THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
23 July 2010 ~


We were going to say something about the Capello Index but it's so boring that we lost the will. Check it out for yourselves but have a strong cup of coffee first.

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Badge of the week
A special request to publicly shame this badge has come through from one of our Canadian cousins and it is encouraging to see that this kind of thing is not tolerated meekly in that country. It is possible that the club designed this to be a "fun" badge, erroneously believing that the word "fun" may be used inconspicuously as an adjective. The point here is that this badge is precisely no fun at all. This kind of image might be stimulating for a four-year-old but the correct club badge should display sobriety, tradition and a largish mammal. What this badge should depict probably – and it's a missed opportunity – is a mounted policeman asking a moose to move on. This would give more of a sense of place and would also be instructional in some way. When you have the option of a moose or a soccer ball impersonating a fun meteor on a fleur de lys (it's not a maple leaf, incidentally, I checked), you must choose the moose every time. Cameron Carter

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from G McGinley
"On the subject of Alan Shearer's diabolical punditry as mentioned in last week's Howl. I wonder if his habit of dropping a big flat-vowelled 'But…' to separate two bland phrases is something he does in his regular life: 'I'd prefer a Hobnob with my mug of tea BUT will make do with a Garibaldi'; 'The kids left the front door open again BUT I've went and shut it.' Also no other pundit can match his flair for stating the obvious. When asked to explain what a player did wrong when missing a sitter from six yards he will usually say simply: 'He didn't get enough on it.' Why not just say, 'He failed to kick the ball in the goal' and have done with it, Alan?"

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from Peter Cowell
"The things you can find on the internet. Five years ago I was at a testimonial match involving Staines and AFC Wimbledon, during which the ball disappeared into the untamed jungle behind the stadium. After a considerable delay it was retrieved by one of the players, as can be seen here. A friend went to help and hasn't been heard from since so I assume that he has set up home somewhere out there in the long grass."

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Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Olympique Marseille 1987-88
I don't have the official stats, but I reckon Olympique de Marseille's 1987-88 strip is the only kit in history to have incorporated a house into its design. Sponsors Maison Bouygues, named after founder Francis Bouygues, were a housing construction company that continues to flourish (as Bouygues Immobilier) today.

The other distinctive feature of the shirt was the length of the sleeves. They hung slightly below the players' elbows. Other French kits of the era were similar to their English counterparts – tight across the chest with conventional short-sleeves and high-cut shorts.

Marseille finished the season sixth, 11 points behind Arsène Wenger's title-winners Monaco. This was a disappointing return on owner Bernard Tapie's considerable investment. Klaus Allofs and Karlheinz Förster were among the stars in a squad that contained eight France internationals, including Alain Giresse. The only Marseille player who had something to cheer in May 1988 was Jean-Pierre Papin, who collected the first of five consecutive Golden Boots thanks to scoring 19 goals.

In subsequent years, Marseille have had some illustrious sponsors – Panasonic, Ericsson – but a couple of dubious ones as well. Khalifa Airways, founded by Rafik Khalifa, paid for a shirt presence from 2001 to 2003. The company collapsed in 2003 and Khalifa fled to London. He was later sentenced, in his absence, to life imprisonment for money-laundering and corruption. James Eastham

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

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from Duncan Blackwell
"I see that the WSC World Cup diary skirted carefully around the issue of how Diego Maradona looked in his grey suit, settling on his contrite expression during the Germany debacle rather than the sheer incongruity of seeing him dressed like that. A friend watching Argentina's group games suggested that he looked like the father of the bride at a travellers' wedding, while I was thinking more of a busker attending a small claims court to dispute ownership of a harmonica. Best left unsaid anyhow but I've typed a whole paragraph here so will have to send it in."

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from Tom Aldous
"According to Wikipedia, Oyvind Leonhardsen has found an unusual post-football vocation."

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from Mike Parker
"About a year ago I was in the UK to see family and catch a Man City match. Walking through Manchester Airport on my way to security, I turned a corner and nearly ran into Emmanuel Adebayor. A woman was trying to snap a picture of her husband and Ade but was struggling. He took it well, standing there watching her while hubby tried to tell her how to press the button. While she was grappling with the camera, I extended a hand and said: 'It's a pleasure to meet you.' He shook my hand and replied: 'Same to me.'"

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Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Alan Mayes, Swindon Town FKS Football 81 & Colin Lee, Tottenham Panini Football 80
Alan Mayes featured in this sticker collection as one of the "Third Division Star Players" having been among the division's top scorers the previous year. Colin Lee, meanwhile, came to national prominence after moving from Torquay to Spurs in October 1977 when Match of the Day covered his debut against Bristol Rovers in which he scored four goals in a 9-0 win. He had moderate success in two further seasons before moving to Chelsea. Which is where our story starts.

Lee scored 14 goals in Chelsea's first 20 matches in Division Two in 1980-81. Just before Christmas, with the club second in the table, manager Geoff Hurst signed Alan Mayes to boost the promotion push. Incredibly, Chelsea then failed to score in 19 of their remaining 22 games. Mayes was on target in the three matches in which they did score, getting a goal in a 3-0 win over Shrewsbury on January 31 followed by two more in the next match, another 3-0 victory, versus Cambridge. His final goal was in a 2-0 defeat of Bolton in March. Colin Lee only scored once, a penalty in the win against Shrewsbury.

Hurst rarely made any changes to a small first-team squad during the desperate goal drought – Chelsea used 21 players in total but three of those only played a couple of games each. The team couldn't manage a goal in any of their last nine fixtures and in 11 consecutive away games but, thanks to their good start, they finished in a relatively respectable 12th place. Neither of their main strikers seemed to bear any scars from their barren run. Mayes stayed with Chelsea for another two seasons, scoring 15 goals in 53 games before retuning to Swindon, while Lee was with the club until 1987.

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