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19 February 2010 ~
As you might expect the Premier League have made a right mess of punishing Wolves for fielding a weakened team against Man Utd in December. The decision to hand out a suspended £25,000 fine is unsatisfactory for a couple of reasons. It sets a precedent, so they will have to take firmer action if Wolves or another team do something similar in the future. But the fine is such a piffling amount that it won't act as a deterrent when relegation or Champions League qualification might be at stake. Of course, there can be no doubt that the Premier League will take a strong stance should one of the Big Four repeat what they've all done several times already.
Badge of the week ~ Karpaty Lviv
After last week's iconographic crossword puzzle, this week's crest is a less confusing affair altogether. A lion, a straightforward, honest-to-goodness lion, the staple image of so many clubs around the world. You know immediately where you are with a lion, you have to briefly channel Alan Hansen – strength, aggression, pace, hunger. All you could ask to symbolise in order to make a football team feel good about itself, from one easily-drawn animal. And yet this, on closer inspection, is not your run-of-the-mill emblematic lion. There is something not quite right about him. He is not rampant, he is not brandishing a sword, neither is he snarling viciously at something off-crest. No, he is clearly just strolling along, singing to himself. He is not even singing something confrontational or inspirational by the look if it. He looks like he's singing Embraceable You in light woodland. Perhaps Karpaty Lviv believe any lion is enough to intimidate the opposition, but they should have consulted a zoologist, because this lion is not dangerous at all – he has clearly just eaten. Cameron Carter
from Oliver Farry
"Regarding Sligo Rovers' badge mentioned in last week's Howl. The shell is the symbol of Sligo as the town's original name in Irish, Sligeach, means 'shelly beach'. The region's original inhabitants dispensed with their shellfish after eating and gradually created huge middens along the coast. The animal at the top is neither a wolf nor a fox but a wild boar (true, the graphics don't make this obvious). The boar is famous from a tale in Celtic mythology, where High King of Ireland Fionn MacCumhaill contrived the death of Diarmuid, the younger man who had cuckolded him, in a boar hunt. A boar finished Diarmuid off on the slopes of Ben Bulben, which dominates the skyline visible from Rovers' Showgrounds (and under which, WB Yeats rests)."
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Borussia Dortmund home, 1994-95
Whisper it quietly, but Borussia Dortmund's original team colours were strikingly similar to those of local rivals Schalke 04. The club was founded in December 1909 by members of a Catholic youth group whose chaplain was so opposed to the "rough game" of football that he banned his flock from playing it. The name "Borussia" allegedly comes from the make of beer that was on offer in the Wildschütz pub where the team was formed. The rebels initially chose to play in blue-and-white striped shirts, with a red sash to indicate their allegiance to the workers' movement, and black shorts. It wasn't until 1913, when Borussia were joined by local sides Rhenania, Britannia and Deutsche Flagge, that they adopted their kit of lemon-yellow jerseys and black shorts.
Borussia have stayed loyal to these colours ever since. It was in black and yellow that Dortmund won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 1995 and 1996, before going on to lift the Champions League trophy in 1997. From then onwards, however, the patience of Borussia fans has been tested by a series of unloved kit experiments, including fluorescent yellow shirts that looked like an explosion in a highlighter pen factory and a yellow-and-white striped abomination in 2006-07. The news that Dortmund were switching manufacturers from Nike to Kappa in 2009 also provoked fears that Kappa's traditionally tight-fitting shirts might not look too flattering on those Dortmund fans who enjoyed celebrating their club's pub-based origins on a regular basis.
Although some Schalke fans hoped that Dortmund would revive their blue and white jerseys to celebrate their centenary in December 2009, Borussia chose instead to bring out a dull gold "anniversary shirt" bearing the sponsor's name Evonik in shocking pink. Not sure what the club's founding fathers would have made of a garment that looked as if Situationist pranksters had launched a fondant icing attack on a Millett's polo-shirt. Paul Joyce
Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts
from David Lockyer
"Sky Sports presenters often read out viewers' texts and emails on pressing issues of the moment. During the various crises that have afflicted Liverpool this season, an Eddie Cavanagh of Huyton often crops up to call for calm, insisting that 'Rafa is doing a fine job' or 'the Liverpool board are doing their best'. But I'm inclined to think that the caller has named himself after this Eddie Cavanagh of Huyton, seen here outrunning the police."
from Graham Lester
"The fact that Junior Lewis has played for six clubs managed by Peter Taylor prompted a Wikipedia vandal to suggest that he'll soon turn up at Bradford with his old boss."
