Event takes place this weekend
2 September ~ Non-League Day, the campaign to promote semi-professional and amateur football, returns for a fifth consecutive season this Saturday. Although initially founded to channel supporters of Premier League and Championship clubs to their local non-League club by virtue of there being a "blank" post-international weekend, the event has evolved over the last two seasons to be more inclusive. In the past, some of the more geographically isolated non-League clubs have argued that with no big sides on their doorstep, the event had no relevance. To a large extent these were valid criticisms, which is why the focus has shifted.
31 August ~ Real Sociedad were knocked out of the Europa League by Krasnodar this week and, having lost their first La Liga match to Eibar, they now face the daunting task of hosting Real Madrid tonight – a team they haven't beaten in a decade. However, there was a time when the two were serious rivals for the Spanish title. In 1980-81 they finished level on points at the top of the table, with Sociedad's superior head-to-head record taking the first of their two consecutive titles. The video shows Sociedad’s final match against Gijón. Needing at least a draw, the visitors went 2-1 down before a last-minute goal from Jesús Zamora won the title.
28 August ~ The Wheat Witch of Nakhon Province is a marginal, unknowable figure in all the tales that are told of her. For one thing, her powers are only strong in areas of high wheat presence. So this is wheat fields and the cereal aisle of supermarkets. She did work the cereal aisle of supermarkets for a while, until a trainee manager at the local Tesco carried out a civilian's arrest on her for "dressing in a manner inappropriate to the public's enjoyment of the Tesco retail experience". And for "foul and derisive language". Read more
September issue available online and in stores
The new WSC is out now, available in all good newsagents or dispatched on the day of order from the WSC shop.
- Liverpool v Man City in New York
- When the FA Cup was king
- Football and First World War
- Soundtrack to the game
- Palestinian team in Chile
- League's lost counties
August 20, 1966, Division One
27 August ~ The 1966-67 season kicked off just three weeks after the World Cup final, and there was no break for West Ham's medal-winning trio of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, who took to the field ahead of the other players on a hot afternoon to be greeted by a widely bare-chested crowd. Not only did they play 90 minutes against Chelsea, but they had played through against Kaiserslautern seven days after the 4-2 win against West Germany, and in subsequent tour games at Lausanne and Karlsruhe. Across the three pre-season games, the Hammers used a single sub.
Notable kits of yesteryear
19 August ~ After wearing blue-and-yellow stripes for the previous three seasons, Hellas Verona president Alberto Mazzi designed this unique shirt for 1995-96 and presented the idea to Italian sports manufacturer Errea on A4 graph paper. The badge in the centre of the shirt was used for the first time that season, featuring a ladder and two mastiff dogs (symbols of the city) and Verona's coat of arms, a yellow cross on a blue background. The club was sponsored by famous Veronese chef Giovanni Rana, a fan of the club since birth and main shirt sponsor of Verona from 1989 to 1996.
The TD Place Stadium is the 24,000-capacity home of North American Soccer League’s Ottawa Fury. Located in the Lansdowne Park fairgrounds of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada, the ground has been used since the 1870s for a range of sports including lacrosse, rugby and equestrian events. It has undergone plenty of renovations, including in 1967 when an ice hockey arena was integrated underneath in the Ottawa Civic Centre.
15 August ~ Everton travel to newly promoted Leicester City this weekend for their opening match of the Premier League season. In 1977 the two teams met at Filbert Street in only the fifth game of Leicester's seventh consecutive season in the top flight. However, this match was a sign of things to come, with the visitors – who eventually finished in third place behind champions Nottingham Forest and runners-up Liverpool – winning 5-1. Leicester only won four games in the remainder of the season and went down on 22 points, bottom of the table and 11 adrift of QPR in 19th.
