Middlesborough defender Abel Xavier (above), famously sent off for a handball in the closing moments of Portugal’s semi-final loss to France at Euro 2000, faces at least a 6 month suspension after testing positive for an undisclosed banned substance prior to Boro’s UEFA Cup match with Skoda Xanthi FC last month.

Charlton and Fulham are currently slugging it out in South London, live on Fox’s fuzzy FSC. No matter how well the frugal Addicks perform, I can’t quite shake the episode of “Dream Team” from my head in which one of the coaches of the fictional Harchester United chews out a player who has been loafing through training, the joker’s excuse being that Saturday’s upcoming game “is only against Charlton.”

“Alan Curbishley and Clive Mendonca deserve our utmost respect!” replies the coach, in full throes of a Piniella-esque meltdown. You could watch British TV for a decade and never hear a more improbable line, nor one delivered with such venom.

There’s also the small matter of Curbishley and Eric Clapton begining to resemble each other, more and more with each passing year.