hei-fi 'I have very strong feelings on the matter,' says Anton Ferdinand

As the Queen's Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand broke his long silence by saying he had "very strong feelings" about any possible racial abuse, Chelsea last night continued their backing for John Terry, who is likely to captain the team in a Champions League tie here this evening.

Triumph at last for Julian Barnes (mixed with a touch of venom)

He may go down as one of the least gracious Man Booker Prize winners ever, says Arifa Akbar, but Julian Barnes deserved Tuesday night's accolade

Stan Hey: 6-5 Against

We are only two Tests into the Ashes series but already there's a compelling tapestry being stitched across the summer, detailing the thrust and counter-thrust of the teams; the fall of champions; the rise of unexpected heroes.

Nine-try Bristol demolish rivals

Bristol 68 Exeter 15

Emphasis on Coles and goals as Eriksson seeks defining display

Even by the admission of Rio Ferdinand, the English nation expects a "cricket score" against Northern Ireland in today's World Cup qualifier at Old Trafford, but it is not the humble nature of the opposition alone that is supposed to make this match a brutal, one-sided bout. It is England's time too, a squad as close to full strength as is usually possible, who have been judged long overdue in delivering a performance that reflects the reservoir of talent at Sven Goran Eriksson's disposal.

Stevens the youthful shoulder to build on

Lost somewhere in the war of words surrounding Jonathan Kaplan in Dublin was a public message of congratulation delivered by Andy Robinson to England's newest Six Nations prop. "Matt Stevens had an awesome game at tighthead," said the coach.

Ups and downs of the rugby club who just do not want to be promoted

Despite their resurgence Otley have no intention of playing in the Premiership next season, writes Paul Stephens

Dublin prepares to feast on fallen England

Expectations run high as O'Driscoll and his in-form flyers eye up stumbling world champions

Gatland: Irish beware Robinsons on a mission

Coach who knows both camps sees hope for the wilting Red Rose brigade

Leading article: Hull's decision does add up

The decision by the University of Hull to close its mathematics department is sending shock waves around Academe, coming as it does after the decision to close the chemistry department at the University of Exeter.

Hockey: England face life of reduced funds

Cuts imposed on the game by Sport England have been described by Philip Kimberley, the chairman of England Hockey, as "savage". Funding per annum for the next four years has been cut by more than 60 per cent across the board, including the funding of the England National squads up to the Commonwealth Games next year.

Jones the bat holds key to England's one-day control

If England win the Standard Bank Series, the audacious move to ask the wicketkeeper Geraint Jones to open the batting will have worked. Since audacious moves can also, however, be interpreted as cunning plans - and look what they did for Baldrick - the jury remains in deadlock.

Exeter dream of greatest upset as Ferguson sends in big guns

This week had long been pencilled in at Manchester United as one for long-distance travel. However, instead of flying to Johannesburg to take part in an exhibition match in South Africa, United's players yesterday boarded another very different aircraft to take them to Devon.

Hiley relishes a second chance in battle of wits with Ronaldo

Manchester United's excursion to the West Country offers a rare opportunity for Exeter's veteran defender

Exeter given a taste of own medicine

<preform>As Manchester United replay looms, FA Cup heroes struggle to live with being favourites at a lesser level. Mike Rowbottom</b></i> reports from Billericay</preform>

Exeter nearly lose their way in dreamland

Yesterday, a week after holding Manchester United to that famous scoreless stalemate at Old Trafford in front of a crowd of 67,551 in the third round of the FA Cup, Exeter City switched from the theatre of dreams to the local rep of reality. And this time, let's not muck about, they were the ones who were lucky to nick a draw. Against Billericay Town, watched by 1,500 die-hards, our heroes nearly crashed to earth in the third round of the FA Trophy, saved only by two late goals. From Sir Matt Busby Way to Blunts Wall Road could be construed as the sublime to the ridiculous. But really, no, not really.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
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
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
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
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
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
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked