by Patrick O’Connor

THEY call it the close season – the time when the  league programmes have ended.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t much happening in the hurly-burly world of football, far from it.

Very important decisions are still being taken which will have a major impact on the game, one of which we will be able to witness in the forthcoming World Cup.

The International Football Association Board has decided that it is “unsporting behaviour” for penalty takers to halt at the end of their run-ups to try to fool the goalkeeper.

From now on this will be a yellow card offence.

“Feinting in the run-up to take a penalty kick to confuse opponents is permitted,” said Fifa’s Jerome Valcke.

“However, feinting to kick the ball once the player has completed his run-up is now considered an infringement.”

If players do feint at the end of their run-up and then score, they will have to re-take the kick.

Back on the home front, fans of Championship title winners Newcastle United have a very tasty challenge.

According to the Newcastle Chronicle, the club is appealing to supporters to help sample a new batch of match-day pies!

The paper reports: “The club needs 12 pie munchers to come along and taste pies.”

A club spokesman said: “We are exploring the possibility of bringing in some new pies for next season and, to make sure we bring our fans the best possible quality and variety, we would like them to be part of the decision-making process – hence inviting fans to come along and tell us which ones are the most popular.”

‘Who ate all the pies’ is a popular chant with English football fans and is believed to have first been directed at a Sheffield United goalkeeper called William “Fatty” Foulke in 1894.

The chant has also been linked to former Newcastle centre forward Micky Quinn who, during a game against Grimsby Town in 1992, picked up and ate a pie thrown on to the pitch.

Believe it or not, there are still matters to be resolved on the pitch before the glitz and glamour kicks off in South Africa.

Congratulations go to Blackpool who have been promoted to the top tier of English football for the first time since 1971 after beating Cardiff  3-2 in the Championship play-off final  at Wembley.

Blackpool’s average gate is  8,611, the second lowest in the Championship. Their Bloomfield Road ground holds 12,000 and their manager, Ian Holloway, was out of work for a year after being sacked by Leicester in May 2008.

Apparently his contract had a clause that contained a bonus for keeping Blackpool in the Championship and not getting relegated!

The Wembley game was a thrilling encounter, watched by 82,244 compared with the 80,100 who witnessed the rather sterile Champions League Final between Inter Milan and Bayern Munich.

Having watched both on television, the Blackpool match was much more exciting and entertaining.

Finally the BBC composed a list of some of the best football chants. Here are a few:

“We’re forever reaching finals, reaching finals in Hamburg.

“We’ll be on the beer while they’ll be stuck here

“Watching EastEnders with their old dear

“We’ll be on the Reeperbahn, they’ll still be in Dagenham

“We’re forever reaching finals, reaching finals in Hamburg!”

Fulham fans respond to West Ham’s ‘Bubbles’ chant.

“Does your mummy know you’re here?”

England supporters voice concern for their Egyptian counterparts at Wembley.

“I’ve got a park, that’s better than this,

“I’ve got a park that’s better than this,

“Its got a swing, a tramp and dog mess,

“I’ve got a park that’s better than this!”

Havant and Waterlooville fans take the mickey out of local rivals Eastleigh’s stadium, to the tune of When The Saints Go Marching In.

“Oh Big Brede (Hangeland), Whoa big Brede (Hangeland), He jumps so high (Hangeland), You know that’s no lie (Hangeland), He’s so rock steady (Hangeland), When you see him on telly (Hangeland), Oh Big Brede (Hangeland), Whoa big Brede (Hangelaaaaaand).”

Fulham’s tribute to giant Norwegian Brede Hangeland – to the tune of Ram Jam’s Whoa Black Betty

“What’s that coming over the hill, is it the taxman, is it the taxman?!”

Swansea fans to cash strapped Cardiff.

“He’s young, he’s flash, he fills the air with ash. Sigurdsson, Sigurdsson!”

Reading’s tribute to their Icelandic midfielder.