Touching the stars Playing with or against footballers, or indeed a celebrity of any kind
A few years ago a familiar-looking, slouch-shouldered, gangling presence turned out for the opposition in my works nine-a-side league. From across the pitch it was at difficult to work out which department of the "World's Local Bank" I'd seen him working in. It quickly became obvious that it was in fact not a bank employee but Chris Waddle. It wasn't long before the opposition were employing the Escape to Victory tactic of passing to the ex-pro who obligingly rattled the ball into the top corner, from wherever on the pitch he happened to be – a situation not helped at all by our sub-5ft keeper. Waddle continued to rip apart our awestruck defence, dropping a shoulder like it was Turin 1990. Deep in the second half, with his side six goals to the good, the Waddler made the mistake of attempting to defend and found himself on the wrong end of a good nutmegging from myself, duly celebrated as if scoring a winning goal. Late in the game I even heckled him as he volunteered to take a generously awarded penalty. He then shot me a look of utter contempt before driving the ball straight over our keeper's head and into the roof of the net. God knows how I'd have treated him if he hadn't been a Wednesday idol. Martin Kershaw
This week in history ~ Division One, February 19, 1972
Man City led for two months from the end of January but hit a poor run after signing QPR striker Rodney Marsh in early March. With a midfielder left out to accommodate Marsh, the team won only three of their last eight games. City striker Francis Lee was the division's top scorer with 33 goals including a record 13 penalties.
City were briefly top again after their last match of the season, a 2-0 defeat of Derby. Their title rivals still had games in hand, however. Derby won their final match but could still be overtaken by Leeds and Liverpool who each had one game left to play, on a Monday night two days after the FA Cup final in which Leeds had beaten Arsenal 1-0.
Leeds would be champions if they won at Wolves, or if they drew and Liverpool failed to win at Arsenal. Liverpool drew 0-0 with John Toshack having a goal disallowed two minutes from time. Leeds lost 2-1 at Wolves whose full-back Bernard Shaw got away with a clear handball in the penalty area. Several years later, former Wolves midfielder Danny Hegan was successfully sued by Leeds captain Billy Bremner for claiming in an interview that Wolves players had been offered a bribe to lose by their opponents.
Man Utd had been top for most of the season until early January. But their 5-1 thrashing at Leeds, a match that was goalless at half time, was part of an 11-game winless run and they finished eighth. George Best missed only two League games for Man Utd in 1971-72 but he appeared intermittently over the next two seasons as his career nosedived.
Nottingham Forest were in the bottom two for almost the entire season and eventually finished 21st, one place above Huddersfield. The Forest squad included two players, winger John Robertson and midfielder Martin O'Neill, who were in their League and European Cup winning sides of the late 1970s. So too were three members of the Derby side that beat Forest 4-0 this week – Archie Gemmill, John O'Hare and John McGovern.
WSC Trivia ~ No 87
You can now listen to WSC thanks to National Talking Newspapers and Magazines. Here's the editorial from WSC 276 read out in what we feel duty bound to call a mellifluous tone.
Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards
John Burridge, Aston Villa FKS Soccer Stars 76-77
In the mid-1970s a reporter who covered Stoke City matches decided to watch one of their away games among the travelling fans. He soon spotted a familiar figure in the crowd. It was John Burridge, then Aston Villa's first-choice keeper. Asked what he was doing there, Burridge pointed down at Peter Shilton standing in the Stoke goal: "He's my hero. I watch him whenever I can."
Burridge did a fair impersonation of Shilton throughout his career. There was a similarity in looks and build, and both devised their own idiosyncratic fitness routines which helped them to play into their mid-40s. Shilton ended his career by turning out occasionally for Leyton Orient. Burridge spent his early to mid-40s as a back-up keeper with a string of lower division and non-League sides. He retired aged 45 in 1997, having played for more League clubs – 15 – than any other keeper. His career highlights included winning a League Cup with Aston Villa in 1976-77 and a Scottish League Cup with Hibernian 16 years later. In his later years he also proved to be a valuable resource for TV producers who will have filed his name under Q for "Quirky".
Burridge was briefly player-manager of Blyth Spartans in 1997 but left after being convicted of dealing in counterfeit sportswear, which his own players had worn on matchdays. In WSC 159 (May 2000) Ken Sproat reflected on "Budgie's" final appearance in the limelight: "A documentary showed Burridge sleeping with his keepers' gloves on, clutching a football, before awakening at some ridiculously early hour to jump into his lunatic keep-fit behaviour. Thankfully it never showed him coming back from away matches walking up and down the aisle of the team coach stark naked – the most fearsome thing seen on the A1 since Dick Turpin's ghost."
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