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Seagulls sing for stadium

By Ossian Shine

LONDON, Jan 6 (Reuters) - You've heard of the Eagles, the Byrds and Wings. Now Seagulls Ska are looking to fly to the top of the British charts and sing their way to a new stadium for second division Brighton and Hove Albion at the same time.

Fans of the south coast soccer side -- led by punk poet Attila the Stockbroker, or John Baine to his parents -- have released a version of an '80s anthem to highlight the club's plight.

Early indications suggest that their recording of 'Tom Hark' could top the charts come Sunday.

"It's doing absolutely brilliantly and is going better than I could have hoped," Baine said on Thursday.

"At the moment we're one place behind Blue and we're outselling Kylie and Green Day among others...we should certainly have a chart placing of some sort."

The lead singer of the hastily-assembled pop group said their song 'Tom Hark (We Want Falmer!)' was at number 10 in the midweek charts, based on pre-sales.

Brighton have been without a permanent home since losing the Goldstone Ground eight years ago. This season they are playing at the 6,973 capacity Withdean Stadium.

The Seagulls' lyrics say it all.

"We're stuck in an athletics track we really hate...like playing in Albania Division Eight," the group sings.

"The whole thing's daft, we don't know why

"We have to laugh or else we'll cry

"Our ground's too small, the costs too high

"Without Falmer our club will die.":)

The club's plans for a 22,000-seat stadium at Falmer, on the edge of Brighton, are being considered by deputy prime minister John Prescott.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tony Blair is visiting an Edinburgh hospital. He enters a ward full of patients with no obvious sign of injury or illness and greets one. The patient replies: "Fair fa your honest sonsie face, Great chieftain o' the puddin race, Aboon them a you take your place, Painch, tripe or thairm, As langs my airm."

Blair is confused, so he just grins and moves on to the next patient. The patient responds: "Some hae meat and canna eat, and some wad eat that want it, but we hae meat and we can eat, So let the Lord be thankit."

Even more confused, and his grin now begining to falter, the PM moves on to the next patient, who immediately begins to chant: "We sleekit, cowerin, timrous beasty, Thou needna start awa sae hastie, Wi bickering brattle."

Now seriously troubled, Blair turns to the accompanying doctor and asks "What kind of facility is this? A mental ward?"

"No", replies the doctor. "This is the serious Burns unit”

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No sex please, we're from the Bundesliga

FRANKFURT, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Struggling Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund would probably consider most offers of help at the moment, but decency demands certain limits.

The club, facing record debts off the pitch and relegation on it, on Monday rejected an offer of sponsorship from a sex shop operator.

"We won't do it," a club spokesman said after Beate Uhse, Europe's largest erotic goods firm operating sex shops and selling 10,000 erotic products, made overtures of support via sports marketing agency Sport Five.

Borussia, Germany's only listed soccer club and the 2002 champions, are grappling with a restructuring after posting record losses and debts in 2004. They are also languishing in 13th place in the 18-club Bundesliga after a 1-1 draw against Moenchengladbach on Saturday.

Spiegel magazine said investment firm Spuetz AG and Beate Uhse's main investor Richard Orthmann had shown an interest in investing in Borussia.

Borussia shares had fallen 1.4 percent to 2.84 euros ($3.70) by 1104 GMT on Monday after surging 30 percent on hopes the club could find a new investor. The shares were worth 11 euros when they made their debut more than four years ago.

Last week, talks with Bundesliga rivals FC Bayern Munich over a possible aid package ended after the media criticised the club of getting desperate. Borussia, indeed, are in desperate straights but not, it appears, that desperate.

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Ref sends himself off


Sorry ref - you've got to go

A football referee was forced to abandon a game after showing himself the red card.

Andy Wain decided he had to go following a run-in with a goalkeeper in the Sunday League match.

The incident happened during a contest between Peterborough North End and Royal Mail AYL.

North End keeper Richard McGaffin was unhappy with a goal that put the opposition 2-1 up, inisting a player had been fouled.

But instead of giving McGaffin a ticking off, Wain lost his temper.

