Championship play-off contenders
18 April ~ It was 25 years ago, almost to this very day, that Reading played Wigan at Elm Park in the old Division Three. A crowd of just 3,800 stood in a sombre silence in memory of the Hillsborough disaster four days earlier. So much has changed: Elm Park, Springfield Park, the name "Division Three" itself, all gone. Back then Wigan v Reading had a decidedly lower division feel to it. Now it's a fixture that has taken place in all four divisions as both clubs have been companions in progress. Each have benefited from the paternalistic rule of "local" chairmen, Dave Whelan and John Madejski, and multi-purpose stadiums built in the 1990s.
FA Amateur Cup final, 1967
18 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.
17 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.
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".
May issue available in stores and online
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
by John McDermott
In 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
The Justin Fashanu story
How 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
by Keith Gillespie
The 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
The 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.
by Willie Morgan
If the purpose of this book were to rid Willie Morgan of the image of being George Best's doppelganger, it sets about it in a strange fashion. Behind the main picture on the cover, faint background images show Morgan at various stages of his life from babe to footballer but, inexplicably, the only other person amid these images is Best, Morgan's late 1960s and early 1970s fellow winger at Manchester United. On the inside back flap, there is a picture of Morgan in a United strip… along with Best. Read more
Notable kits of yesteryear
10 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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