Sport Darren Fletcher has been limited to seven starts in nearly two years

Scottish midfielder back in training following lengthy illness while Rooney may play on Saturday

Carver goes back to St James' Park

John Carver has returned to Newcastle United for a second spell as assistant manager.

John Carver returns as Newcastle assistant manager

John Carver has returned to Newcastle as assistant manager to Alan Pardew.

Not just a white Christmas in Luton

From the much-maligned multicultural town comes a message of seasonal hope

FA Cup round-up: Birchall double as Dover silence Shots on the coast

Adam Birchall scored twice as Dover Athletic of the Conference South achieved the giantkilling of the round, beating League Two Aldershot 2-0 at the Crabble to put Martin Hayes's side in the draw for the third round with its potential for a budget boosting tie against a Premier League club.

We Ate All The Pies, by John Nicholson

Don't let this book's introduction put you off. Assertions such as "Go anywhere in the world and someone will be kicking a ball around" (you don't say) and "It's easy to forget just how huge football is in the UK" (no it isn't; easy to forget, that is) hardly inspire confidence in what is to come, but persevere and you are rewarded with an engaging riff on the game, loosely grouped under "Shirt", "Television", "Drink" and so on.

Outside the Box: Fall guy Rooney went up in smoke for 'playing games'

So what precisely was it that made Wayne Rooney the, er, fall guy for the celebrated Edenbridge Bonfire Society, his 50-foot effigy having gone up in smoke in the Kent village yesterday evening? We can reveal that Tony Blair was at one stage 2-1 favourite this year but committee member Jon Mitchell tells us: "We did think that Wayne Rooney had probably peaked too early. The stories about the appalling way he treated Coleen were subsiding. Then he managed to annoy everyone all over again by playing games in the media in order to renegotiate his contract. We have a Man U supporter on our committee and even he wanted it to be Wayne."

Turner all fired up by 'feisty' spirit of the Tyne-Wear derby

Sunderland defender Michael Turner is relishing the prospect of biggest derby test of his career this weekend. The 26-year-old has contested local rivalries before, but admits Sunday's Tyne-Wear match between the Black Cats and Newcastle at St James' Park will be an entirely new experience.

14 charged over football violence

Police have charged 14 people with affray in relation to clashes after a football match earlier this year.

Ian Buxton: One of nineteen men who have played cricket for Derbyshire and football for Derby County

Nineteen men have played cricket for Derbyshire and football for Derby County; the most recent was Ian Buxton, who died on 1 October aged 72 at his home in the Derbyshire town of Matlock. While Buxton never played for his country in either sport, he was widely respected as a solid and capable performer.

Bobby Gould: 'I'd have broken my grandma's leg to score'

Winning the FA Cup with the Crazy Gang, managing Wales, run-ins with Sir Alex and advice from Cloughie – Bobby Gould's unconventional autobiography is a torrent of warring and scoring. Phil Shaw meets Bobby Gould

Football Nation, By Andrew Ward and John Williams

A collection of mini-essays about aspects of British football, from 1946, when Derby won the FA Cup after the competition was suspended during the war years (quiz question: Who held the FA Cup for 7 years? Answer: Portsmouth, who won it in 1939), to an "A-Z of the New Professional Game", which reflects on how money has changed the game in the 21st century.

The Premier Football Betting Handbook, by Matt Finnigan and Pete Nordsted

As the Premier League kicks off, so the uneven contest between bookies and punters is renewed.

This season's worst football kits

Football clubs have been proudly unveiling their new strips for the forthcoming season - but among them are a few horror shows.

Six years' jail for stabbing soccer star Calum Davenport

A man was jailed for six years today for launching a knife attack on a Premier League footballer that nearly ended his career.

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Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
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Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
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From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
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Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

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The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
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The male exhibits strange behaviour

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From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

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A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

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Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

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