THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
9 April 2010 ~


Richard Keys was caught out making derogatory comments during Sky's coverage of Faroe Islands v Scotland two years ago. Now it's been reported that he was heard slagging off Theo Walcott during Barcelona v Arsenal on Tuesday night. His employers have played this down, saying: "Richard has no reaction." Although others may wonder why Sky's main anchorman comes across as such a charmless oaf.

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Badge of the week ~ Samtredia
The three-headed dove of Georgia. Many here would be too weak to withstand a jocular reference to the incident at Chernobyl but, of course, WSC is made of sterner journalistic stuff. There are two schools of thought on this badge. The first believes it to represent the three-headed dove of Georgia. Legend has it that, in times of trouble and uncertainty, the dove will give three answers to whosoever importunes it. Many people in modern Georgia try a doctor or Google first but the dove is still consulted by those who have fruitlessly tried every other avenue. The first head gives answers on health and prosperity, the second head will give answers relating to the future and the third head is really an admin head that takes your details and sends confirmation of the response. The second interpretation of the image is that of a funfair shooting gallery in which one pays a couple of roubles to take pot-shots at doves of peace rotating slowly into view. Somehow the cork never knocks the dove down fully and no one ever wins the box of Maltesers. And perhaps this is the true message of the badge – a good bird will not lie down. It doesn’t make any sense but it sounds like it really should. Cameron Carter

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from Ashley Manning
"As an ardent Fulham season-ticket holder and reader of WSC, I remember fondly the offers in your magazine during the 1990s to attend organised trips to Juventus, Inter and Lazio. Later on Saturday mornings I'd also watch Gazzetta Italia on Channel 4 and marvel at Oliver Bierhoff nodding them in for Udinese and Fabrizio Ravanelli slinking past defenders as he slotted in the decisive goal against a stranded Atalanta keeper.

I would then make my way to Craven Cottage and pay £12 to watch Terry Hurlock, Nick Cusack and company chase shadows. The whole experience was exquisitely completed by being reminded by a small but cruel clutch of away fans just how far lan Branfoot's black and white army had fallen. I'm not sure why these painful memories have returned to me recently..."

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Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Aberdeen home, 1994-95
Few Aberdeen fans remember 1994-95 with joy, and not just because of the outstandingly tasteless kit. As if it wasn’t bad enough to trail round Scotland looking as though someone had vomited with alarmingly precise symmetry on each shoulder, even the home shirt sported a peculiar thoracic-tattooing effect sadly lacking in elegance. So was the football, with losses as varied as Skonto Riga and Stenhousemuir, culminating in a survival play-off against Dunfermline. Not even Dundee United getting relegated instead of us could put a gloss on that.

Thankfully, although we still lose to lower division teams on a semi-regular basis, at least we now do it in plain red shirts. The 2003 centenary shirt used the evolving club badges to good effect, and two stars are now perched above the crest in honour of our European successes. Otherwise, there has been mercifully little sartorial innovation. As manager Mark McGhee's relationship with his squad deteriorates faster than Jordan's marriages (although with less impressive upper body development on display) the question is no longer whether the shirts are fit to wear, but which of the current squad are worthy of them. Perhaps a little design flair to distract ourselves might be preferable, after all. Dianne Millen

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

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Looking for somewhere to eat in Southport? The Liverpool captain might be able to help. Steven Gerrard has teamed up with hotelier Paul Adams to relaunch the town's Warehouse Brasserie. Steve revealed his plans earlier this week, while also sounding a cautionary note: "This is not a theme bar, it's about great food, great surroundings and making it a place that people really want to come back to. This is my first venture in the restaurant trade but I think it's important to also say that my priorities are, and always will be, on the football pitch." Little has been revealed about the design and theme of the restaurant but according to the bumph: "It has taken its inspiration from the new wave of 'hipster bars' popular in New York’s Tribeca district." The hipster factor might be undermined by Phil Collins being on heavy rotation. Unless that's what hipsters go for now in one of those double-bluffs for which they are renowned. Phil may even turn up for the launch.

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from Alex Brodie
"While I was listening to the Five Live commentary of Blackburn v Chelsea, an update from the Scottish CIS Cup final came in after a red card had been awarded at Hampden. Kevin Thompson (Rangers) was given the red card by referee Craig Thompson for a foul on Steven Thompson (St Mirren). I had hoped that by some strange twist of fate the two players were brothers and the referee their father, but sadly this doesn't seem to be the case. Is this a unique sending off (referee and both players sharing a surname) or is it a regular occurrence in, say, lower league Welsh football?"

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from Bryan Sharpe

"I was asked to find a picture of Carlisle's match-winning keeper Jimmy Glass for a college newspaper article about last-minute goals. A photo agency search on his name turned up an image of Gazza's close friend Jimmy 'Five Bellies' Gardner pretending to drink of out a glass containing a seahorse. It's quite a disturbing image not least because Jimmy's nose appears to be singed – this would have been around the time that he allowed Gazza to hold a lighter underneath it for a bet. According to the picture caption: 'Tynemouth Sea Life Centre took delivery of five of the tubby seahorses from Down Under and staff decided to invite Gazza's famous pal from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, to help settle them into their new home.' Why on earth would you do that? The transient nature of celebrity will no doubt be something Jimmy reflects on when he's next in the papers for propping up an inebriated Gazza outside a kebab house."

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Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Tony Warner, Fulham Shoot Out Trading Card, 2005-06
Tony Warner has made nearly 300 League appearances in a career that has involved spells at Millwall, Fulham and Cardiff among others. Born in Liverpool, he has been capped by Trinidad and was also eligible through family background to play for El Salvador. Warner stayed with Liverpool until he was 25 without featuring in a first-team game. But that's not an unusual statistic. The last home-grown keeper to play a League match for Liverpool was Billy Molyneux in 1964-65 at a time when Scottish international Tommy Lawrence was the regular first choice. Lawrence was succeeded at the start of the 1970s by Ray Clemence who only missed three matches in ten seasons; the two keepers who played during that time were Frank Lane, signed from Tranmere, and Steve Ogrizovic from Chesterfield. Bruce Grobbelaar then played for most of the 1980s, only losing his place briefly to Mike Hooper, who was previously with Wrexham.

The reserve keepers who have since played in the first team have all been signings, including two Frenchmen, Pegguy Arphexad and Charles Itandje. Other notable understudies include Chris Kirkland, who was hampered by injury after he arrived from Coventry, and the Dane Michael Stensgaard who broke his shoulder when dropping an ironing board. After his one match for Liverpool, Billy Molyneux played seven times for Oldham then dropped out of League football at the age of 24. So if you ever have a goalkeeping son who's offered terms at Anfield, don't let him gets his hopes up.

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