john macphail

MacPhail's World Cup connection

by Stuart Vose

Ex-Sunderland man cheering on old friend this weekend.

Former Sunderland man John MacPhail will be cheering on a former team-mate when he sits down to watch the World Cup Final on Sunday.

The Scot has a close connection with current Argentinian head coach Alejandro Sabella, with the pair having played together at Sheffield United in the late Seventies and early Eighties.

They were also next-door neighbours during that time and MacPhail, 58, will be cheering on his former colleague when the Argentines face Germany in the iconic Maracana Stadium.

“Alex and I used to live next door to each other while we were at Sheffield United and I would take him to the ground every day,” said MacPhail, who made 130 league appearances for Sunderland.

“He was a real family man. Good luck to him and I hope they do well.”

Argentina will face a powerhouse German side who demolished hosts Brazil in the semi-finals, winning 7-1.

Sabella's side, meanwhile, emerged from a close game against the Netherlands, prevailing on penalties.

And MacPhail is backing the South American side to pull off a victory under the guidance of a man he says had genius qualities as a player.

“I fancy them to win, actually, after getting through a tough game against Holland," he said. They have some real quality.

“People always ask me who was the best player I played with, and I always tell them Sabella.

“He was like a Maradona – all left foot and you couldn't get the ball off him. He had good pace and was always two moves ahead of everyone else.

“I think Alejandro looks very relaxed and calm on the sidelines and I think Argentina can go on and win the World Cup.”