Outside the Box: Wembley farce means life's a pitch for Vase finalists

Pity the finalists in the FA Vase (Whitley Bay and Wroxham), the Blue Square play-offs and the League Two play-offs. They are the unfortunates who must play the biggest match of their season (or their history) on Wembley's horrible pitch the day after an even more important fixture has taken place; namely the FA Trophy final, FA Cup final and League One play-off. And all that within the space of three weeks. Even England have to play their penultimate World Cup warm-up match against Mexico two days after the Championship play-off final.

Ram speed

An unusual venue for Derby County's pre-match press conference ahead of yesterday's game against Crystal Palace: platform six at the local railway station, where a new locomotive, "Derby County", was christened. It is the second train to be named after the club, the first, a steam engine, having run from 1936 to 1959. Football teams have proved popular names for locos in the past, especially those on the east coast main line of the old London and North Eastern Railway region; hence Darlington and Doncaster being honoured as well as more celebrated clubs. Manchester United refuseniks will be pleased to know their handsome LNER No 2862, built at Darlington, was in green and gold. Once the steam engines disappeared, some clubs salvaged the nameplate; Norwich's and Tottenham's are both on display at their grounds.

More athletic than Fulham

Forgive Oldham Athletic's players from two decades back if they aren't overly impressed with talk of such supposedly gruelling seasons as Fulham's. A book published this week reminds us that Joe Royle's side played 65 League and cup matches in 1989-90. Seven players appeared in 60 or more and defender Earl Barrett was an ever-present. Local journalist Tony Bugby has called his book 'Pinch Me Not' (Daniel Publishing, £14.99) in recognition of how fans used to say they were pinching themselves as their club reached the Littlewoods Cup final and FA Cup semi-final in the same spring.

Boing Boings to yo-yo?

West Bromwich Albion have turned down Sandwell Council's offer of a civic reception to mark promotion. The official reason was that there were three remaining home games left to celebrate with their supporters. Perhaps there is also a growing recognition that the hard bit is only just beginning; in four previous seasons in the Premier League, Albion have avoided relegation once (by a single point after the Great Escape of 2005). Those hard-headed, hard-hearted bookies are not optimistic this time either: Ladbrokes say 4-6 to go down, 11-10 to stay up.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
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

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape