Football: Diary

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THE GREAT England debate is blowing up into a raging controversy. Anderton or Beckham? Baked beans or no baked beans? The Football Association, concerned that every small boy's favourite snack contains too much sugar, have banned the bean from the team's hotel, though other nutritional experts believe that could jeopardise the team's chance of blasting their way to victory on 12 July. Bupa's Jane Edmond, said: "They are an excellent source of goodness and energy." Lisa Pearce, of Loughborough University, added: "Baked beans fit in well with a healthy diet because they are high in carbohydrate, low in fat and full of protein." Into the controversy stepped Roger Hunt, a winner with England in 1966 and a firm advocate of bean-power. "I ate beans," he declared. "Back then diets were not as important as they are now, although we are careful about what we ate." The decision has caused amazement among Heinz officials who also emphasised the health value of baked beans and who have won awards for reducing the sugar content by a fifth to around six per cent.

AN ENGLISH fan is threatening legal action against Fifa because Patrick Kluivert's sending-off against Belgium cost him his chance of first prize in a fantasy football competition. The fan has written to the governing body "in legal terms" making an official complaint because the Dutch striker will miss two games. Keith Cooper, the Fifa spokesman, said: "We have to take this semi-seriously as he is threatening action against us." Competitors win points depending on how players in their `fantasy' teams perform in real matches and the fan has told the game's governing body he lost the chance of winning the pounds 60,000 first prize when Kluivert was banned for two games.

ENGLAND are enjoying themselves at the media's expense by competing to see how many song titles they can drop into interviews. Any player put before the cameras is given the name of a pop artist and has to slip as many song titles into the interview as possible. "It's funny to watch the players visibly relax once they have managed to work a title into the interview" Gareth Southgate said. Alan Shearer was delighted to use "Against All Odds" on camera while Southgate, given Wham or George Michael as his artist, described the team's headquarters in La Baule as "not exactly `Club Tropicana'" while later, in a warning about leaking team selections, he slipped in "Careless Whisper". Tony Adams is the record holder with four titles in a single interview.