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27 August 2010 ~
FIFA's World Cup bid inspectors got a Tube carriage to themselves for their travels around London this week but there is no likelihood of their being pampered. For their stay in Manchester they will be put up at the (bargain) Radisson Edwardian which is only £95 a night. This is apparently to show them the type of hotel the teams would stay in before matches. To add authenticity the England supporters band will be parping their war tunes throughout the night as that's what players have to get used to in a foreign country.
Badge of the week ~ Marsaxlokk, Malta
Startlingly garish, this badge hits you right between the eyes and just keeps on hitting. If the Co-op custard yellow wasn't enough to turn your stomach, the combination of this with royal blue and white might just tip you towards the bathroom. And then there is the trigger-happy use of lines and shapes: arcs, triangles, circles, crosses, stars – it is as if the designer found an old Spirograph set after drinking a whole bottle of Ouzo and then coloured it all in in just the right combination to enable him to throw up and start drinking again. For those readers under 40 who don't know about Spirograph, it was a boxed set of wheeled stencils that allowed children in the 1970s to draw fascinating patterns and geometric landscapes while gradually coming to the realisation they would never be in a rock band. Cameron Carter
from David Ross
"There was a striking example of Alan Hansen's increasing laziness on Match of the Day last Saturday when he kept referring to the 'Barclays Premiership', which hasn't been known by that name for three years. If he is quite settled in 2007, it won't be long before we hear him say that Nicky Shorey looks set for a long England career."
The Howl doesn't contain swearing as it would get caught in firewalls and spam filters so we can't say exactly what we think about this clip of rascally Robbie Savage. Just take care not to watch it while operating heavy machinery.
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Nottingham Forest away, 1995-97
Clubs were once proud enough of their colours only to change shirts in the event of a clash, but in the 1980s the marketing men realised they could sell twice as many shirts by branding them "away" rather than "change" kits. Few clubs choose their bitterest rivals' colour for an away strip, but travelling Forest supporters had to get used to seeing their team in the white of Derby County.
What many Forest fans wanted was a return of the all-yellow kit in which we'd thrashed our hosts 4-0 at Old Trafford en route to the 1978 League title and knocked holders Liverpool out of the following season's European Cup. OK, so the cotton shirts were a paler shade than the shiny, nylon shorts, but we associated them with our Glory Years.
At last, in 1995 a new yellow shirt appeared, the stripey collar possibly influenced by our late 1960s strip. The unsightly splodge on the front that makes the shirt look like it's been run over by a tractor is actually an interpretation of the club badge. Stuart Pearce and Steve Stone were wearing it when a somewhat surprised Steve Chettle scored at Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup quarter-final in March 1996. But it was also worn with rather less distinction by Andrea Silenzi, Nikola Jerkan and Dean Saunders, as its lifespan saw the last British team in Europe in 1995-96 finish bottom of the Premier League the following season. Richard Harrison
Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts
from Mark Carroll
"I'm sure you were as shocked as I was to read, in relation to his recent speeding offence, that Joe Cole apparently drives an Audi A4. A police officer was equally surprised to see such a thing and, happily having some video equipment handy, was able to record the amazing sight of a Premier League footballer driving the car of choice of most mid-management marketing executives.
I fully expect the PFA to be having strong words with Joe, for this surely counts as bringing his profession into disrepute. Most players do make the effort and drive rather gauche looking Bentleys or, at the very least, a Range Rover with a silly paint job. These players are providing the young fans of the land with something to aspire to, giving them important life lessons in avarice and gluttony; whereas Joe really is just letting the side down. I mean, most of their dads will drive an A4.
And if it had to be an Audi couldn’t Joe have made the effort and at least been seen in a Q7 – a car so ludicrous that Audi felt the need to name it after a Spike Milligan sketch show?"
from David Senior
"This claim about the notorious Robin Friday keeps resurfacing in his Wikipedia entry, though I gather that Lawrenson still denies it ever happened."
What do you suppose Gary Lineker means by saying that "we may be able to find a way round" the fact that his son didn't get the B grades he needed for a university place? It can only have something to do with revising for his retakes.
Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards
Luis Arkonada, Real Sociedad Panini Futbol 82 & Andoni Zubizarreta, Athletic Bilbao Panini Futbol 84
The Spanish season begins this weekend and there is little doubt who will finish in the top two places. In the early 1980s, however, Real Madrid and Barcelona were overshadowed by the two flagship clubs of the Basque region. In a run that will surely never be repeated, Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao won two consecutive titles each from 1980-81 onwards. As was the case in all the European leagues at the time, Spanish clubs were restricted in the number of foreigners they could sign, with only two permitted per team. So while they could outspend their league rivals, Real and Barça weren't able to field sides full of world-famous names as they can today (Diego Maradona had two underwhelming season at the Nou Camp from 1982-84). But the Basque pair were operating under a much greater restriction – they only used players born in the three provinces known collectively as País Vasco. Bilbao maintain this policy while Sociedad have since opened up to foreign players although they still don't sign Spaniards.
Sociedad had three forwards and two midfielders in Spain's 1982 World Cup squad but their 1980-81 title-winning team had one of the lowest goals-per-game ratio of any La Liga winner – just 53 in 34 matches. Like Bilbao later, their success was based on a solid and often fearsome defence and an outstanding goalkeeper. Luis Arkonada made nearly 400 league appearances for Sociedad and was capped 68 times for Spain. Andoni Zubizarreta succeeded Arkonada as the national team's number one and is the current record holder for Spanish international caps (126) and La Liga games, 622, more than half of which were made with Barcelona whom he joined in 1986. We're not being disrespectful to either keeper in pointing out that readers in Northern Ireland will also want to remember them for a couple of goals at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups."
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