Simon Redfern: The Spectator

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The Independent Online

You have a 4,000 a head "whip", ban all partners, round up 100 girls, and end a 15-hour drinking session at a boutique hotel. With a Christmas party plan like that, what could possibly go wrong? If any-thing did, Wayne Rooney can't have been involved, because he has just revealed in 'Hello!' that he likes spending his evenings "crashing out and watching TV" while Coleen plans their June wedding. Which hasn't stopped those cynics at offering 12-1 that they will be the first football couple to announce they've split in 2008. Other prices: 11-4 Peter Crouch and Abigail Clancy, 7-2 Frank Lampard and Elen Rives, 9-1 Ashley Cole and Cheryl Tweedy. Place your bets; singles only.


Number of Manchester United players tested by the UK Sport drugs unit on Thursday. Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Carlos Tevez were chosen at random; it is not thought any are using hair-loss products (see Bad Week), but they may have had hairdryer treatment from their manager last week.

Party pooper of the week

Bad behaviour at another football Christmas party led to Oliver Kahn, Bayern Munich's captain, being fined and suspended for one game. His crime? He left too early. "Kahn has to set an example to the younger players. The captain can't leave early," said manager Ottmar Hitzfeld. No problems at the other Manchester United bash last week, the footballer-free staff party attended by Sir Alex Ferguson. Its African theme was much discussed, but fortunately the country in question was Morocco, not Uganda.

Good week for

Ronnie O'Sullivan, regained world No 1 ranking after winning UK Champ-ionship... Brian Ashton, England rugby union coach, awarded long-term contract... Lord Triesman, chosen as new chairman of FA... and Ben Ainslie, won Finn class in Sydney International Regatta to enhance Olympic claim.

Bad week for

Romario, former Brazil striker, banned for 120 days after positive dope test for substance he claimed was in hair-loss product... Kieren Fallon, faces lengthy riding ban after positive dope test in France... Cuba, banned from Caribbean Twenty20 tournament next month because of US embargo... and Lewis Hamilton, received month's driving ban in France after clocking 122mph.

Criminal genius of the week

oh dear, more naughty footballers, this time in the US. A Georgia man has been arrested for allegedly inciting up to 10 members of the Mabry Middle School football team to vandalise Christmas displays by "finding reindeer lawn ornaments and placing them in sexually suggestive positions". According to police, he drove his underage posse around in his Ford Super Dirty truck (yes, really) as they sought out likely targets. So far he has refused to identify his co-conspirators, and nor is it known whether they deployed the Christmas Tree formation as they went about their evil work.