We picked the best from all your entries
Journalism doesn’t get harder than this! If you’re not in the Christmas spirit already then hopefully this will help you along the way.
From what started in the office as a bit of fun has turned into a full-scale takeover of my Twitter and Facebook account.
So thank you all for your suggestions. There have been some very thoughtful efforts and some I hope you kept the receipt for!
There were some absolute crackers, but my winner is from @HarryReekieCNN:
Good King Stanislas Luke-d Kuyt on Duff Festa Steven.
And a highly commended must go to @ThomHoops for The Three Marlon Kings:
Some more entries...
Angel Di Maria
Juan Pablo Angel
The Three Dennis Wise Men
Silent Zat Knight
A wayne (Rooney) in a manger
Park Ji Herald Angels Sung
Frimpong merrily on High-bury
12 days of Christmas
Richie Partridge in a pear tree
Two Skrtel Doves
Three French Henrys
Four Collymore birds
Fiiiiive Tors-ten Frings
Santa Claus Lundekvaam
Roque Santa Cruz
Kiki ‘Chris’ Musampa
Gift-on Noël Williams
Sir Elf Ramsey
Kevin mince Boeteng
Edwin van der Star
Manchester City are upbeat after losing £97.9 million last season.
This is despite them having probably the highest wage bill in the Premier League of £200 million (we don’t actually know Chelsea’s), more than 500,000 a day.
Here are a few things they are feeling cheerful about that you might have missed from their annual report:
- 97% of fans feel strongly positive towards the club (It is not clear exactly what definition they are using for “fan” but presumably feeling positive towards the club is one element)
- Manchester City paid no UK corporation tax last year and said it will pay less than the standard rate in future years because of its losses.
- Their website has been voted the best of any Champions League club, narrowly defeating Otelul Galati of Romania
- More than 1 million Americans watched their derby with United, a record.
- 69% of fans say the club has improved its childcare facilities.
- Manchester City is the third most played team on FIFA 2012 on Xbox and Playstation
Oh dear, the auto advertisement generator strikes again. Very bad place, very bad time.
Right there above a fantastic article by Bradley McGee, the former pro cyclist now directeur sportif Team Saxo Bank, about how widespread doping problems ruined his best racing years, Google Ads has dropped a link to EPO Cyclist Supplements.
It is, apparently, the "fastest way to increase your endurance and speed - guaranteed!"
Yeah, that's kind of the problem... and why it is banned.
McGee writes compellingly of how hard it was to compete clean against the high number of cyclists who were doping in the early 2000s.
As he points out in his article: "Doping will never be fully eradicated, but a continued effort to stop it from spreading is vital."
Perhaps outlawing EPO advertising could be a start.
News that Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has participated in a game of conkers has been greeted positively by a campaign for the pastime.
According to media reports, Balotelli stopped his car when he saw youths shaking a conker tree to ask why. He was unaware of the game of conkers but gave it go. Unfortunately it seems he was the loser and his conker was left in bits.
The Campaign For Real Conkers (CFRC) says that the story illustrates the great strength of the game. You can turn up and play on the spot without the need for rules or preparation.
Campaign organiser Keith Flett said: "If conkers can get the interest of Mario Balotelli it shows it's worth giving a game a go. Next time however we’d suggest that the footballer tries some gamesmanship and soaks his conker in vinegar first."
The Campaign for Real Conkers promotes free for all conker playing across the UK. It plans a free-for-all conker event in central London on 20 October where it encourages people to have a go at playing conkers without the need for rules, regulations and teams.
For more sports news and stats follow @msnsportlee on Twitter
American footballers are complaining that their new kit makes them look fatter than they actually are.
Nike replaced Reebok in April as the kit supplier to all of the NFL’s teams and while the new uniform is 8% lighter than all previous incarnations, its sleekness has upset some of its wearers.
