Outside the Box: Police must think outside the ox to solve pink-paint mystery

With a large whisky and a blast of Wagner, Oxford's most celebrated detective, Inspector Morse, would doubtless have wrapped up the case at the same time as knocking off the Times crossword.

Alas, the great man is no longer with us to solve the mystery of the pink-painted statue that is bewildering Thames Valley police. A £25,000 ox sculpture, which has stood outside Oxford United's Kassam Stadium since 2008, was last weekend covered in pink paint, with the words "Gotta love art" and "RIP" daubed on its marble plinth.

A police spokesman admitted to Outside the (B)ox that there has been little progress in the investigation: "We are studying CCTV footage and appealing for witnesses."

Football-related vandalism has also been ruled out and one former director said: "It could have been worse. We could have had someone travelling up from Swindon and painting it red and white." Best not to put ideas into their heads. The club have decided to respond by passing round the bucket at their next two home games in order to raise funds for the Abingdon-based charity Against Breast Cancer.

Ref is United's lucky omen

London-based Liverpool supporters returning to Euston Station after last Saturday's game at Wolverhampton were surprised to see the Stoke City coach disgorging players for the 90-minute return journey to the Potteries after a 2-0 defeat at Fulham.

But clubs are increasingly preferring to let the train take the strain. Arsenal chartered one for a swift return from their recent FA Cup replay at Leeds and Manchester United's superstars are regularly to be found waiting on platforms at Macclesfield or Stockport hoping there are no delays on the Virgin service to London. Once they get there, United are doubtless delighted whenever they find that the referee is Peter Walton.

After last Tuesday's 3-2 win at Blackpool, when the home team were furious at having a penalty claim refused for Rafael's clumsy challenge on Luke Varney, Walton has apparently now been in charge of 18 United games – and they have lost none.

Bent's gone for a song

Just as well for the supposedly traitorous Darren Bent that his new club, Aston Villa, have already played his old one, Sunderland, twice this season (the Wearsiders winning both games 1-0, as it happened).

He might just have found that his former supporters had changed their tune, and their words, from those he quoted with such pride in this season's Kick It Out magazine: "They sing a song about me being fast as lightning and dynamite, which is pretty cool."

More Spurs v West Ham

On the other hand, the fixture list still has a spicy little game between Tottenham and West Ham inked in for Saturday 19 March, just around the time that the Government and the Mayor of London are due to have a final say on who takes over the Olympic Stadium after 2012.

As a Chelsea fan suggested on Twitter last week, perhaps the winners should take all.

England friendly will be turn-off

Sky Sports will broadcast the Spurs-West Ham game live, assuming they find a new co-commentator for the evergreen Martin Tyler.

Rivals ESPN have set an interesting precedent by allowing viewers to choose which match is shown on Wednesday week: a poll at www.espn.co.uk/tv offers the choice of France against Brazil or Germany against Italy. Both of which, it may be felt, present a tempting alternative to ITV's coverage the same night of the friendly between Denmark and England.

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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
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

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine