Up, up and away

DIVING has caused arguments among football fans for years – but now Town striker Shefki Kuqi has lifted it to new heights . . . and given Joe Royle a massive headache.

DIVING has caused arguments among football fans for years – but now Town striker Shefki Kuqi has lifted it to new heights . . . and given Joe Royle a massive headache.

The 27-year-old Finnish international showed on Saturday that he's able to rival Greg Louganis when it comes to doing a swallow dive.

But boss Royle was left unimpressed, fearing he could cause himself serious injury.

Shefki's dives provided the most iconic images of Saturday's astonishing match at Portman Road.


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And there's clearly something about the shirt that gives its inspiration to the great divers – Hermann Hriedarsson was wearing number 32 when he launched himself into the North Stand after he thought he scored against Bradford City in early 2001.

That landed him in hot water with the FA – a woman fan was injured when he landed on top of her – and ironically he even had the goal taken away from him . . . it was later credited to loanee Mark Burchill.

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But no one else was in danger from Shefki's dives on Saturday – although his claims that he didn't put himself at risk wasn't cutting much ice with his boss.

"There's no danger. I come down on my hands and I must have done it around 100 he times," he insisted after the match.

He said he started diving during swimming – and saw no reason not to continue with it on the football pitch!

But at six foot two inches tall and weighing more than 13 stone, Royle is worried that the striker could seriously hurt himself – or even trigger a small earthquake every time he scores!

And his antics have encouraged some photographers to take diving mark boards along to future matches.

Most agreed that his dives were better than Hermann's because he managed to stay on the pitch and not cause any injury – and he doesn't look like getting into trouble with anyone outside the club!

Meanwhile the Blues' great rivals from the other end of the A140 found themselves embroiled in a more usual diving controversy.

New striker Darren Huckerby was accused of diving to earn his side a penalty just before half time during their match at Rotherham.

He was approached by Rotherham boss Ronnie Moore as the teams left the field at half time and there was also a rumpus in the tunnel.

In the end the two sides played out a 4-4 draw.

This result – coupled with the match at Portman Road – prompted commentators to speculate that a future quiz question could be: What did Rotherham, Norwich and Crewe have in common on January 17?

They all scored four goals and failed to win!

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