Tap up and move on!

KEITH BRADFORD -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:06 AM ET

We've seen a resurgence of racism and hooliganism.

Not to mention allegations of corruption and match-fixing.

And now "tapping up" (known as "tampering" in North America) is getting almost as much black ink as David Beckham's (alleged) affairs and Wayne Rooney's (admitted) encounters with ladies of the night.

But as the season draws to a close with two defensive-minded teams set to bore us to death in the Champions League final, there's no sense getting negative.

As Real Madrid's Ronaldo put it after splitting with Brazilian model Daniella Cicarelli, "now it's time to move the ball ahead."

So with that in, er ... mind, here's a recap of some of the highlights of 2004-05.

BEST (AND WORST) QUOTE: "There's God, then there's me." Which, in a nutshell, is all you need to know about Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho. Or want to know.

RUNNER-UP: "(I need to) calm me Geordie accent down and make me talk slower so as people can understand us."

- Former England midfielder Paul (Gazza) Gascoigne quoted in the Sunday Times before taking elocution lessons.

"I miss the crack in the dressing room. It was brilliant, that."

- Gazza opens his heart to the News of the World. After taking elocution lessons.

PLEASURE IS PAIN: Servette's Paulo Diogo jumped up on to a metal perimeter fence to celebrate a goal in front of his fans. Only to get his wedding ring caught in the fence - and jump down missing part of his ring finger.

RUNNERS-UP: Those poor fans who got a bird's-eye view of Zambia's win over Congo by climbing onto a lighting pylon. And who then saw it collapse under their weight after they began jumping up and down to celebrate a goal. As if that wasn't bad enough, the collapsed pylon dislodged a bee hive and a swarm of angry bees began attacking them.

MOTIVATE, INSPIRE: How do you deal with millionaire players? The late, great Brian Clough, who died last September, said it best: "We talk about it for 20 minutes and then we decide I was right."

RUNNER-UP: "My magic words at half-time were f---, b-------, b-----, c--- and p--- poor."

- Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy gives the BBC an insight into his half-time talk to his team.

TEAM AND PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Barcelona. Ronaldinho. Without question.

RUNNERS-UP: CSKA Moscow - not for blazing a trail through Europe, but for persuading Brazilian star Vagner Love that the beaches in Moscow really do compare. And Love - for playing like a star, instead of someone who's just paid like a star. And freezing to death.

WORST TEAM, PLAYER: Real Madrid - for being the poster-boys for overindulgence. And not being a team. Jonathan Woodgate, Real Madrid - the most expensive player never to make his debut.

RUNNERS-UP: Manchester United - for sending my beloved Southampton into the fizzy pop league (OK, so I'm biased). Wayne Rooney - not the worst player, but he may just be the most overrated. And annoying.

VISION FOR THE FUTURE: "We are delighted to make this offer to acquire one of the pre-eminent football clubs in the world. We are long-term sports investors and avid Manchester United fans."

- Joel Glazer, son of Malcolm, shows his lack of respect for United fans.

RUNNER-UP: "You talk to women about footballers and what do they like - they like legs and our shorts are getting longer. We should go back to the days when half your a--- was hanging out."

- QPR boss Ian Holloway. Who has less money than Glazer. But makes about as much sense.


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