Outside Edge

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The Independent Online

Footballers are never slow to criticise referees, but the QPR defender Bob Malcolm, when on loan from Derby, has achieved a probable first by blaming official Steve Bratt for his motoring misdemeanours. Malcolm was found asleep at the wheel of his Range Rover, which was "parked" across the middle and fast lanes of the M1, on 27 December, and when tested was well over the drink/drive limit. In court last week, he claimed Bratt's decision to allow Plymouth an injury-time winner against QPR on Boxing Day had driven him to drink. Perhaps football folk should avoid Range Rovers; when Kevin Keegan fell asleep in his some years ago, albeit in a lay-by, he was attacked by thugs with baseball bats.


Number of 'Sunderland Echo' readers who, in answer to a poll asking them who they thought should be the next Newcastle United manager, answered: "Mickey Mouse". Mighty Mouse, Mickey Mouse... it's an easy mistake to make.

Four-legged friends of the week

One of the army of people who deal with our bulging postbags passes over a letter from the British Greyhound Racing Board. Apparently tonight is their black tie awards ceremony (surely black tie and tails?), and there is a "nail-biting head to head" between Spiridon Louis and Barnfield On Air for the Greyhound of the Year title. The original Spiridon Louis was the Greek winner of the marathon at the 1896 Athens Games; perhaps the board should lobby for dog racing to be included in the Olympics.

Good week for

Jamie Collins led Havant & Waterlooville to become the onlynon-League club in the fourth round of the FA Cup... Lewis Hamilton, signed a new five-year contract with McLaren... Geoff Miller, named as the new chief selector of the England cricket team... and Kristan Bromley from Sheffield, won his third European bob skeleton title in Cesana, Italy.

Bad week for

Andy Murray, British No 1, knocked out of Australian Open in first round by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, world No 38... Oscar Pistorius, disabled 400m runner, barred from competing in full Olympics after a ruling that his prosthetic blades gave him an unfair advantage... Alan Shearer, Toon hero, told by Newcastle not to bother to apply for the manager's job... and Great Leighs, Britain's first new racecourse for 80 years, forced to postpone its opening date in Essex yet again.

Sledger of the week

The third Australia-India Test seemed less vocal than average, following the three-Test ban meted out to India's Harbhajan Singh for verbals during the previous Test. Could have been worse, though; the 'Church Times' reports that Kimberley Institute Cricket Club have just lifted a 70-year ban on the Rev Dennis Hibbert, a retired vicar, imposed when as a lad he jeered a misfield in 1938. He turned up for a funeral tea in the pavilion to be reminded the ban was still in force, but said: "I've been purged of my sins and admitted back." Perhaps the club will add a fatted calf to the menu at the next tea.