Former Welsh international Ivor Powell has announced what many will consider his premature retirement from coaching, aged only 93. Having originally signed for QPR in 1934, and moved to Aston Villa, he was player-coach for Port Vale and Bradford City, then managed Carlisle United from 1960, achieving promotion from the Fourth Division two years later. He later coached under Don Revie at Leeds, as well as at Bristol City and in Greece. Since 1972 he has worked at Bath University, helping to guide the now disbanded Team Bath into the first round of the FA Cup. On his 90th birthday, in July 2006, he was installed in the 'Guinness Book of Records' as the world's oldest working football coach. Naturally, he will not be able to keep away in so-called retirement and is promising from time to time to "put on my boots and pop in to keep an eye on things".
No stabilisers for Rooney
Should any of the current England squad not wish to stay in football until quite such a distinguished age, the UK Talent Team, which works to identify and develop sporting talent, has suggested other areas in which they might excel. The Team's Ian Yates suggests handball for David James, with his "long limbs and brilliant reactions", canoeing as a K2 pair for Michael Dawson and Ledley King with their "good core stability" and rowing for their powerfully built club-mate Tom Huddlestone. Joe Cole, who claimed to be the fittest all-rounder in recent tests at Chelsea, could simply transfer to a midfield hockey player; volleyball is the obvious choice for Peter Crouch; and the suggestion for Wayne Rooney's manic energy is cycling, for which, we are told, "explosive power, speed and natural aggression would equip him well".
The golden generation
A firm that buys gold for cash has pointed out that the trophy which will be handed over to the winning World Cup captain in Johannesburg on 11 July is technically worth twice what it was at the last tournament in 2006. Cash4Gold reckon that the "melt value" has risen in four years from £65,000 to £126,500 and is continuing to increase after gold hit a new high last week. When it was commissioned for the 1974 competition, the trophy was valued at a mere £17,000. But let us not give anyone ideas. Although South Africa will have 44,000 police on duty, they don't have the black-and-white mongrel Pickles (sadly long departed to Doggie Heaven) to find a stolen trophy, as he did from behind a hedge in South London in 1966. It had disappeared, bizarrely, from an exhibition of rare stamps in Westminster Central Hall and the culprit was never caught.
The class of 2010
And as World Cup trivia will be all the rage over the next few weeks, here's one to start with: which two members of England's provisional squad of 30 went to the same London school but narrowly missed playing for the same club when one headed north just as the other arrived? Answer next week.