Outside the Box: Eat leaves and shoot rather than hoofing it up the field

 

If the recent scares over quality of meat continue, might there be an increase in the number of footballers becoming vegetarian or even vegan? Should that happen, the Fleetwood Town defender Dean Howell will be saying, "Told you so".

The 32-year-old is one of the few – if not the only – strict vegan in the professional game. Refusing to eat any animal products gives him problems with pre-match meals and lunchtimes at the training ground, but he claims his fitness, flexibility and endurance have all improved.

Reading's Jason Roberts and Everton's Phil Jagielka have said they follow a vegan diet during the season; Neil Robinson, a defender with Everton, Swansea and Grimsby in the late Seventies and early Eighties, was also a vegan who, like Jagielka, will have been interested in last week's news that the catering company who supply Everton have withdrawn beef from their UK sites after one frozen product was found to contain horse DNA.

Robinson, 55, has recently opened a snack bar called Frank ("Honest Snacking") suitable for vegans, confirming his family's reputation for innovation; one of his six siblings is Sir Ken Robinson, a world authority on creativity, now based in Los Angeles, who was formerly professor of education at the University of Warwick.

And is spurning meat and fish good for professional sportsmen? A study two years ago in the respected American journal Current Sports Medicine Reports concluded: "Vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, and nutritarian diets are healthful options for serious athletes. To maximise performance, recovery, endurance and resistance to illness, enhanced intake of beans, greens, seeds, nuts, whole grains and other colourful plant products are recommended."

Away-day returns

They have been crunching a lot of numbers at both the Premier League and Football League offices this past week. The former announced that overall capacity at last weekend's 10 games was an impressive 98.9 per cent; a clever week to do it, as swathes of empty seats are most usually visible at Sunderland, Aston Villa and Wigan, all of whom were away. All three have been around 25 per cent down on capacity at one or more recent games.

The Football League, who are making much of their 125-year history, chose to reveal for some reason that by Wednesday 177,164 League games had been played. The breakdown: approximately half of them home wins, one quarter aways and one quarter drawn.

Avenue of opportunity

An imaginative collaboration between Bradford Park Avenue and the Bradford Bulls rugby league club failed to have the desired effect of significantly increasing attendances on a weekend when some 32,000 of the city's sports fans were heading for London and the Capital One Cup final.

Avenue promised that Bulls fans going to the Super League match against St Helens last Saturday would get into the Blue Square Bet North match against Corby Town earlier in the day for half-price by showing their ticket. The Bulls reciprocated by offering Avenue season-ticket holders entry to the St Helens game for £10.

The grounds are barely a mile apart but the crowd of 8,203 at the Bulls' Provident Stadium was 2,000 down on the opening match of the season. Avenue, who regularly drew bigger attendances than City in the decade before they were voted out of the Football League in 1970, played to just 285 fans.

Youngsters in flare-up

Talking of St Helens, the rugby league ground at Langtree Park also stages Liverpool Under-21 games, one of which is now under investigation by the Football Association's disciplinary department.

A flare was thrown during last Monday's match against Manchester United and a supporter also interrupted play by coming on to the pitch. Two years ago, there was even crowd trouble at an FA Youth Cup game between the clubs, in which both teams finished with nine men.

Tatt's your lot

What would they make of such decadent behaviour in Uzbekistan, where the authorities have banned fans from painting any part of their body, drinking alcohol or – surely most disappointing of all – bringing animals into the ground?

Tattoos were recently described on state television as "one of the elements of pernicious western mass culture". Whether the ban on them applies to players was not immediately clear.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk; twitter.com/@stevetongue

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
News
i100
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little