The ref hurled down his whistle, untucked his shirt and marched up to eyeball the player, before realising the error of his ways.

"If a player did that I would send him off - so I had to go": Andy Wain

The 39-year-old official, who had a few personal problems leading up to the Peterborough Sunday League Two clash, admitted he should have stayed at home.

"With hindsight I should never have officiated," he said.

"It was totally unprofessional. If a player did that I would send him off, so I had to go.

"I heard the keeper say 'It's always the bloody same with you, ref - we never get anything'. It was the last straw, but fortunately I came to my senses."

Wain, whose future as a ref is now hanging in the balance, had to abandon the game as he headed for an early bath in the 63rd minute - because there was no-one else to officiate.

Fortunately he did not compound his error by arguing with himself about the sending off.

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FIFA World Youth Championship

Australia marches on as Solomon dreams crumble

Kristian Sarkies, who scored the 90th-minute free kick to beat Fiji 3-2 and send Australia through to the final.

(FIFA.com) Courtesy of www.oceaniafootball.com

(FIFA.com) 01 Feb 2005

For many, it was to be a bright new dawn for the Confederation. Finally after years of struggle to reach sporting parity, here was a tournament to really get excited about. But after beginning so promisingly with Fiji's defeat of New Zealand, Oceania's Youth Championship ended prematurely and under the darkest of clouds as crowd violence forced the abandonment of the final between hosts Solomon Islands and regional heavyweights Australia.

The Young Socceroos march onwards to another world finals then, but they will have had the glorious taste of victory cruelly spilled from their lips by the ugly scenes around the FIFA-funded Lawson Tama stadium. An estimated 25,000 crammed inside the ground in the capital Honiara with many, many more locked outside. Shortly after Australia virtually clinched the match with their third unanswered goal, trouble broke out and the referee, after consultation with local police and OFC officials, abandoned the match in the 77th minute, handing victory to Australia.

It was an extremely depressing end to a fine run by the local side, whose performances in running through the group stage and defeating Vanuatu in the semi-finals had whipped up high hopes among the Pacific Islands' poverty stricken population. In a country ravaged by street violence on a massive scale, football has become one of the few things worth living for. Very recently, hostile warring factions would shed arms and take up a ball before retreating to their positions and continuing the fight. Although peacekeeping forces have successfully restored calm to the picture postcard islands, the threat of violence still hangs in the air and police were told to be particularly vigilant after the OFC made the courageous decision to give the islands' passionate supporters the opportunity to view a top-class football competition.


In many ways the Solomon Islands team may well have been victims of their own success. Following on from the senior side's 2-2 draw with Australia in 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying, the team had raced to the final defeating New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu in the semis. There was high expectation that 31 January would be the day when the Solomon Islands make history and etch their name on the world football map.

Fiji and New Zealand players in action during their opening match. Fiji won 1-0


Courtesy of www.oceaniafootball.com

It was not to be. Although Australia had been forced to bend backwards, needing an 89th-minute winner to defeat Fiji in the semi-finals 3-2, they were not about to be brought to their knees. An eight-minute penalty from Mark Bridge silenced a boisterous crowd, before strikes from Vince Lia (58) and David Williams (74) settled the matter before other events took over.

Breezing through

For a long time it appeared Australia were intent on sending a message to the upstarts that dared to challenge their hegemony in the Oceania region. They raced through Group A, racking up an outrageous, even by their standards, number of goals to boot - 40, in fact, in three matches, including 19 without reply against poor Tonga.

Group B was a far more evenly matched with New Zealand, Fiji and Solomon Islands battling it out for top spot. Fiji surprised a few by beating the Kiwis 1-0, but then lost out to the hosts by the same score. That result gave New Zealand a lifeline but they too were defeated by the slimmest of margins by the home side and, continuing a rather bleak recent trend, flew home earlier than expected.

Despite that surprise few could have predicted the drama of the semi-final clashes. A free kick from Alick Maemae cheered another 20,000 crowd as the Solomon Islands went ahead inside 10 minutes. But Vanuatu bravely fought back and after Jean Emmanuel Caleb equalised they had the best chances to win the match inside 90 minutes. Then, four minutes into extra-time, an own goal by Geoffrey Lego Gete put the Solomon's ahead before Maemae grabbed his second to end Vanuatu dreams.

