Outside the Box: Pulis and Beattie go head to head in Hell's Kitchen

Sparks should fly in Hell's Kitchen at the Britannia Stadium on 10 March, when Tony Pulis and James Beattie, last weekend's combatants after the Arsenal-Stoke game, are the advertised star guests in a cooking event with Marco Pierre White, who these days has to be preceded by the moniker "TV chef".

Tickets will be almost worth the advertised £185 plus VAT if Beattie has by then parted company with the club on what will presumably be less than amicable terms. Coming soon? QPR's Flavio Briatore and Jim Magilton cook off in a new reality TV programme: "If You Can't Stand The Heat..."

Schools out for summer

If England were to succeed with their bid for the 2018 World Cup, would all schools be closed for the duration? That is what will happen in South Africa next June, when the winter holiday period is being extended "to prevent pupil and teacher absenteeism during the matches, as well as lighten the load on the public transport system". Term will end on 9 June, two days before the opening match between South Africa and Mexico, and schools do not return until 13 July, two days after the final. Private schools have even amended their usual four-term system to three terms to comply with the request from the tournament's Local Organising Committee and the Transport Department. Meanwhile a happy result of the worldwide recession is the prospect of more tickets being made available to ordinary supporters because the corporate market is feeling the financial draught. Official sponsors are entitled to buy a staggering 550,000 tickets of the three million available.

Put your shirt on Amnesty

Supporters who feel they might possibly be able to do without one or more of the replica shirts lying in the bottom drawer are being urged to donate them to South African children and adults in advance of the World Cup. The campaign, Amnesty Strip, aims to collect as many shirts as possible over a two-month period. Although currently centered on the Midlands, it is hoping to expand with the assistance of clubs in the North and South, who will arrange collection points. More information at www.stripamnesty.org

The Big Fort are on the up

Never mind the so-called big four, there have been dramatic developments among the little three of the Highland League, where our old friends Fort William – one win in the past two seasons – are threatening a campaign of almost unprecedented success. A 4-1 defeat by Strathspey Thistle, fellow members of the less-than-golden triangle, sent the Fort back to a familiar position on the bottom of the table, which they have occupied for the past four seasons. But in a thrilling return game, fortunes were reversed by a 2-1 win, all three goals coming in the last six minutes. This second triumph of the season – and it is not even Christmas – took them to six points, above not only the Thistle (five) but also Rothes (four). Whisper it, but the recent high point of 2006-7 (three wins in a single season) is in sight.

s.tongue@ independent .co.uk

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