Sport Martin O’Neill (right) and Roy Keane watch their team make a winning start

It was one of those curious nights when events on the sidelines were always going to be more telling than those on the pitch, but Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane can at least take plenty of encouragement from a statement first win in charge of the Republic of Ireland. The new regime got off to a fine start with a commanding win over Latvia.

Alex McLeish accused Robin van Persie of elbowing Carlos Cuellar

Aston Villa open contract talks with Carlos Cuellar

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has confirmed the club have opened talks with Spanish defender Carlos Cuellar over a new contract.

<b>10. Alex McLeish £6m</b>

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish vows to 'get it right' ahead of planned protest

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has come out fighting ahead of a proposed fans' protest before Sunday's home game with Manchester City and insisted: "I'll get it right at this club."

Karl Henry apologises for 'stupid mistake'

Midfielder Karl Henry has apologised to Wolves manager Mick McCarthy, players and the club's supporters for the "stupid mistake" which led to his sending off against Aston Villa at the weekend.

Robbie Keane could join on loan from LA Galaxy

Shay Given sees benefits of Robbie Keane loan

Fit again keeper Shay Given believes Aston Villa will reap the benefits if they sign his Republic of Ireland team-mate Robbie Keane for a loan spell from Los Angeles Galaxy.

Ultimo gets extra lift from its sponsors

When Britain's women unwrap their Christmas presents on Sunday, there's a good chance they'll find some lingerie, judging by the latest sales from Ultimo.

Harry Redknapp: 'They can have a Christmas party when they have a six week holiday in the summer'

Humbug Harry stands firm on Christmas ban

Spurs manager says golf trips, days at the races and festive nights out are old-fashioned and of little interest to most of his players

Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham celebrates with his teammates after the Galaxy defeated the Houston Dynamo in the MLS Cup

America finally succumbs to the power of Becks

When the former England captain David Beckham decided to move from a footballing giant in Real Madrid to an US team with a 35,000-seater stadium and fading on-field fortunes, many saw it as an example of a player who has won a Champions League medal as well as league titles in England and Spain putting a downpayment on a retirement home. And the initial stages of his career at MLS (Major League Soccer) side LA Galaxy did not seem to promise further sporting success. But, in what may be his final game in the country, Beckham has finally got his hands on some US silverware to add to his collection, winning his first MLS title.

Football in Brief: Hamann walks out on first job; Beckham eyes final US flourish; Adam denies sectarian charge; Russian players' fury at tunnel attack

The former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann has resigned as manager of Blue Square Premier side Stockport. Hamann undertook his first management assignment at Edgeley Park this summer with the promise of new investment from businessman Tony Evans, but a deal failed to materialise. "Having been introduced to the club by Tony Evans, I presumed that the takeover by him would have taken place," Hamann said. "Promises were made which did not take place. I feel therefore unable to continue."

Crossing the pond... Famous footballers who played in the United States

Robbie Keane's 'dream move' to LA Galaxy makes him the latest football or, 'soccer' player to join team America.

David Beckham smoothed Robbie Keane switch to LA Galaxy

Robbie Keane last night revealed David Beckham had played a part in his move to Major League Soccer as he completed his transfer from Tottenham to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Robbie Keane waits for news on LA Galaxy switch

Tottenham striker Robbie Keane is waiting to see whether his £3.5million move to the Los Angeles Galaxy has gone through this morning.

LA Galaxy quiet on Robbie Keane transfer rumours

The Los Angeles Galaxy have declined to confirm they are targeting a move for Tottenham's Robbie Keane.

Robbie Keane accepts he will 'probably' leave Tottenham

Robbie Keane accepts he is "probably" entering his final days as a Tottenham player.

Blackburn owners confident of new arrivals

Blackburn owners Venky's insist there will soon be new signings arriving at Ewood Park.

Record-breaker Keane so proud after reaching goals milestone

Irishman fulfils a 13-year prophecy by scoring his 50th international goal &ndash;and quickly makes it 51
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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
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?