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5 December 2014 ~
The FA have unveiled their "England DNA programme". "[It's] a start point for the creation of a world-class approach to elite player development," according to a spokesperson. From what we understand it involves transplanting the DNA of German, Italian and Spanish players into English teenagers. Has to be worth a try.
Badge of the week ~ Umm Salal SC, Qatar
There were no European visitors to Qatar until the early 1920s, partly because of a strict immigration policy by its rulers and partly because no one from outside was sure of the correct way to pronounce Qatar. There were at least four variations on the wireless. Responding to travellers’ attempts at the checkpoint to name the country they wished to enter, the border guards had perfected through training a lip quiver denoting suppressed amusement which generally put people off a second attempt.
Thus did Qatar keep its myriad secrets. One of which was the Rocking Sand Palace of Umm Salal. Built on giant rockers of acacia wood by an eccentric sheik, who in later life pioneered the indoor balcony, the Rocking Sand Palace was admired far and wide, within Qatar, for its imperious otherness. However, when anyone actually lived in it, they found they fell asleep soon after sitting down owing to the continual rocking motion.
This debilitating habit was directly responsible for the so-called Long Weekend War of 1931 with Saudi Arabia, when the then Emir fell asleep while looking over an ultimatum from his opposite number giving Qatar two hours to remove all of their military operatives from Saudi swing ensembles. The palace is used as a symbol in the country for episodes of magnificent vision swiftly followed by the need for a nice lie down. Cameron Carter
from Neil Rose
“The recent news about the next Star Wars film provides a perfect way to introduce a report on Luton v Mansfield.”
David Moyes tries out some Spanish. A fair way to go yet.
Christians blast Phil Neville. They’ll be picketing his house next.
from Phil Town
“A photo of Carlos Mozer, Brazil and Benfica central defender from the 1980s and 1990s makes an unexpected appearance as a 'Wanted' poster in German cop series Tatort.”
"It almost grew with me." Michael Owen talks cars (you may need a pot of coffee to get through to the end).
Also in the news this week
Massimo Cellno is disqualified from owning Leeds, for now
Meanwhile, Leeds’ Adryan seems to have ruptured himself
Free kick of the week, in Leverkusen’s win over Cologne
Nearly matched by seven-year-old Shane Kluivert, son of Patrick