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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