Outside The Box: All bets are off even if you're in a non-league of your own

 

With Fleetwood Town and Wrexham so far ahead of the rest in the Blue Square Bet Premier, it would clearly be unjust if one of them missed out on promotion to the Football League. But as we know from the history of play-offs, it could easily happen.

After yesterday's games Fleetwood have 95 points and Wrexham 86 with two games in hand, but only one will be promoted automatically; which of them that it may be decided when they meet at Fleetwood on 10 April. Mansfield Town, in third place, are 24 points behind the leaders after losing 2-0 to them yesterday. The nearest comparable example concerns Hereford United, who in 2004 finished 17 points ahead of local rivals Shrewsbury Town but then lost to fifth-placed Aldershot on penalties in the play-off semi-final because away goals didn't count. In the League, Ipswich Town felt hard done by after finishing third in the Championship in 2005, 12 points ahead of West Ham, only to lose to them in the semi-final with two goals by Bobby Zamora, who also scored in the final to win promotion.

Don't draw Vale over Sproson

The six parties allegedly interested in buying Port Vale, who are now in administration, will doubtless be a little alarmed if their due diligence goes deep enough to discover that the club's squad includes a 52-year-old; No 50 is Phil Sproson, who turned out more than 500 times for them in the Eighties and is nephew of Vale legend Roy Sproson, holder of the club's appearance record with 842 games. Vale Supporters' Club paid for young Phil to have a squad number on the basis that it was good to have a Sproson around. "I don't think I'll get a game, maybe just come on for a corner or two," he said. But if the present crisis continues, who knows?

Subbuteo on a winning streak

Football fans of a certain age can relive their youth at Hamleys toy store in London on Tuesday when Subbuteo is revived after a 15-year break from production. Patented in 1947, the game now includes such modern accoutrements as streakers while players are made of durable rubber rather than the plastic or cardboard that meant serious damage if inadvertently knelt upon. The Table Football World Cup will be held at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium in July with Subbuteo as a sponsor.

The only way is back in time

Anyone who remembers Chelmsford City reaching the second round of the FA Cup for the past two seasons must have been intrigued by last week's news that as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Chelmsford is to become, er, a city. So were club officials not a little ahead of themselves to have come up with the present name back in 1938? Apparently the chairman and vice-chairman at the time were under the impression that it already was a city as it had a cathedral. Not so. Essex rivals Colchester and Southend were among 22 "towns" piqued to have been passed over for the honour last week. Other clubs who could have adopted a City tag if chosen included Reading, Bournemouth and Middlesbrough. They wouldn't sound right, though, which may be why Preston, Wolves and Brighton stuck with their appendages after being awarded city status earlier in the decade. It took some of us a while to adapt to Swansea Town becoming Swansea City after being honoured back in 1969, to mark Prince Charles's investiture as the Prince of Wales.

One thing Leeds to another

In the aftermath of Leeds United's 7-3 home defeat by Nottingham Forest last Tuesday, the question was asked in the press room if anyone – other than Leeds – had ever scored seven at Elland Road. After much stroking of chins and furrowing of brows an answer was found: "Hunslet". The rugby league club shared the venue in the 1980s.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk

www.twitter.com/@stevetongue

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own