Relations between Leeds United and Derby, which as the book and film of The Damned United pointed out, have rarely been harmonious, seem unlikely to improve in the immediate future after last week's fixture at Elland Road. Nigel Clough, whose late father made no secret of his loathing for the club he managed for 44 days, had wanted to watch the game from the directors' box but was banned because he was wearing a tracksuit; not unreasonable attire for a football manager. Steve Bruce, Sunderland's manager, fell foul of the same dress code when he dared to turn up without a tie for the Carling Cup tie against Lincoln in midweek. Word reaches us that Derby officials are considering reprisals for the return fixture, when they could unveil a little-known regulation banning white-bearded septuagenarian chairmen from their boardroom. Father Christmas will be allowed in.
Move heaven and turf
Chesterfield's Saltergate, a stadium which looked so 1970s that it doubled for the Baseball Ground in the filming of The Damned United, is no more, the club having now played their first games at the new BNet Stadium. Fans already feeling nostalgic for their former home can visit a pub in the Brampton area of the town called the Rose & Crown, which now has Saltergate turf laid in its beer garden and seats from the main stand, which are reached by passing through the old match-day turnstiles. Meanwhile a local jeweller, Stuart Bradley, is offering a reward of £2,000 for information leading to the recovery of a special replica jewel that was presented to Chesterfield as a memento of their appearance in the 1997 FA Cup semi-final, when they were cruelly denied a place at Wembley by Middlesbrough and referee David Elleray. It is a 9ct white gold jewel, set with sapphires and diamonds, specially crafted by Bradley. The club programme says it "mysteriously disappeared" from the Saltergate trophy cabinet 10 years ago "and has not been heard of since".
Extra special Sky
The name of Chesterfield's stadium is one of many items that need updating in the football yearbook that many still refer to as Rothmans, even though the last eight editions having been under the patronage of Sky Sports. The panic in putting the 40th edition together at the end of a World Cup season can only be imagined, although Chelsea supporters may still be surprised to learn (on page 134) that their team finished as runners-up in the Premier League last season. The daily milestones section of the 1,056-page whopper has been expanded this year, albeit into what reads like a series of crossword clues: "RM may be in Man C unrest mix" and "S Cup: Livi held in reprise". The main recommendation of the Editorial comment, which can be equally tortuous, is having indefinite extra-time instead of penalty shoot-outs on the basis that "continued play is good enough for tennis players" (this in the year that a singles match at Wimbledon lasted 11 hours). On the plus side, old boys' football and the University of London league tables have disappeared at last, and one useful innovation that could catch on is in the principal league tables, which include a P or R in brackets next to the name of all promoted and relegated clubs.
How long until we are all studying our football books on an ebook reader weighing rather less than the Sky Sports Football Yearbook? A new Kindle reader launches this month and according to the website The Sports Bookshelf ( www.thesportsbookshelf.com) United States analysts predict that ebook sales could overtake paperback sales on Amazon within 12 months. And the football title that the man on the commuter train is most likely to be reading? Apparently it is Chris Kamara's Mr Unbelievable, which can be downloaded for £8.07.