With their strikers enjoying a bountiful competition in front of goal, champions Australia were in buoyant mood going into the semi-final clash with Fiji. But only a last-gasp free kick from Kristian Sarkies prevented a potentially mighty shock in the South Seas. The Fijians, who had earlier shown their pedigree by defeating New Zealand, twice came back to draw level before the final fateful strike ended hopes for another year.

As the book on the Oceania Youth Championship is closed, frustratingly with part of the final page torn off, the critical reaction will be one of anger and disappointment. But in time it will surely be considered a beginning, a novel with interweaving characters. The chapters written by Fiji, by Vanuatu and by the Solomon Islands having made the product something worth selling.

Group A Results

22/1 Australia 12 New Caledonia 1

22/1 Vanuatu 2 Tonga 0

24/1 Vanuatu 3 New Caledonia 2

25/1 Australia 19 Tonga 0

27/1 Australia 9 Vanuatu 2

27/1 New Caledonia 7 Tonga 1

Group B Results

21/1 Fiji 1 New Zealand 0

21/1 Solomon Islands 6 Samoa 0

23/1 New Zealand 7 Samoa 0

23/1 Solomon Islands 1 Fiji 0

26/1 Fiji 9 Samoa 1

26/1 Solomon Islands 2 New Zealand 1

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Torquay win is a piece of Jake

By Francis Keogh


Reading: Played 1 Won 1

Yeovil: Played 2 Won 2

Torquay: Played 1 Won 1

A football-juggling dog who brings good luck to every team he visits continued his amazing winning run at Torquay.

Jake the border terrier had already pouched wins for Reading and Yeovil, and duly inspired the Gulls to a 2-1 victory over Doncaster on Saturday.

The magical mutt is brought on as half-time entertainment during matches, and has now been on the winning side four times out of four.

Proud Owner Tony Slark told BBC Sport: "Everywhere he has been, the home team has never lost."

Before Jake's arrival, Torquay - fifth from bottom in League One - had taken just one point from their last five home games. United boss Leroy Rosenior admitted: "We played fantastically well."

Jake, nicknamed 'Barkham' by some commentators, is in many ways a superior four-legged version of England skipper David Beckham.

"You throw a football, he goes out into the middle of the pitch, he'll charge after the ball, put his head down, flick the ball in the air, and then bounces it on his nose 20 or 30 times," said Tony.

"David Beckham can't do that."

Jake has previously bow-wowed the crowds at Reading and Yeovil.

When he starred at Reading's Madejski Stadium, staff at the club shop even gave him his own Royals shirt with 'Jake' written on the back.

The dog is in danger of becoming a household name after his previous exploits were featured on TV's Richard and Judy Show, along with The Sun newspaper.

He features on the front cover of the latest edition of the Dogs Today magazine, and is a former winner of the prized Pup Idol competition.

Tony, from St Columb Major, Cornwall, said the dog is self-taught, and practices his art in the park every day.

"He's a good cricketer as well. When we go to the beach at Newquay, he always catches the ball."

Now Jake has helped Torquay to victory, he has just one goal left - to succeed in the Premiership.

"He'll have been to Leagues Two, One and the Championship, so it'd be nice if a Premiership club came in," said Tony.

It'd be woof justice if they didn't.

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Prince Charles finds an ancient wine bottle in the cellar of Windsor Castle. When he opens it a genie flys out and grants him a wish.

Charles is ecstatic as just that morning he had reversed his Range Rover over the Queen's favourite corgi and squashed it flat. He asks the genie to bring back the dog to life as the Queen would be furious and upset. The genie examines the dog which is splattered all over the drive and tells Charles that there is nothing he can do so he'd best chuck the dog in the dustbin.

Charles then asks the genie if he could make his girlfriend Camilla Parker-Bowles beautiful as the media were always poking fun at her looks.

The genie thinks for a moment scratches his head and says "Let's have another look at that dog"!!!

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