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Aston Villa in reverse amid backroom staff confusion

Paul Lambert's two closest assistants suspended

icon villaslip19 April ~ This is the fourth season in a row that Aston Villa have haunted their followers with the threat of relegation, the limp surrender 1-0 at Crystal Palace last Saturday being the fourth straight loss in another stop-start season. For every glorious win over the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City, there have been multiple let downs at Villa Park as a season-record ten visitors, most recently Fulham (2-1) and Stoke (4-1), so far have left with all three points, not to mention home defeats in both cup competitions.


Norwich City 3-5 Liverpool, Division One, 1980

20 April ~ Liverpool travel to Carrow Road today hoping to move a step closer to their first League title since 1990. A decade earlier Liverpool went to a Norwich City team unbeaten at home all season with the aim of defending their crown from the challenge of Manchester United. In a thrilling match that included a David Fairclough hat-trick, Norwich took the lead and twice came from behind to make it 3-3, the Canaries' third goal being a stunning volley from Justin Fashanu, before succumbing 5-3 in the final few minutes. Liverpool went on to win the title by two points.

WSC 327 out now

May issue available in stores and online

wsc327 The new WSC is out now, in all good newsagents or dispatched on the day of order from the WSC shop.

- The Messi phenomenon
- Fans unite over Hillsborough
- Bayern: a problem for Germany?
- World Cup shirt frenzy in Brazil
- Players must stop not celebrating
- Newport County's revival

Get with the programme ~ Enfield v Skelmersdale Utd

FA Amateur Cup final, 1967

EnfieldvSkem15018 April ~ Crowds at the final of the FA Amateur Cup (from 1974 the FA Vase) weren't quite what they had been in the 1950s, when five successive finals pulled in capacity 100,000 gates. But a three-quarters full Wembley stadium was 30,000 higher than the previous year's attendance, when Wealdstone had beaten Hendon. Perhaps the public imagination was ignited by the match-up between a storied amateur team such as Enfield FC – yet to lift this trophy for the first time – and an up-and-coming club from a Merseyside satellite town whose players were on average 20 years old.

On this day in history ~ Division One, 1920

D1 170420 RESULTS17 April ~ Leaders for most of the season, West Brom had clinched their first and to date only title a week before with victory over Bradford Park Avenue. Officially the team didn't have a manager – secretary Fred Everiss was in charge, aided by chairman William Bassett who had played in the Albion side that won the 1888 FA Cup. The champions featured six international players including wing-half and captain Jesse "Peerless" Pennington who won 25 England caps and striker Fred Morris, the league's top scorer with a then-record 37 goals.

World Cup songs ~ Mexico

16 April ~ Several countries have launched official songs for the World Cup. Here's Mexico's. You'll understand why it has more "dislikes" than "likes".

Book review: It's Not All Black & White

by John McDermott

326 McDerIn many ways John McDermott's book is the archetypal lower-league autobiography. You have contractual wrangles and several relegations shot through with moments of glory, laddish hijinks on pre-season tours of Scandinavia, a touching sense of wonder when the player crosses paths with his contemporaries from the Premier League and transcription from interview tapes with a minimum of editorial effort. Rather than leave for a new club every chapter, though, McDermott spends all of his 21-year, 750-match career with Grimsby Town. Read more

Book review: Forbidden Forward

The Justin Fashanu story

326 FashHow much is there left to say about a man of whom so much has already been said? This biography of Justin Fashanu will certainly not be the last. The sleeve notes of Nick Baker's Forbidden Forward promise more detail than ever before and to identify "those who are to blame for his untimely death". Read more

Book review: How Not To Be A Football Millionaire

by Keith Gillespie

326 GillespieThe advance publicity for, and newspaper serialisation of, Keith Gillespie's autobiography concentrated heavily on his prodigious gambling habit. Given that Gillespie estimates he squandered around £7 million over the course of his career this is understandable, but How Not To Be A Football Millionaire is much more than a tale of beaten dockets. To his credit, Gillespie refuses to wallow in self-pity or to portray himself as a particularly likeable man. Read more

Scenic surroundings of Werder Bremen's Weserstadion

Werder300The Weserstadion is the 42,500-capacity home of Werder Bremen in Germany. The stadium is situated on the north bank of the Weser River and surrounded by parkland but was turned down as a host venue for the 2006 World Cup.

Getting shirty ~ Barnet 2005-06

Notable kits of yesteryear

barnet15010 April ~ Barnet began their second spell in the League by topping the table after a month but then failed to win in League Two until Halloween weekend. Their only successes during this spell came in knock-out competitions, including victories over Bristol City and Plymouth that saw Paul Fairclough's side draw Manchester United away in the Carling Cup. The club tried to make the most of the publicity by launching this limited-edition commemorative shirt.

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