Talking a good fight

FOOTBALL DIARY
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The Independent Online
Vinnie Jones, practised at the art of outlining his views to match officials and Football Association disciplinary commissions, faces an altogether different challenge on Monday when he addresses the Oxford Union.

The Welsh international will lecture on his life in the game. "I'm looking forward to speaking at the Oxford Union very much. When you look at the history of the people who have previously addressed the Union [the US presidents Nixon, Carter and Reagan, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Bishop Desmond Tutu etc], it makes you proud to be invited."

One Oxford graduate baffled by the invitation was Auberon Waugh. The editor of the Literary Review said: "Who is this Vinnie Jones? I'm afraid I have never heard of him. He sounds rather like a professional yobbo."

Hold on, Auberon, I thought you said you didn't know him?

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A letter from Manchester City Council might interest one of the diarist's Private Eye colleagues, Richard Ingrams, in his new life with The Oldie. Ellen White was told by the council that her three sons had been identified as being among the lads whose street football had provoked complaints from neighbours about damage to a privet. She was a bit taken aback. Hedge- trimming is pretty much her sons' athletic limit. They are aged 59, 60 and 64.

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Given that Vinnie Jones (or is it Vinny?) seems a little uncertain how to spell his name, I wonder if he's been helping out with BBC Video's publicity. Match Of The Day - Race For The Title, due for release on 29 May, sounds a belter, covering everything from skilful to the scandalous this season for only £10.99. The blurb says it also contains footage of Bruce Grobellar, Brian Roy, Phillipe Albert and Stephen Schwartz. But will the tape be celebrating a title for Blackburn or Manchester Untied, as the Beeb's release calls them?

If Jack Walker wants to replace the butterflies in his stomach with something more substantial when he arrives in Blackburn for Monday's match with Newcastle, he could do worse than call in at Blakey's Caf Bar in the town. On the menu is an item described as "Freshly baked white or wholemeal batons with a choice of fillings, served with garnish". To order, ask for an "Uncle Jack's Wallet (full to bursting)".

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Ken Ferris will today claim a place in the Guinness Book of Records if he makes it to Everton's match against Southampton at Goodison Park and completes his tour of all 93 League grounds in England (including Berwick Rangers) in 237 days. The purpose of his pursuit of Edward Wood's 243- day record is that he is raising money for five charities - NSPCC, Cancer Research, Down's Syndrome Association and the Great Ormond Street and Brompton Hospital Appeals.

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The Bradford City fanzine, City Gent, is publishing Triumph and Tragedy to mark the 10th anniversary of the fire which claimed 56 lives at Valley Parade. It costs £1.50 (including p&p), from 46 Ainsty Rd, Wetherby, LS22 7QS. Proceeds to the Burns Research Unit of Bradford University.

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Two years ago, Graham Dady, a 15-year-old County Park goalkeeper, died after saving a shot. He was the victim of a rare heart disease, and County Park B play Pegasus A in a match to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation on Monday. Kick-off 7.45pm at Aveley FC in Mill Road, Aveley, Essex,.

Poppyescus, Bergonias and Roederdendrons filled the garden, but the Wild Turkey bourbon goes to Gordon Hendry, of Wick, for:

FLORAL XI: Ray Clematis; Sandy Jardin, Gary BcKay, Lobelia Boba (Zaire '74), Trevor Cherry Blossom, Red Hot Coker, Steve Bloomer, Dahlia Atkinson, Jeff Aster, Poppy Robson, Martin Petals.

Next week: Summer XI. Entries to: Team Spirit, Football Diary, Independent, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL, or fax to 0171-293 2894.

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