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Who ate all the pies

Dip in to scour the latest Deadline Day titbits...

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This just in from F365: ‘Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has claimed England winger Stewart Downing does not realise how good a player he can be.’
No, but all self-respecting football fans know exactly how good he can be: not very good at all.

099sheva_468x369.jpgChelsea had their Christmas party last night, and as is often the way, it was a fancy-dress affair. John Terry went dressed in an Incredibles superhero outfit, Frank Lampard was kitted out like a 19th century French dandy and Claudio Pizarro looked rather convincing as a Roman Emperor (see pics from the party at the Daily Mail’s website).

Hucks truly is the master of the understatement: ‘I just ran with it, beat a few people and put it in the goal…’

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Pies presents the pick of the players from the Champions League group stage who have really caught our eye. That might be because they are world-class players performing at the top of their game or it might be because they made an impression against the odds.

Soccer AM spotted Sky Sports News’ Ian Payne craftily taking off Bo’ Selecta live on air. Announcing that Oldham Athletic’s Craig Davies had found the net proved too tempting an opportunity for Payne to miss.

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All is not well with the universe. Supposed runaway champions Lyon suffered a surprise defeat to Caen. Yoan Gouffran’s goal secured victory for the mid-table outfit. Second-placed Nancy managed to close the gap on Lyon to four points, but their 0-0 draw with Valenciennes meant they were not able to fully capitalise on the leaders’ defeat.

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Inter Milan are now five points clear at the top of Serie A after thrashing Torino 4-0. Nearest rivals Roma could only manage a 1-1 draw at Liverno allowing third-place Juventus to move within three points of them following the Old Lady’s 1-0 win over Atalanta.

Watford midfielder Al Bangura faces deportation back to his native Sierra Leone after losing his case to stay in the UK at an Asylum and Immigration Tribunal hearing earlier this week. Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd said: ‘We have one young man here [he's 19] who pays his taxes, has a fiancée and a newborn son […]

Please take a couple of minutes out of your day to fill in our lovely reader survey. if you do, you are in with a shout of winning a shiny new Apple iPod Touch 16GB, courtesy of our fwiends at Play.com. It’s worth £250 but you could net one for nothing. Hmm, I might resign […]

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1 Open a very high interest bank account for his £4 million a year salary.
2 Pick a good nickname for himself before the tabloids pick one for him.
3 Impose his expected WAG-ban on England meet-ups.

So, having played just one match each to get to the final, AC Milan will play Boca Juniors in the showpiece of FIFA’s wholly pointless Club World Cup. In front of a lively, 67,000 crowd in Yokohama, Japan, Milan edged a surprisingly tight match. A powerful run by Kaka set up Clarence Seedorf to score […]

624_1.jpgFrom our friends at Spurs Pies, I bring you this impressive rant, posted today. Essential reading for all Tottenham fans:
‘I’m angry today, because for the second time on Spurs Official, the club has posted a story telling us that from January 19 – our home match against Sunderland – a Controlled Parking Zone is coming into effect, which in short will prevent supporters from leaving their cars in around 100 streets near the stadium.

Filmed by some English lads in Chicago. Shameful, blatant, hilarious.

Fabio Capello, England’s new boss if you believe BBC Sport, is not best pleased when Marcelo empties the contents of a drinks bottle over his head. England players, beware. Via Guardian Sport Blog

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Arsene let a few of his kids loose at the Emirates last night, and they were just about good enough to defeat a mediocre Bucharest outfit. Theo Walcott missed a few good chances, but Niklas Bendtner scored and seems to be progressing nicely, although I’m not sure he’ll ever be a world beater.

Jonatan Maidana of Boca Juniors and Mahdi Ben Dhifallah of Etoile Sportive du Sahel compete for the ball during the FIFA Club World Cup semi final match between Boca Juniors and Etoile Sportive du Sahel at the National Stadium on December 12, 2007 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

Harvey Price’s football connections were never in doubt what with his dad being Dwight Yorke and his mum carrying a couple of footballs round in her bra. As if that wasn’t enough, he also bears a passing resemblence to Hedwiges Maduro, the Ajax midfielder who (as far as we know) is not the son of Dwight Yorke.
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This was the world-class player Chelsea signed for all those millions. What happened?

Talk about a moment setting the tone for a match. Rangers lost 0-3 against Lyon last night, but at 0-1 Jean-Claude Darcheville had a chance to get Walter Smith’s side back in the match. Somehow he managed to hit the bar when it seemed easier to score.

barwick%20england%20manager%20capello.JPGIt is good to know that Brian Barwick’s root-and-branch reform of the FA hasn’t managed to remove any of the organisation’s notorious leaks. Pies can say this with some confidence because this morning every man and his dog knows that at around lunchtime today that same Mr Barwick is due to pull a piece of expensive FA cloth from over the top of a Fabio Capello-shaped object in Soho Square to reveal that Fabio Capello is the new England manager.

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Ajax found the perfect way to bounce back from their first league defeat of the season. A 2-3 win at Willem II, PSV Eindhoven’s shock defeat at home to Roda JC and Feyenoord’s 0-0 draw with VVV Venlo meant Ajax moved back to the top of the Eredivisie.

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It sounds very much like Brian Barwick would like to get into bed with Fabio Capello (strictly FA business, you understand). Capello has had talks with the FA today and is expected to be confirmed as the new England boss by the end of the week. We won’t count our chickens just yet (because these things can change in the time it takes to say Big Phil Scolari) but do you think Capello is the right man for the job?

Apparently, David Wheater gets an extra push to tear through Ronaldo when you are behind him. There is a scary thought! This email viral has been sent to Boro fans by local boy David Wheater to inject some passion into the Riverside and specifically put some bums on the empty seats in the Riverside.

Sublime instinctive skill from Beckford. The 24-year-old striker is very talented, but also very inconsistent. If he could repeat moments of magic like this on a more regular basis, who knows how far he could go?

This photo was taken during yesterday’s Bayern Munich training session, ahead of the club’s Uefa Cup clash with Aris Salonica. Kahn looks happy, doesn’t he? He’s also starting to look every one of his 38 years… and then some. Photo Getty Images