Pleat backs a hunch, Razor sharp as ever, ROG demoted and the rest.

ASH RATED
For many years, Dennis Irwin was comfortably the Premier League’s most sung unsung hero. Now, in Hull’s Ian Ashby, could Paul Merson have found a successor?

“He’s very, very underrated and it’s right he gets the accolades he gets.”

QUEEN’S ENGLISH
The editing gig on Carra: My Autobiography was the job nobody wanted:

“It’s been three or four years since Chelsea have been beated.”

COMPLEAT GUESSWORK
As a white-loafer clad manager, David Pleat’s approach to the game was fiendishly simple: “A game is not won until it is lost.” And he’s since brought that clarity of thought to his work on ITV. Sensing a tactical reshuffle on the cards during Fenerbahce-Arsenal, David’s powers of deduction immediately went to work:

“I’m sure they’re going to bring on a couple of substitutes, probably from the bench.”

RAZOR SHARP
Of course in Ray Houghton, we have our own full-time stater of the obvious. Working in his ambassadorial role on Channel Five midweek, Ray was quick to put his finger on Spurs’ problems:

“At one end you have not to concede and at the other you’ve got to score.”

WHAT ARE THE ODDS?
Chris Kamara brought word of a lucky break for Everton at the weekend:

“They needed half-time desperately and they got it.”

TIME ON HIS HANDS
Unimpressed Malmo coach Roland Nilsson this week took his keeper Dusan Melicharek to task for making obscene gestures to opposition fans:

“He was playing with himself for over 30 seconds. That’s a long time when it comes to these things.”

HERE WE GO AGAIN
Disappointment for Ronan O’Gara and Brian O’Driscoll last week with the news they’ve been relegated from the official list of great players, a list it seems even Billo is tired of hearing:

“We have Padraig Harrington, Tiger Woods, Johnny Murtagh, Ruby Walsh… let me finish Bill… Henry Shefflin…”

WAYNE’S WORLD CLASS
Better news for Wayne Rooney though, who seems to have once more displaced Tomas Rosicky from Eamo’s list of “real players”:

“I thought when I first saw him he was as good as Pele and I wouldn’t recoil from that.”

LEADING QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Billo: “John, how depressed are you that Mascherano is playing?”

OUT OF HIS DEPTH
He’s beaten many an addiction in his time, but the Merse will never shake his fondness for fish:

“David Nugent tore up the Championship but he’s gone to Portsmouth and he’s a fish up a tree.”

CHANGING TIMES
\’Arry Redknapp, May, 2008: “It wouldn’t make an ounce of difference who came in for me now. This is where I belong and this is where I want to finish… I couldn’t have lived with myself. There would have been a massive sense of betrayal.”

STAYING ON MESSAGE
Merse on Sunderland-Newcastle: “To be honest, I don’t give a \’oot about this.”
Jeff Stelling: “Well it’s live on Sky Sports so we all give a hoot.”

Spotter’s badges to Sid Sinclair and David Shonfield