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Wayne Harrison was not the most fortunate of footballers. Blessed with a sublime talent for sniffing out goal-scoring opportunities and converting them with consummate skill, he became the world's most expensive teenager when Liverpool – then the mightiest club in the land – paid Oldham Athletic £250,000 for his predatory services in the spring of 1985.

Markus Babbel is Hoffenheim coach; Paul Gascoigne is unlikely to reach such heights

Sam Wallace: It's not just Gazza left behind by Germans of '96

It is almost 16 years since Stuart Pearce scored his penalty against Germany in the shoot-out at the end of England's semi-final at Euro '96, a brief moment of exhilaration in what turned out to be another famous disappointment chalked up by the national team.

'We need to be patient, but we needed better players,' says Pepe Reina

Reina: We're back where we belong after darkest days in club's history

Once foreign players have become reasonably fluent in English, it is always interesting to note which idiomatic phrases they pick up. Jose "Pepe" Reina must have been listening to former Liverpool stalwart Mark Lawrenson, for he is fond of the pundit's "happy days".

Milan's Robinho celebrates his goal against Arsenal at San Siro; Arsène Wenger needs to be able to pay his best players higher salaries

Ian Holloway: We get the sack because chairmen don't really know about the game

Some of them have egos so big they can't cope. That is when managers get the boot

Widow of missing man found dead under flyover 'can rest easy'

The widow of a man whose remains were found under a motorway flyover said the eight years he was missing were the "toughest" of her life.

Plastic pitches could make a return

Plastic pitches in line to return

English football is a step closer to reintroducing artificial pitches after the Football League announced plans to seek opinion on their possible return. The public consultation will run until the end of April and canvass the views of clubs, fans and officials.

Errors & Omissions: This incredible chaos is getting beyond the boundaries of belief

"Chaos on roads and railways to continue today, warn forecasters." That headline appeared over a news story on Monday. It happens every winter: severe weather is greeted by the absurdly overdramatic word "chaos". Of course, "chaos" is a short word, and as such very difficult to keep out of headlines.

Robin Scott-Elliot: Bernstein deserves credit for firm and decisive leadership

When John Terry was last relieved of his duties as captain of England it was a decision made by Fabio Capello. A four-man gathering of the Football Association's key suited players, including the chairman Lord Triesman, decided to leave the manager to have the final say. This time it was the chairman, David Bernstein, who took the lead and the chairman who informed Terry of his fate. The events of the last two days at the business end of Wembley Way have smacked of firm and decisive leadership, something that has not always appeared the FA way.

Portsmouth issued with winding-up petition over unpaid taxes

Portsmouth have been issued with a winding-up petition by HM Revenue and Customs.

Stéphane Sessègnon (right), who scored Sunderland’s first goal and set up their second, is challenged by Joe Allen, of Swansea

Swansea's cool design unpicked by O'Neill

Sunderland 2 Swansea 0

Christopher says: 'The children clustered around me yelling 'Toubab' - I felt special'

Go with the flow: Charting a course through The Gambia

The Gambia offers sunshine and sunloungers on its Atlantic coast, but it's easy to get off the beaten track and experience a different side of this West African state.

Fratton Park, the home of Portsmouth FC. The south- coast club owe £105m including £17m to other teams

Portsmouth takeover close say administrators

Portsmouth are close to announcing new owners, according to administrator Andrew Andronikou.

Ablett, right, takes the ball off the Wimbledon striker John Fashanu during the 1989 FA Cup final at Wembley

Gary Ablett: Footballer who won the FA Cup with both Liverpool and Everton

Gary Ablett was a polished and imperturbable utility defender who helped Liverpool to win two League titles and the FA Cup between 1988 and 1990, then became the only man to lift the trophy with both the Reds and their Merseyside rivals, Everton. Gaunt and gangly of appearance, the personable Liverpudlian was wirily resilient, an excellent timer of challenges both aerial and on the ground, a safe and sensible passer of the ball with his favoured left foot, and an intelligent breaker-up of attacks through shrewd positional play and decisive interception. He preferred to operate in the centre of the rearguard, but was equally effective at full-back, his versatility proving a boon to his managers. Though marginally short of true international class – he played once each for England's B side and the under-21s – Ablett never looked out of his depth at the top club level, holding his own for several seasons in the last Liverpool side to claim the domestic game's principal prize.

The Chelsea captain, John Terry, clashes with QPR's Anton Ferdinand during the match at Loftus Road

Sponsors shun Terry over charge for racism

Umbro downplay association with England captain, who heads for court on 1 February

Talent Scout: Adam Maher, AZ Alkmaar

There never seems to be a shortage of teenage superstars in the modern game, especially in the Netherlands, a country famed for its remarkable production line of supreme prospects. But scratch beyond the hype and natural excitement young players attract, and the truth is few are consistently good enough to have earned such a reputation so early.

Phil Brown was in charge for just 11 months

Preston sack manager Phil Brown

Phil Brown has been sacked by Preston North End after just 11 months in the job.

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His life, the universe and everything

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