The secret world of José Mourinho
José Mourinho is a strange, as well as a special, one. He seems quite consciously and gleefully to play up to the stereo-type of a conniving practitioner of cunning tricks and brazen gamesmanship – a living affirmation of the lower morals of the southern European sort, with decent Englishmen being advised to be on their guard and lock up their wives and daughters should he attempt to beguile them with his oily ways. Read more
by Steve Leach
Often erroneously likened to a fifth division of the Football League, the Football Conference could more accurately be described as a halfway house. Non-League's top tier is home to a curious mix of teams; professional clubs who have fallen on hard times compete alongside new names making their way up the pyramid and getting a first taste of the big time. Read more
by James Ruppert
In 1970 the Ford Motor Company loaned every member of the England World Cup squad a car ahead of the forthcoming Mexico World Cup. With the exception of Jack Charlton – who requested a Ford Zodiac because he needed a bigger boot for his fishing tackle – they each received a Cortina 1600E. This is the story of how motoring journalist James Ruppert sets out to track down the 24 original "World Cup Cortinas". Read more
Lack of squad investment harmed chances
1 September ~ Two years ago Celtic beat Barcelona in the Champions League and finished above Benfica and Spartak Moscow in their group. This season their defeat in the qualifying round by NK Maribor from Slovenia sparked a fan protest against the board's failure to invest in the squad. After manager Neil Lennon left the club at the end of last season, the board replaced him with 38-year-old Ronny Deila. As a manager in Norway, Deila had won Stromsgodset's first league title in 43 years, while playing an attacking game, but he was untested at a higher level
Burnley can take advantage at Turf Moor
30 August ~ Some weeks back, when the Premier League's computer spat out the fixtures for the new campaign, it looked as if Louis van Gaal's introduction to English football was destined to be the smoothest of glides and the softest of landings. Swansea, Sunderland, Burnley, Leicester, QPR, West Ham: the way looked tantalisingly clear for Manchester United and their much-garlanded new manager to immediately put the horrors of 2013-14 behind them and build on their impressive performances during pre-season.
Fiorentina, Juventus could also challenge
29 August ~ Earlier this week it was finally confirmed that Italy had slipped below Portugal in UEFA's country coefficient rankings. We'd all been waiting for this one for some time; that the news arrived on the eve of a new Serie A season capped off another summer of missed opportunities and futile handwringing. The national team's abject showing in Brazil, the death of Napoli fan Ciro Esposito after he was shot during disturbances before last season's Coppa Italia final, the leaving of more young native talent and the appointment of a hapless septuagenarian as the head of the country's FA.
Event runs for a week in September
28 August ~ The first Manchester Football Writing Festival will take place between September 4-12 at venues across the city, in association with the National Football Museum. The even will begin with a live edition of the Guardian's Football Weekly podcast at the Royal Northern College of Music before featuring talks on football memoirs, novels and analytics. Many prominent football writers will be in attendance, including Sid Lowe, Graham Hunter, Jonathan Wilson, Michael Calvin and Matt Dickinson. More details and tickets can be found here.
Concern for fans over performances
26 August ~ Ally McCoist's current Rangers team, like everything at the club, are either acclimatising slowly to their only season in Scotland's second tier or are about to flatline. Performances in the first five games varied. Supporters' groups pushing for boardroom influence have boycotted season ticket sales. Directors, currently organising a "Fan Board", are hawking devalued shares to cover the shortfall. Anything less than a comfortable, stock exchange-pleasing win over Queen's Park in the League Cup first round tonight could force McCoist out. But dwindling crowds are weakening the board's mandate to sack him.
Last season's top two meet at Etihad tonight
25 August ~ It seems likely that fans of Manchester City and Liverpool will approach tonight's Premier League clash in stark contrast to the way they left their previous league encounter in April. A 3-2 win at Anfield left Liverpool on a high: with only four games left the elusive title was in their grasp and a sensational run of form had left their fans exuberant and full of expectation. City, meanwhile, skulked away with the resignation that it wasn't going to be their year. Neither set of fans envisaged the impending dramas to come.
24 August ~ The broadcaster James Alexander Gordon died this week. He had read the football results on BBC radio for 40 years before retiring last year. In WSC 60 (February 1992) Harry Pearson met him – and even discovered what he wore when doing his job
For over 18 years now, James Alexander Gordon has read the classified football results on Sports Report. His voice, with its immaculate enunciation and sternly stressed syllables, is as much a part of British Saturday tea-time as the jaunty rumpity-tum-tee-tum music which precedes it, Battenberg cake and meat paste sandwiches.
Commemorating Coventry's munitions factory workers
23 August ~ A match recreating a game played during the First World War between women from Coventry's munitions factories will take place this at 2pm on Bank Holiday Monday. Coventry City Ladies FC play the match at the Butts Park Arena and will be wearing First World War era kit with the names of the original players printed on their backs. The match is part of a project called "No Game for Girls", which seeks to tell the untold story of women's football during the War. More information on the background to the match can be found here.
Includes levels one to four of pyramid
23 August ~ A new app has been launched that shows the nearest non-League matches to the user for any day of the 2014-15 season. The app, currently available for iPhone or iPads only and includes lists for steps one to four of the non-League pyramid, encompassing 12 leagues. It means you can easily find non-League matches going on around you on any given day of the season and also has information on each club. It is available from iTunes and costs 69p.