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Spot the Ball;Diary

With the football season getting under way in earnest tomorrow, the Diary's attention turns to the fortunes of not-so-sunny Sunderland, which narrowly missed promotion to the Premiership after falling foul of a penalty shoot-out in a Wembley play-off against Charlton.

Still, there's always a silver lining, as Chris Hughes - the principal of Gateshead College and big-chief-in-waiting of the Further Education Development Agency - was at pains to point out. It was more than adequate compensation for the club, he opined, that its Stadium of Light had been declared a learning centre in the North-east.

Courses include the obligatory IT for the Terrified (for which, apparently, students include none other than the team's captain, Kevin Ball). Rumours of a follow-up, Penalty Taking For The Terrified, have yet to be confirmed.

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