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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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
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Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game