“I hate them. They are built for thin guys,” Alex Boone, a 300-pound offensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, told The Wall Street Journal. “It makes me look like I have big old love handles.”
Boone went on to moan “It makes me look fat, and I’m not fat.”
Of course, while the launch of Nike’s apparel focused on how it looked on quarterbacks and running backs, the blockers were almost entirely absent at the event.
Nike hit back at the claims, explaining: “We have 40 years of experience in the football business and the idea in our products is for optimal performance and we work with the athletes to find fit and function.
“The uniforms are available in a variety of sizes and cuts for different players with enhanced performance in mind.”
Concerns over whether cheerleaders’ – or other mid-match entertainers’ – uniforms were too tight were not raised.
Tony Blair's credibility with football fans has never been particularly high but a note he scribbled on a memo briefing him on an independent review of the Hillsborough disaster in 1997 shows just how out of touch the prime minister was in terms of understanding the collective feeling within the beautiful game.
The home office memo shows a note reading “Why? What is the point?” written by the then-prime minister.
The briefing memo, written by Blair’s deputy chief of staff Elizabeth Lloyd, explained why home secretary Jack Straw was to announce the inquiry.
The memo, uncovered by Liverpool Echo journalist John Siddle and tweeted by Ian Herbert of The Independent states: “There is no intention it should be another Taylor Report, but it should examine whether the new evidence warrants a new enquiry (public or coroner's) or further prosecutions.
“Undoubtedly it is a response to public pressure, especially locally. JS [Jack Straw] does not believe that there is sufficient new evidence for a) a new inquiry, b) re-opening the inquest or c) prosecution of individuals. However, he believes that this is not publicly acceptable unless it comes from an independent source.”
While Blair’s comment can be interpreted in numerous ways, his response provides another example of why the families of the Hillsborough victims have had to wait so long for justice.
You can see the document here
Anyone awarding the 'man of the match' accolade may soon have to pay as the trademark for the phrase goes on sale.
Bookies, pundits and managers have awarded the accolade of ‘man of the match’ for decades, but soon anyone using the phrase may have to pay for the privilege.
OFS Group, an intellectual property firm first registered a trademark on the expression in 2002, but now it’s up for sale.
Expected to fetch a six or seven-figure price tag, bookmakers such as Ladbrokes and Paddy Power, as well as beer firms including Budweiser and Carlsberg have already shown interest.
The current owners OFS, already license the trademark for use on the packaging of KP Peanuts and McCoy’s crisps, but the new buyer could effectively penalise any company which uses the phrase without their consent.
The sale of the trademark also includes the website address motm.com.
The deadline for offers is set for this Thursday, after which anyone praising a star player better watch their words.
After several injuries Scotland's women's team picked an unsuspecting substitute from the stands
It’s every football fan's fantasy – you’re watching your team play when injury means they’re a player short. Standing in the crowds, you pull out your boots, step up to the pitch and save the day.
For Sarah Crilly watching Scotland’s women’s team last week, this became reality.
Unfortunately for the 20-year-old Scot though, she hadn’t packed her boots or kit so entered the match in three pairs of socks and boots that were two sizes too big.
But despite the get-up Crilly fulfilled the dream when she scored the equalising goal for her country’s side in the friendly against Norway.
To the disappointment of some imagining this could happen to them at the next World Cup, Crilly is not in fact an unknown fan to the Scotish women’s football team.
Just one day before the game she had been asked to train with the team and currently plays for Hamilton Academical.
Semi-pro player or not however, the substitution was certainly a surprise to the young player who explained she was waiting for a cup of tea when the team administrator asked her if she’d brought her boots.
Scotland has two Euro 2013 qualifiers later this month, and we’ll be watching closely to see if Crilly’s football fairytale will end with a permanent place on the team.
Who should win PFA Player of the Year?
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- Luis Suarez
- Steven Gerrard
- Daniel Sturridge
- Yaya Toure
- Eden Hazard
- Adam Lallana