Out: Queen (back – one week). It’s not often that a football team can include in the lineup: “Out: HRH The Queen (back)”. Yet that’s the news out of Arsenal today as an unexpected and costly injury puts Her Majesty on the sideline for what had been planned as a big day. Queen Elizabeth II was due to open the Gunners’ multi-million dollar new home ground. She would have met Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and captain Thierry Henry. But alas, she twanged her back during some downtime at Balmoral and you know it’s serious because she’s also a late scratching for the Ascot races on the weekend. The fact that Her Royal Highness failed to pass a Royal fitness test will cost Arsenal as they’d been cocky enough to already erect a plaque, announcing that HRH opened the stadium today. It will have to be taken down and replaced with one saying her husband, the much less exciting Duke of Edinburgh, did the deed. Questions must be asked of the Queen’s ability to keep appearing at this level of elite sport. Now 80, she has suffered from colds and other low level bugs over the past 12 months and has never recovered her zip across half-back after knee surgery in 2003.
Pub team unhappy with West Ham sledge. An English pub team has hit back after West Ham chairman Terry Brown lashed out at the Hammers after their eighth straight loss, saying they “may as well have fielded a Sunday pub team”. But Michael Carmody, the player-manager of West Ham’s nearest pub team, Upton Royal Oak, came right back at Brown, pointing out that, unlike the Hammers, his side occasionally won matches. “I saw what Terry Brown said in The Sun and thought it was an insult,” Carmody said. “We’d probably beat West Ham at the moment. We play on Barking Park. It’s not quite Upton Park but if they fancy a match I’d like to think we’d give them a run for their money.”