The Spectator

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The Independent Online

Taxi driving's loss is football's gain, according to Harry Redknapp. Last week he revealed: "We didn't have enough money to just retire when I finished playing, so I thought I'd get into cabbing." His plans changed, but he remains true to his roots; asked who might play him in 'Harry: The Movie', he had no doubts: "Me favourite actor's Ray Winstone. He's a good East End boy." Hmm... that'll be the Ray Winstone who played a football manager in 'Only A Game', which according to its publicity blurb reveals "the seedy and cutthroat dealings of a Premiership club". It all ends in tears in the film, but in the real world it seems unlikely we'll ever be saying: "I had that Harry Redknapp in the front of my cab once."


Number of different European draught beers laid on at the Crown and Anchor pub in Las Vegas for the 30,000 or so Ricky Hatton fans in town for his fight against Floyd Mayweather. Hope they left some for the Hitman; he's known to get a bit thirsty himself.

Initial findings of the week

Research published in this month's 'Psychological Science' magazine is, quite frankly, weird. It indicates that your initial has a statistically significant chance of deciding your life; for instance, a Frank is more likely than, say, a John to live in Fulham, drive a Ford and become a fireman. Where that leaves Liverpool's Xabi Alonso is unclear: does he drive a Citroë* Xsara or play the xylophone, and will he become a Xerox salesman when he stops playing? On the other hand, maybe he doesn't give a XXXX.

Good week for

Victoria Pendleton, won the keirin to earn a third British gold medal at cycling's World Track Cup in Sydney... Kenneth Ferrie, English golfer who won a place on the US Tour with eight birdies in the final qualifying round... and Joe Calzaghe, the world super-middleweight champion who won the 2007 BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year award.

Bad week for

Gavin Henson, Wales rugby union player, out for up to six weeks with a broken hand and interviewed by police after "rowdy" behaviour on a train... War of Attrition, winner of 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup, out for the season after tendon surgery... and Alexandre Vinokourov, Kazakh cyclist, retired after receiving a year's ban for a positive doping test at this year's Tour de France.

Festive season tip of the week

Not booked that Xmas party venue yet? All is not lost if you are prepared to enjoy Christmas at Anfield, where the entertainment includes "special appearances from Liverpool FC legends, with whom you will have the opportunity to have your photograph taken". A few years ago a stripper, complete with can of whipped cream, availed herself of that opportunity with the legendary Jamie Carragher, who was (partially) dressed as the Hunchback of Notre Dame, at the players' fancy-dress Christmas party. But any suggestions that she might have got the hump are far too childish to be discussed here.