It's Salford City Reds and Celtic Crusaders!: The Rugby Football League has announced which 14 teams will be awarded a licence to compete in Superleague 2009-2011. The existing 12 clubs have all been selected, plus Salford City Reds and Celtic Crusaders (from Bridgend, South Wales). Missing out are Widnes, Leigh, Halifax, Featherstone, and Toulouse. Wakefield and Castleford must be relieved, but the inclusion of Celtic over Widnes is a huge risk, as the RFL try to expand the game into new areas - in this case, a tradionally rugby union area. PS - Can we have a "rugby" category? Pretty please?
Rob Green: 21 days that changed my life.: This summer West Ham's goalkeeper did without the traditional footballer's holiday and went instead to Africa to work with a charity that helps the truly disadvantaged – and uses football to get its message across. Here Rob Green describes an experience that was both shattering and ultimately uplifting.
Drunk referee shown the red card.: (video link)
The $6 billion heist: "All in all he [Bernie Ecclestone] took US$3.25 billion out of Formula One thanks to his deals with Mosley. And this on top of the US$1.7 billion he had earned from the APM deals and the US$1 billion he had received as commission for his companies. By the time 2007 closed, since Mosley had become FIA president in 1991, Ecclestone had extracted nearly US$6 billion in profits from Formula One. One astute observer said: 'It is the biggest heist in history.' The same observer reckoned Ecclestone was legitimately entitled to only US$1 billion. He said: 'Ecclestone could have been a billionaire without Mosley’s help, but that wasn’t enough.' ”
New badge for Tottenham Hotspur.: Just like local rivals Chelsea and Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur have unveiled a new badge. The logo "Audere est Facere", which translates as "to dare is to do", has been left off the new badge in favour of a retro design. What do you think? An improvement? Too retro?
Chelsea deny rumours of a move to Earl's Court.: Earlier rumours that Chelsea might be about to build a new stadium at Earl's Court have been denied by the club. Stamford Bridge holds 42,000, which is deemed insufficient to compete with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United. Chelsea maintain that their first option is to expand the capacity of Stamford Bridge, even though it's not clear that this is even possible.
International month in rugby union.: There's an awesome month of international rugby union to be played this month. All the top rugby-playing nations will be in action, as New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Samoa, Tonga and Argentina visit Europe. Can the All-Blacks, currently the best team in the world, remain unbeaten on this tour? Will England finally look like a team that can retain the world cup? Will Argentina make an unarguable case for inclusion in more top-class international rugby competition?
Boomtime for French rugby: Two of French rugby's most famous clubs, Stade Français and Stade Toulousain, will today break a record when they play. The match has been moved to the Stade de France and every ticket has been sold. This means that the 80,000 or so who will watch will be the largest crowd ever for a regular-season match in France, in any sport. The previous record was 57,603 for Olympique Marseille against Paris St. Germain.
Football chairman gets four years in prison.: Darren Brown, ex-chairman of Chesterfield Football Club, has been sentenced to four years in prison. Claiming to be an entrepreneur, be borrowed money to buy the club, then systematically stripped the club of all it's cash in order to pay back his creditors, almost driving the club out of business.
The great Premiership rip-off: Crowds are down in the Premiership this year. One of the possible factors is the price of attending games. As the Observer points out, it costs more to watch lowly Crawley Town than it does Roma, Juventus or Bayern Munich.
You plonker, Rodney!: Rodney Marsh has been sacked by Sky for making a tasteless joke on "You're on Sky Sports". How anybody could think a joke about the tsunami was acceptable, I have no idea. Personally, I've never forgiven him for his lipstick on a pig comment..
West Brom appoint Bryan Robson as new manager.: Former fan favourite Bryan Robson has returned to the club he left in 1981. His managerial record so far is spotty. Can he keep the Baggies in the Premiership? My take as a West Brom fan: I'm not particularly enthused or optimistic, but then again I had the same feelings about Gary Megson four years ago. Meanwhile, there is still speculation that Megson could end up at arch-rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Gazza to change his name?: From now on, he wants to be known as "Throatwarbler Mangrove".
Sir Clive Woodward quits rugby - for football?: The head coach of the England rugby union team has resigned. Apparently he's got his eye on coaching soccer instead, possibly, one day as England head coach. This is the most improbable sports story of the year, no question.
Clough salutes Arsenal's achievement: Between 1977 and 1979, Nottingham Forest went a record 42 games unbeaten in the English league. On Wednesday, Arsenal surpassed that record, when they beat Middlesbrough 3-0. Over the last 43 games, Arsenal, traditionally known for dour 1-0 games, have shown an attacking excellence that I've never seen before in the English game. Are they the best ever (in England) or do they need to lift the Champions League first before we can crown them?
What Gazza did next.: A fantastic article from the Guardian, as a reporter followed Paul Gascoigne around for two days on his book signing tour. A warning for Wayne Rooney perhaps, on the dangers that lie ahead?
It's South Africa!: Forget your hockey world cups. South Africa have won the right to stage the real thing.
Relegation spots decided in the Premiership.: Manchester City's 1-0 win against Newcastle on Saturday virtually assured them of safety. City's win meant that Leicester's 2-2 draw with Charlton condemned the Foxes to relegation. Because of their goal difference, Wolves are down as well, despite beating Everton 2-1. On Sunday, Leeds lost 4-1 at Bolton which was enough to relegate Leeds.
This completes an amazing fall for Leeds, who three years ago, played Valencia in the Champions League semifinals. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.
Big changes ahead for Formula 1.: Max Mosley, President of the FIA, has proposed a sweeping set of changes in the Formula 1 technical regulations. [More Inside]
Ron Atkinson in racist storm.: Ron Atkinson, ex-manager, and originator of a language similar, but not entirely equal to English, called Ronglish, has been forced to resign from his job as a pundit with ITV, following comments made after the final whistle on Tuesday night. Big Ron apparently called Marcel Desailly a "fucking lazy nigger". Unforgiveable language, certainly, but Ron Atkinson played his part in the emergence of black players in England, when the Three Degrees of Brendan Batson, Cyril Regis and Laurie Cunningham played for West Bromwich Albion. Is he really a racist, or an example of a generational shift in the way we use language?
UEFA European Cup Football Results and Qualification: Have you ever wondered how the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup-Winners Cup are organised? Wonder why Spain and England get four teams in the Champions League while Scotland get two? Bert Kassies explains all.
Murray Walker quotes.: The famous motor racing commentator's best quotes over the years.
How to make women's football more popular.: Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA has a cunning plan. Hotpants.
Dwain Chambers tests positive for THG.: It has emerged that one of Britain's top athletes, Dwain Chambers, is among those caught in the THG scandal. The question that's on my mind is: if he can be publicly identified, why can't the American athletes?