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

Stockport game to be Taylor's last as Bradford slide down table

Peter Taylor is to step down as Bradford City manager by mutual consent after tomorrow's visit of Stockport County.

The sporting week ahead (06/02/11)

Today

Outside the Box: Wales tackle England for Under-21 games

Having failed humiliatingly with their bid for the 2018 World Cup, the Football Association will discover this week the fate of a rather lower-profile campaign for the Uefa Under-21 finals to take place in the summer of 2013.

England battle Wales for right to host 2013 event

The Football Association may still be licking their wounds after the dismal failure of their 2018 World Cup bid but next week they will go head to head with Wales to try to secure the 2013 European Under-21 Championships.

We planned to beat them 5-0, says Stevenage's 'Mourinho-lite'

Stevenage 3 Newcastle United 1

Minor British Institutions: The Lincoln Imp

Evil-looking little fellow isn't he? He was sent by the Devil himself to cause trouble here on earth, turning up at Lincoln Cathedral to disrupt the choir and trip up the Bishop.

Spireites on steep rise to the top

Chesterfield have a lovely new ground, a talented manager and an entertaining team, so life is sweet for Sheri

Jackie Sinclair: Goalscoring winger who helped Newcastle United win their only major trophy of the last half-century

The Scottish international Jackie Sinclair was that rare and cherished footballing commodity, a winger who could be counted on to score plenty of goals. At least, that was the case during the mid-1960s with Dunfermline Athletic and Leicester City, for whom the effervescent little Fifer found the net on average once every two games, a ratio of which even the majority of specialist strikers would have been justly proud.

Leeds flourish after making most of brief Somma spell

Leeds United 3 Millwall 1

Outside the Box: Derby's ban on white beards is clause to keep 'cuddly Ken' out

Relations between Leeds United and Derby, which as the book and film of The Damned United pointed out, have rarely been harmonious, seem unlikely to improve in the immediate future after last week's fixture at Elland Road. Nigel Clough, whose late father made no secret of his loathing for the club he managed for 44 days, had wanted to watch the game from the directors' box but was banned because he was wearing a tracksuit; not unreasonable attire for a football manager. Steve Bruce, Sunderland's manager, fell foul of the same dress code when he dared to turn up without a tie for the Carling Cup tie against Lincoln in midweek. Word reaches us that Derby officials are considering reprisals for the return fixture, when they could unveil a little-known regulation banning white-bearded septuagenarian chairmen from their boardroom. Father Christmas will be allowed in.

Blackpool players target £5m windfall in Championship play-off

For a bunch of players whose salaries dip to £90 a week each summer, the bonus on offer for Blackpool's players this weekend is an eye-watering prospect in itself, let alone thoughts of promotion to the Premier League and the financial bonanza that would bring.

'Fat Controller' puts Cardiff back on rails

Play-off final against Blackpool is the last stop for the often vilified City chairman who defends his track record

Outside Edge (16/05/10)

Avram Grant is tipped to be heading to West Ham, but what of another of Portsmouth's many managers in recent years, Tony Adams? Things seemed to have gone a bit quiet for the lad in recent times, but the former Arsenal hero is back. And how, with a reputed £1m-a-year contract to manage Gabala FC. What? You've never heard of them? How could you have missed a side sitting respectably mid-table in the Azerbaijan Premier League? Possibly picking his words carefully, one of Adams's new players said: "We welcome the great Tony Adams; we can be very proud to have such a great footballer as our coach." His name: Tarzen Jahangirov. Be careful, Tony, it's a jungle out there.

Kevin Davies: 'I knew I'd be booked. Fergie had done his job'

The Brian Viner Interview: Sir Alex Ferguson has singled him out for 'bullying' and he regularly tops the 'most penalised player' charts, but ahead of tomorrow's visit to Old Trafford Bolton's captain is keen to explain why he always plays the game in the right spirit

Lee and Davies outshine Redknapp's recruits

Bolton Wanderers 2 Tottenham Hotspur 2
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Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable