Sport

Villa are relegation candidates

When Aston Villa lost 1-0 at home to Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, their manager’s reaction was telling. At least, said Paul Lambert, they had worked hard. Given that last season Villa had the seventh-highest wage bill in the league, owner Randy Lerner may feel entitled to more than hard work. After a lucky 1-1 draw against Swansea, Lambert said: “We are not in a relegation fight”. As they are four points off the drop zone and averaging less than a point a game at home, others may feel differently.

Malbranque hat-trick piles on frustration for ragged Charlton

Fulham 3 Charlton Athletic 0

Half-Term Report: Charlton

Devlin spot on for Bruce

Birmingham City 1 Charlton Athletic 1

Foé puts the brakes on flying Charlton

Charlton Athletic 2 Manchester City 2

Valley high, Houllier low

Charlton Athletic 2 Liverpool 0

Radzinski shows Everton dizzy heights

Everton 1 Charlton Athletic 0

Rufus steals thunder from Cole and Co

West Ham United 0 Charlton Athletic 2

Network: New Media - Help! We need an angel to rescue our hard drives

APOLOGIES TO regular readers for the absence of a column last week, but the demon of hard drives decided it was time to strike my long- suffering lap-top. And what a hellish experience it was; I'm still trying to get the damned thing fixed. The repair people took away my lifeline, twiddled with her insides and spat her back out at me with no software at all, and years of hard work gone for ever.

Football: Gregory refuses to take vow of silence

JOHN GREGORY has declined a request to write to the Football Association promising not to repeat making adverse comments to match officials in the future.

Football: That was the weekend that was: RUMOURS: Sutton 'to be sacrificed'

CHELSEA COULD be about to lose two members of their star-studded squad, one by their own design. The Sunday Mirror says Chelsea are ready to cut their losses on striker Chris Sutton after his abysmal run of two goals in 17 matches, with plans to sell the former Blackburn Rovers man for half the pounds 10m they paid if he fails to click by Christmas. Meanwhile, according to the Mail on Sunday, the frustration of being left out is testing Roberto Di Matteo's patience. They say he will look elsewhere if manager Gianluca Vialli does not give him a role against former club Lazio in the Champions' League tomorrow.

Football: Curbishley plea for the defence

ALAN CURBISHLEY, the Charlton Athletic manager, is urging his side not to neglect their defensive duties after Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at home to Blackburn Rovers denied them a chance of going top of the Nationwide League First Division.

Football: Ward raises Rovers' profile

Charlton Athletic 1 Blackburn Rovers 2

ELEVEN ASIDES

Sharp shooters: The fastest goal in England yesterday was scored by Andy Hessenthaler of Gillingham after 16 seconds, as they won 2-1 at Cardiff. Watford's Michel Ngonge netted the first goal in the Premiership, although Sunderland won 3-2 at Vicarage Road.
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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

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Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
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Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

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Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

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Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own