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News & Comment

Outside the Box: Malouda has faith in Ancelotti to keep calm and carry on

As the Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) tweeted only on Friday, "A calm mind helps our human intelligence to assess the situation realistically." Whether anyone at Chelsea is among his one million Twitter followers we can only guess, but "trust" and "calm" are the watchwords in the dressing-room to help steer the club through troubled waters, according to the amiable French midfielder Florent Malouda. Three defeats without scoring in the last four League games, plus the sudden sacking of the popular assistant coach Ray Wilkins, have made Chelsea a suitable case for "crisis" treatment ahead of today's game at Newcastle. But Malouda insists that Carlo Ancelotti is well-equipped to ride the storm. "There's a lot of comments around the team, around the manager, but we stay very calm," he said. "We really trust the manager, he's working very well. He stays really calm and that's experience. He brings calm into the dressing-room. With him we feel the trust – he trusts his players, he gives us the tools to play well." Just a shame they've downed tools quite so often recently.

Brazil has a Korea in politics?

From Buddhist serenity to, er, talkSPORT, and a predictably undiplomatic take on this week's World Cup vote from resident ranter Mike Parry, who suggests that if not awarded the finals for 2018, England should take their ball home and boycott the competition. Just as well that he is no longer working as a spin doctor for the Football Association. As the station's news presenter Faye Carruthers monitors the grave political situation in Korea, Parry's colleague Alan Brazil – never quite as sure-footed in front of the microphone as he was in front of goal for Ipswich, Tottenham and Manchester United – promises: "If there is any update on the shelling, Faye will be in here like a shot."

Seagulls come home to roost

Brighton supporters are not only enjoying their season in League One but are counting down the days to the opening next August of what looks to be a splendid new stadium up the road in Falmer, close to Sussex University. For the second Christmas running, a group of fans have produced a calendar ( www.falmercalendar.co.uk) in which each month is marked by four photographs of how the site looked exactly a year ago that month. "Last year's contained lots of muddy field shots," one of the organisers writes. "This year there is real action." The journey from the old Goldstone Ground via ground-sharing in Gillingham and the current ramshackle Withdean Stadium has been a tortuous one. Now the big hope is that the Seagulls will land at the Amex Community Stadium on 6 August as a Championship side.

Class acts in front of media

Assembled scribes may have found willing post-match interviewees more easily than usual at Vale Park last weekend, when Port Vale's odd-goal victory over Wycombe Wanderers had repercussions for the classroom as well as the upper reaches of the table. Vale's Adam Yates and Gareth Owen are colleagues of the Wycombe pair Kevin Betsy and Matt Bloomfield on a media course at Staffordshire University in Stoke. The programme is run in conjunction with the Professional Footballers' Association with Lawrie Madden, himself a university graduate in the 1970s before serving Charlton, Millwall, Sheffield Wednesday and Wolves, as a lecturer.

Let's draw a Vale over errors

Talking of Port Vale, apologies for a paragraph in last week's column appearing in the wrong place owing to what used to be called "an error in transmission": it was Earl Barrett who was the front man for a consortium that tried to take over Vale in August. And Fort William's latest Highland League match, which was omitted from the results page because of pressure of space, brought defeat by a mere 3-0 to Brora Rangers.