Sport Christmas and football go hand in hand. But for once I can take a back seat this year

After an early lesson, I’ve monitored my food and drink every Christmas for 48 years - until now

Gary Lineker (left) is unimpressed by Greg Dyke's choices

Gary Lineker rejects Greg Dyke's FA panel as 'pointless... a missed chance'

Much-hyped commission attacked for uninspiring selections while Campbell criticises lack of ethnic minorities involved 

PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle recognised 'point of principle'

Ritchie Humphreys replaces Clarke Carlisle as chairman of the PFA

Move comes after Carlisle retired from professional football

Loïc Rémy celebrates one of his two goals for Newcastle

Newcastle United v Leeds United: Capital One Cup match preview

A look ahead to tonight’s Capital One Cup fixture at St. James’ Park

The 19-year-old, was called upon from the 26th minute after David Button was sent off for a foul on Bradford’s Nahki Wells

League round-up: Jack Bonham's Bradford battering

Brentford's teenage goalkeeper Jack Bonham endured another nightmare afternoon at the start of his Football League career after coming off the bench to concede four goals during his side's 4-0 defeat at Bradford City.

Blackburn fans vent their fury at the club’s inept owners

Spending on agents rarely brings success
– just ask Blackburn

Mismanaged Rovers paid £3.5m in fees last season and narrowly avoided second straight relegation

Jed Wallace celebrates scoring for Portsmouth

League Two 2013/14 preview: Fleetwood, Chesterfield, Cheltenham? Or maybe Portsmouth can finally change their fortunes...

A brief look at this season's SkyBet League Two which gets underway on Saturday

A snow plough clears the A66 near Bowes where the road was closed for several hours due to heavy snow as forecasters have warned that another cold snap is on its way -

Football matches called off due to poor weather as rain and snow batters England

Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Russia has fallen foul of the weather for the second time in 24 hours, with hostile conditions rendering Windsor Park unplayable.

Danny Murphy was left out of the squad entirely

Michael Appleton defends Danny Murphy omission as Blackburn miss out on Wembley trip

Millwall won 1-0 at Ewood Park in their quarter-final replay

The Sketch: A distinct shortage of AAA metaphors as George Osborne still blames Labour for economic woes

It may be that most of the Tory backbenchers who are really perturbed by George Osborne’s dogged pursuit of Plan A simply failed to turn up for his ritual session in the noisy parliamentary equivalent of the stocks to which Ed Balls subjected him today. But they left the field clear for awe-inspiringly repetitive variations on a theme, that Labour was still exclusively to blame for the trouble we’re in. Including the “humiliation” as Balls put it, of losing a Triple A credit rating the “downgraded” Chancellor had once so prized.

Benteke celebrates his goal for Aston Villa

League Two preview: Daggers can feast on Cod

Micky Mellon was left perplexed by Fleetwood's shock derby defeat at home to Accrington in midweek and, as much as he would like to believe the result was a one-off, we reckon more of the same could follow when the Cod Army make the monster journey down to Dagenham & Redbridge this weekend.

Chesterfield manager Paul Cook

League Two preview: Back a basement blockade

Paul Cook might have his work cut out winning over the Chesterfield dressing room and we see more problems ahead for the Spireites when they host improving Oxford United at the Proact Stadium on Saturday. Take some of the 11/8 available on Oxford (draw no bet).

Scunthorpe manager Brian Laws

League One preview: Trust long arm of Brian Laws

After two years in the managerial wilderness, Brian Laws isn't hanging about in his bid to turn things around at Scunthorpe and we think there's some value to be found in the 19/10 quotes about the resurgent Iron taking maximum points against high-flying Notts County in League One on Saturday.

Round-up: Ian Holloway backs Wilfried Zaha to shine

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway has tipped Wilfried Zaha to make the most of his shock call-up to the England squad.

Jim Bentley manager of Morecambe

League Two preview: Back a basement blockade

Goals were at a premium in League Two on Tuesday with eight out of 11 matches finishing under 2.5 goals and we fancy more of the same on Saturday with our focus fixed on a couple of interesting tussles in particular. Let's start with Morecambe v Barnet at the Globe Arena.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape