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This happened for a week last season and things didn’t work out quite as I would have liked. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth celebrating again now.

After a hard-fought win over Hull City yesterday – the mighty Sheffield United are top of the league. And while I might not be the Premiership (yet), you can only beat who you’re up against, and we seem to be doing that quite nicely. Who knows if it’ll last?

I hope so, but in the meantime, some song lyrics come to mind.

Smile for the while and let’s be jolly
We shouldn’t be so melancholy
Come along and share the good times while we can

More tenuous football news links to one hit wonders from the 1980s will surely follow. Or perhaps not

Speedy

I’m not yet back into my running – my knee still doesn’t like that sort of thing. Once I’m able to start again though, my first goal will be the World Marathon Record, recently set by Eliud Kipchoge.

A bit of training will be required, obviously. But it was difficult to know how fast I’m going to have to go to claim what’s rightfully mine. So I shamelessly borrowed this table from here.

His half marathon time is only just slight better than half my half marathon time (albeit that he then went and ran another one in the same time again), so I reckon I’ve got this one sorted already.

Also, I can run 100m in far less that 17.3 seconds. It’s just that, again, I might then struggle to replicate it a further 421 times.

Everyone has been crowing about this amazing record and how long it is going to stand, but that’s surely only because my leg seizes up when I try jogging at the moment. I’m coming for you and your 2:01:39, Eliud.

I might have to use a car to get there, but that record will soon be mine.

Dudelange

A single second half goal was all the separated Italian giants AC Milan and Luxembourg club F91 Dudelange in their Europa Cup encounter on Thursday. I had to look up where Dudelange even was, but I found out some interesting Dudlange facts, which I’m going to share with you now.

Dudelange is Luxembourg’s third most populous town, with a massive 19,734 residents, meaning that almost 3½% of the country’s population live there.

Incredibly, despite the town’s miniscule size, F91 Dudelange was formed when 3 (three) other clubs –  Alliance Dudelange, Stade Dudelange and US Dudelange – amalgamated in 1991.

Dudelange is famed for the Dudelange Radio Tower: a 285-metre high freestanding steel framework FM radio and television transmission tower, details of which can be found on Wikipedia under three categories.

That last one relates to an incident in July 1981 when a Belgian military plane hit the tower, with understandably tragic results.

At the time of writing, the most recent post on the Dudelange town website is this one:

inviting local residents in French and German to come and pick their own fruit at one of the town’s four public orchards.

Dudelange has an inactive Twitter account with 70 followers.

Mancala

Today, if weather permits (and actual genuine spoiler, it looks like it won’t), I’ll be helping with recording a Guinness World Record attempt for the largest number of people playing Mancala at any one time.

What is Mancala? I hear you ask. This is Mancala (not, as Wikipedia first warns us, to be confused with mandala or Lake Manzala):

Mancala is one of the oldest known games to be played. Mancala is a generic name for a family of 2-player turn-based strategy board games played with small stones, beans, or seeds and rows of holes or pits in the earth, a board or other playing surface. The objective is usually to capture all or some set of the opponent’s stones, beans, etc. Versions of the game have been played for at least hundreds of years around the world.

It’s part of the kids’ school’s 20th Anniversary celebrations and I think it’s a great way to remember a special birthday year.

The students have made and decorated their own Mancala boards and learned how to play the game – which is no bad thing in itself, as this article tells us:

Because there’s a lot more to playing these games than just… well… playing these games:

The African continent has a long history of gameplay that extends back to pre-slavery and precolonial times. Board games, in particular, have been used to teach, or reinforce, values as well as cognitive and motor skills.

The list of requirements for a Guinness World Record attempt is unsurprisingly rather long and arduous, but the team at the school responsible for this attempt have got it all in hand. For my part, I’ll be taking Florence the Mavic up to record the fun from on high. I may have to hide her behind some trees to get some protection from the wind.

Having been desperate for rain for most of this year, the inevitable Whatsapp group set up to keep us informed with the latest updates is ironically suddenly filled with prayers for dry weather for this morning. It’s not looking promising, but we’re going to give it a go anyway – the fourth term calendar is too full to easily accept a postponement.

Wish us luck – and maybe watch out for some of my aerial footage illustrating a new World Record  for South Africa in the 2020 GWR Book.

The UEFA Nations League

I tried to understand what a UEFA Nations League is and how it worked.

Firstly, I went to the UEFA website: horse’s mouth and all that. And then, when my brain exploded thanks to lines like this:

Due to excessive travel restrictions, any group could not contain a maximum of one of these pairs: Andorra & Kazakhstan, Faroe Islands & Kazakhstan, Gibraltar & Kazakhstan, Gibraltar & Azerbaijan

I asked online for assistance, which came in the form of a link from The Guru. Thanks, The Guru.

Because yes, Football365 seem to have done a good job in attempting to simplify a rather complex format. And am I alone in thinking that UEFA might actually be onto something here? It actually looks quite good.

And there’s more great news for me too: Supersport – who failed to secure the rights for the English League Cup or the Championship – have managed to scrape some cash together to buy some UEFA Nations League goodness.

Tonight kicks off (quite literally) with the following fixtures:

Kazakhstan v Georgia
SS3 HD (4pm)

Armenia v Liechtenstein
SS3 HD (6pm)

Wales v Rep. Ireland
SS6 HD (8.45pm)

Germany v France
SS3 HD (8.45pm)

Slovenia v Bulgaria
SS11 HD (8.45pm)

Czech Republic v Ukraine
SS7 HD (8.45pm)

I know what I’ll be doing at 1800.