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

Football: O'Neill wins Republic recall

THE MIDDLESBROUGH-BOUND striker, Keith O'Neill, has been recalled to the Republic of Ireland squad for the Group Eight European Championship qualifying tie with Macedonia in Skopje on 27 March. The Irish manager, Mick McCarthy, has also called up the uncapped Spurs defender Stephen Carr to his 20-man travelling squad.

Football: Grayson sparks England win

AT HAYES on Tuesday the England semi-professional side did what was beyond Glenn Hoddle's senior team in the qualifiers for the last World Cup - they beat Italy.

Football: Stewart goal sets Terriers on way

Huddersfield Town 3 Bolton Wanderers 2

Hoddle on the defensive as his support runs out

GLENN HODDLE faces his own day of reckoning today with an announcement about whether he will be sacked as England manager over disputed comments that disabled people are being punished for sins committed in previous lives.

That was the weekend that was: Prima donnas are not a Premiership preserve

STAN COLLYMORE, the disappearing Aston Villa striker, was not the only footballer apparently indulging in a spot of the prima donnas ahead of the weekend matches. At a somewhat different level, Hull City - bottom of the Third Division - reportedly discovered a Collymore of their own in the 35-year-old former Wimbledon and Sheffield United midfielder Glyn Hodges.

Drugs In Sport: The long road to recovery

After years of abuse and a close call, Shane Nicholson was finally caught. Now, while rebuilding his career, the defender is also rebuilding his life.

Obituary: John Osborne

JOHN OSBORNE was never likely to keep goal for England - the consistent excellence of Gordon Banks, then Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence, saw to that - but there was a time in the late 1960s and early 1970s when he was one of the most accomplished non-international net-minders in the country.

Football: Palace trawl the depths at Grimsby

Grimsby Town 2 Crystal Palace 0

Football: The Hansen way to tackle the media

Today's footballer must have more in his vocabulary than Over the Moon and Sick as a Parrot.

Football: Stoke squander an opportunity

Stoke City 0 Chesterfield 0

Football: Sunderland accept keeper's gift

Norwich City 2 Sunderland 2

Football: Men in the middle of an official revolution

Football's question: Problems will not just disappear if referees go full-time, says David Elleray

Football: Davies 'very ill' in hospital

KEVIN DAVIES, Blackburn Rovers' record pounds 7.25m summer signing from Southampton, was admitted to hospital last night after being struck down with a mystery illness, and could be out of action for some time.

Sports betting: Draw the value option

BLACKBURN AND Chelsea can fight out a draw (maybe 1-1) in their Premiership match at Ewood Park this evening. Blackburn, 18th in the table after a poor start to the campaign, were arguably unlucky to go down 1- 0 at home to the useful French team Lyons in the first leg of their Uefa Cup tie last Tuesday. They are fancied to contain the Super Cup winners who have also made a slow start to the domestic season. Blackburn's Kevin Davies may be the best bet to score the first goal.

Football: Gascoigne leads Boro to victory

PAUL GASCOIGNE captained Middlesbrough for the first time last night in the absence of the injured Andy Townsend.
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A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
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A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
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UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
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Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
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In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
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Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice