Money doesn't look like buying promotion this time
2 October ~ Thirteen games into the season and the Conference is beginning to take shape. Unusually, given the recent trend of financial basket cases and clubs on a downward spiral dropping into non-League and then struggling, last season's relegated teams – Torquay United and Bristol Rovers – are both in the hunt for automatic promotion. Both Rovers and the Gulls are in as good health as a team that's just been relegated to non-League can be and this has been reflected by their results so far.
2 October ~ FK Ryazan trace their lineage back to the Russian 5th Grenadiers of the 18th century. The "Five-to-Fours" were thus named because of their distinctive stance (pictured) when called to assemble. Only the "Five-to-Fours" could stand with their sword and scabbard at this particular angle as they had come up with the position themselves in a secret meeting and patented it. A bit like Alan Shearer's goal celebration and Gordon Brown's self-comforting tongue loll. Read more
29 September ~ An early goal from Robin van Persie secured the points for Arsène Wenger's most cosmopolitan Arsenal side to date. There were no British players among the 14 who played at West Ham and only two, Theo Walcott and Justin Hoyte, started league matches; Mark Randall made one substitute appearance. Arsenal stayed top, barring a couple of weeks, until late March. After 2-1 away defeats to challengers Chelsea and Manchester United in the run-in, they finished third.
28 September ~ Genoa face Sampdoria today at the Luigi Ferraris Stadium in the first Derby della Lanerna (Derby of the Lighthouse) of the Serie A season. While Genoa are 121 years old and the fourth-most successful team in the country with nine titles, it is the young Sampdoria – formed in 1946 – who have the most recent Scudetto. In 1991 a team featuring Gianluca Vialli, Roberto Mancini and Gianluca Pagliuca won the club’s only League championship. While Genoa trailed in a respectable fourth place, they at least had the edge on the derbies, drawing one 0-0 and winning the other 2-1, goals from Stefano Eranio and Branco cancelling out a Vialli strike.
28 September ~ Not that many footballers have had songs dedicated to them. But Brazilian midfielder Robson Ponte clearly impressed during his time in Germany, prompting techno producer Reinhard Voigt to pen this (slightly repetitive) tribute. Sent in by Chris Hill
Notable kits of yesteryear
25 September ~ Changing of club colours may be frowned upon, but Eastleigh have paid little heed. This season's Conference newcomers have had three major changes recently, turning out in white, royal blue and sky blue before reverting once again to royal blue; a predominantly white kit was worm for their debut season in the Conference South in 2005. Shirt sponsor Southern Exhaust Supplies had been with the club since the days of the Jewson Wessex League – a league which Eastleigh helped to found in 1986 – and no doubt harboured similar ambitions to cement a strong regional profile.
October issue available online and in stores
The new WSC is out now, dispatched on the day of order from the WSC shop
- Fans protest ticket prices
- Can standing return?
- Broadcasting special: MOTD at 50
- Brazil goes backwards
- Shildon v Crook – FA Cup starts here
- Where are the black managers?
25 September ~ Birmingham led Division One for the first and only time this season after two penalties from Paul Furlong beat QPR. They slipped back to fifth after losing three of their next four games and finished in the same position, losing in the play-off semi-finals to Dave Bassett's Barnsley who were beaten at Wembley by Ipswich. Manchester City had a chance to regain the top spot with a match at Ipswich the following day but they lost 2-1.
Torsvollur stadium is the Faroe Islands' 6,040 national stadium in Torshavn. It was built in 1999, replacing the Svangaskaro ground in Toftir. The distinctive angular floodlights were not added until 2011 and were used officially for the first time against Italy in September that year.
It's only September and Arsenal fans are already struggling with the ups and downs of modern football – and Danny Welbeck.
21 September ~ Manchester United topped the table throughout the season with an average crowd of 48,388, nearly 20,000 higher than the next best supported club, Sunderland. Striker Stuart Pearson, signed from Hull in the summer, was their top scorer with 17 goals, ahead of Irish midfielder Gerry Daly who converted five penalties in the first seven games. After their 4-0 defeat of Norwich, Fulham fell out of the promotion race, winning won only one of their next ten games.
Defender suspended for reacting to chants
1 October ~ Last weekend during a Moscow derby, Dinamo defender Chris Samba was the target of monkey chants from some Torpedo fans. After initially reporting the incident to the match officials, Samba reacted by showing his middle finger to the Torpedo fans. He did not return to the pitch in the second half. The Russian Football Union have closed part of Torpedo's stadium for one match but given Samba a two-game suspension for the gesture, though UK reports do not take into account reaction from supporters in Russia. Saul Pope has collated a range of responses from message boards and newspaper comment sections.
Building steadily in shadow of bigger rivals
30 September ~ Scotland's second tier was often the country's most exciting division even before this season's invasion by floundering heavyweights. Yet Rangers, Hearts and Hibs have already dropped points to the SPFL Championship's two part-time clubs: Dumbarton hosted Alloa on Saturday after both made major announcements regarding their stadiums. While unlikely to knock Liverpool's Anfield expansion off Sky Sports News, the Championship's "cannon fodder" are exceeding their modest ambitions. Those Scottish institutions embarrassed by reduced circumstances should pay attention.
Community-owned club paid off £7m
29 September ~ Portsmouth have announced that they are now debt free, just 18 months after becoming community-owned and two years ahead of schedule. The club have paid off £7 million and wiped out legacy debts from the previous administrations – including payments to players such as Tal Ben Haim, as well as Portsmouth City Council and four foreign clubs. Chief executive Mark Catlin said: "We are at ground zero now. This club was in a crater and we are out of that now with foundations built… It is important we stay under the microscope and cannot allow ourselves to go to that level again." The Portsmouth News has the full story.
Teams meet in the Championship today
27 September ~ Bolton Wanderers and Derby County go into this afternoon's game at the Macron Stadium after contrasting openings to their respective Championship campaigns, but there are similarities between the two sides that the home fans would do well to observe. Derby sit just off the early pace set by leaders Nottingham Forest having lost just once in their opening eight games, while Bolton take up an increasingly familiar position on the fringes of the bottom three after collecting just five points from a possible 18.
DC United v Tauro example of problems faced
26 September ~ "Road to FIFA Club World Cup" reads one of the ad hoardings in DC United's Robert F Kennedy Stadium. This is a useful reminder to the tiny crowd that has made the effort to come out on a wet, autumnal night for a Concacaf Champions League group game against Tauro FC of Panama. If it weren't for this potential goal of a December 2015 date in Tokyo against the likes of Barcelona or Bayern Munich, then a reasonable question would be: "What's the point?"
Owls face Man City in League Cup tonight
24 September ~ It's only seven years since Sheffield Wednesday took a Manchester City team containing Joey Barton to an FA Cup third round replay. That was probably the best Owls team since relegation from the Premier League and a lot has changed since, on both sides of the Pennines. City have added some billionaire owners, two League titles and a few cups while Wednesday are have just about clawed their way back to the same position after another stint in League One and a brush with financial meltdown. Yet Owls fans can go into tonight's League Cup third round tie optimistic that they can make an impact at the Etihad.
Supporters stand in silence for 15 minutes
23 September ~ For the first 15 minutes of Union Berlin's match on Sunday their fans, mostly wearing black, stood in silence. It was a protest at the ownership of their opponents, RB Leipzig, who are run by Red Bull. The Union fans also held up a banner reading "Football culture dies in Leipzig", making the point that clubs should not become marketing tools for companies but instead need "participation, faithfulness, terracing, emotions, pro bono work, financial fair play, tradition, transparency, passion, stories and independence". The Union In Englisch blog has details of the protest, as well as the strategy behind Red Bull's campaign.
Weekend defeat had feeling of inevitable
22 September ~ "Hope is a dangerous thing," the wise old convict tells his struggling fellow inmate in The Shawshank Redemption. "Hope can drive a man insane." Failing to heed his advice, Tim Robbins' character insists on swimming away through a pipe filled with human excrement in a thunderstorm, losing his favourite rock hammer and abandoning a steady job in the prison library for an uncertain future in the Mexican hospitality sector. Which all goes to show that some people won't be told.
Voters faced many questions
20 September ~ So the scare stories about Berwick Rangers queuing for hours at border posts to keep playing in the SPFL can stop. Fifty-five per cent of voters in Scotland have said they want to stay in the UK. But did football affect the result of the referendum? Did Scotland’s favourite pastime tip the balance away from independence? Westminster’s big hitters might have felt that the kilted Scotland fans proudly frolicking in Trafalgar Square’s fountain before the England friendly last August confirmed their casual assumptions about Scottish identity and Yes voters’ motivations.