Outside the Box: Oswestry breaking new ground with slot in Champions' League
Sunday 18 July 2010
Those who have not been paying attention to the small print on the results pages may be unaware that not only is a new Champions' League campaign under way, but that this week England will have a new venue for the world's grandest club competition. Joining Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and the Emirates – and beating White Hart Lane to the punch – is The Venue at Park Hall in the Shropshire town of Oswestry (population 15,613). It's the home of Welsh Premier League champions TNS, which now stands for The New Saints (of Llansantffraid and Oswestry) rather than the name immortalised by Jeff Stelling on Sky's 'Soccer Saturday' in his catchphrase: "They'll be dancing in the streets of Total Network Solutions." TNS is a result of the merger of Llansantffraid and Oswestry Town, one of the world's oldest clubs, in 2003. They became The New Saints in 2006 and moved over the border to the new ground in 2007. The year before, in a Champions' League appearance, they had been drawn against the holders Liverpool and put up two commendable performances before losing each leg 3-0, the home game being played at Wrexham. On Tuesday, TNS meet Bohemians of Dublin in the second leg of their second qualifying round tie, having lost the away leg 1-0 last Wednesday.
Journo says Terry's all gold
As it is impossible to watch every game at a World Cup, picking a Best XI from the tournament, while tempting, is tricky; not surprisingly, some unlikely names occur, often based on the selector in question having seen a particular player have one decent game. But hats off for original thinking to South African journalist Mogomotsi Selebi, who decided that Gerard Pique's central defensive partner among the crème de la crème should be none other than Mr Chelsea, John Terry; and that the best right-back at World Cup 2010 was not Philipp Lahm, Sergio Ramos, Maicon or any other deadbeat but, er, Glen Johnson. And the decent game that Mr Selebi must have spotted? We'll get back to you on that one; bit busy at present studying the film of Germany's four goals in Bloemfontein.
Vuvu in a seat near you?
The alarmingly high number of vuvuzelas being carried by passengers on flights from South Africa to Britain (there are now stern warnings about not blowing them during the journey) suggests that the domestic game is in for a noisy season. It does appear that the vuvu is coming to a stadium near you; in very unlucky circumstances, even a seat near you. The Chinese factory that made 90 per cent of the plastic trumpets which created such a din over the past six weeks is convinced that "the market will expand after the World Cup as people from other countries begin to love them". Two salutary tales from Germany on the subject: firstly, one drunken fan began beating a police officer about the head with a vuvuzela; secondly, in Bavaria, a man may be charged after threatening to kill his neighbours with an axe if they did not stop blowing them during a televised game. We have been warned.
Last nine left standing
Last week's final World Cup trivia quiz requested the names of the nine players who managed to progress as far as the quarter-finals, having survived the assault course of at least 20 Premier League games. The last nine standing (or lying injured in Fernando Torres's case) from 108 PL players who went to South Africa were: Torres and Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Dirk Kuyt, John Heitinga and Nigel de Jong (Holland), John Pantsil and Kevin-Prince Boateng (Ghana), Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez (Argentina).
sportLiverpool 5 Norwich City 1: Uruguayan striker has now scored 11 league goals against the club
arts + entsOlivier-nominated actor and singer is set to star in Lloyd Webber's musical about the Profumo affair
filmWith more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain
sportUnder-10s football coach sacked for telling parents he was 'only interested in winning'
techA piece of new hi-tech kit aims to get us scribbling again
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
Latest in Sport
Arsenal 2 Hull City 0 match report: Nicklas Bendtner back in the goals as superb Arsenal march on at the top
Liverpool 5 Norwich City 1 match report: Sublime Luis Suarez tears Norwich apart once again
World Cup 2014 draw: England may suffer as Fifa moves goalposts
David Moyes admits Manchester United face tough task to retain their title
Manchester United 0 Everton 1 match report: David Moyes misery as Roberto Martinez pulls off the elusive victory
- 1 The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
- 2 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 3 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 4 Syrian rebels consider joining forces with regime troops to fight al-Qa’ida
- 5 ‘Put it in my mouth’: Viewers outraged by apparent reference to oral sex in VIP e-cig advert