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To Part 1... As dawn's first light stroked a sepia outline to London's silhouette, for the first time in weeks, I allowed myself the slightest of smiles. As far as leads went it was a long shot but in a case like this where everything else had come up cold, a long shot was all I had. I jumped into my car — a 1996 Ford Facial with a unhealthy thirst for oil — and headed downtown for HQ. I like to drive, it gives me time to think.

For the purist, the beautiful game is not something to be tinkered with, but for the rest of us, there's a world of football half-breeds out there and some of them are worth a closer look. With Euro 2016 on the horizon, now's a great time to cast an eye over some of the more unique variations, ranging from the violent and bloody to the sublimely beautiful.

A turbaned Pashtun offers me a joint with a toothless smile and a nod of his head before he squats on his haunches. "Afghanistan", he says, pointing to the joint and then to the right of the sun sinking slowly toward the horizon. Twenty metres to my left, a dozen men on prayer mats bow in unison toward Mecca — a thousand-plus miles to the west over brambles and hillocks of scorched, ochre earth. If nowhere has a middle, it's got to be close.

It was during the frankly disastrous 1936 World Fair in Ljubljana that Cartwright P. Moocjheenie Senior (lover, philanthropist) unveiled the world's first city in miniature. It was never his intention. So elaborate was Moocjheenie's planning for a scheduled 1935 hit on the dastardly Baron Von Haystack, that the papier-mâché model he constructed to demonstrate his escape route to his MI6 superiors, grew from featuring Von Haystack's hilltop chateau, to take in the city of Gobblewurst including the local school, church, train station, bar, bakery and brothel.