played 20 times for his country between 1958 and 1962, never won a Cup or a championship as a player. The caps were the only honors he ever won. "I felt all the things I'd worked for in my playing career had been stolen," he said. "I have other memorabilia but he's taken my caps away."

Robson's house was burglarized in October 2001. At the time, he thought only a porcelain collection was taken. However, last month Robson decided to search for his caps to move them to Newcastle for safe keeping and realized the caps had been stolen.

Robson, who has led Newcastle to third in the Premier League, is appealing to the thief to return the caps. "If the thief still has them, he could make me happy by just leaving them on top of my garden shed," said Robson.

Just make sure The Mad Brit doesn't get hold of the lowdown, spineless, thieving moron. The head of England's Football Association said special caps could be made for Robson if the originals aren't returned.

McBride too expensive

Premier League club Everton is reluctant to pay Major League Soccer $2.5 million for a full transfer of on-loan Columbus Crew striker Brian McBride. Everton coach David Moyes might be willing to cough up $1.1 million for the American whose three-month loan ends after the Toffees' game at league champion and current leader Arsenal on March 23.

"No disrespect to Brian, but we wouldn't want to spend too much money on a 30-year-old and he knows that. We have told him that from the start," Moyes told the local Liverpool media.

Leave the wives at home

When England travels to the Spanish resort of La Manga at the end of May, captain David Beckham will have to pay for his wife Victoria and sons Brooklyn and Romeo to join him at the camp. The Football Association is trying to save money and will only pay for the players' expenses.

The Mad Brit is really crying about this. These famous millionaires will be staying at a wonderful resort doing the thing they love the most -- play footie. What more do they want?. If you want your wife and kids on the trip, then pay the bloody bill.

Tickets anyone?

So what's the cheapest ticket to see a Premier League game these days? Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers offer the best deal at $24. Chelsea's cheapest ticket is a whopping $44. The highest-price ticket you can buy for an Arsenal game will cost $87. Manchester United, which has few game tickets on sale, charges between $33-46.

Odds and ends

Ronaldo and Hamm
Ronaldo and Mia Hamm: 2002 World "Footballers of the Year."
-- FIFA web site photo --

Brazil's World Cup final hero Ronaldo has been accused of being overweight and lacking passion. However, the 2002 European and World "Footballer of the Year," who has scored 13 goals in the league and one in the Champions League, notched a hat-trick in Real Madrid's 5-1 crushing of Alaves last Saturday.

Congrats to Raul, who broke Hugo Sanchez's career goal-scoring record at Real. Raul added a pair of goals in the 5-1 defeat of Alaves and now has 204.

Heard a rumor, have a gripe or a tip? Feeling lonely? E-mail the Mad Brit at

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