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11 February 2011 ~
It is often said there are two sides to every story. Except in the case of the saga surrounding the future of the Olympic Stadium, in which everyone is in the wrong. The obvious solution is for Spurs and West Ham to share the tenancy, with a neutral colour for the seats and a suitably imposing statue of the business titans Alan Sugar and Karren Brady linked arm-in-arm. An appropriate legacy – for the pigeons.
Badge of the week ~ Bray Wanderers
The best badges, like the best songs and indeed the best stories, tell a story. And Bray Wanderers' club logo is a fine example of the breed. There is, as we know, no drama without conflict, and here we are privy to the tension generated between a couple who have been together for so long, know each other so well, that they have stopped seeing each other, if you will. The lion, who met the mermaid 20 years ago at a land mammal/water-breather meet-n-greet dinner-dance, is pacing up and down outside her sea cave while she takes an absolute aeon straightening her hair.
The lion is keen to get going because he booked tickets to see the theatrical version of The A-Team at the Aldwych Theatre, London, starring Justin Bieber as Face and, with his keen lion's hearing, he has just heard the five-minute bell (pictured) even ten miles away and down beneath the waves. He won't say anything directly to her, but when she finally emerges he will not have it in him to say how nice she looks and she will notice this and then he will be extra huffy with any obstacle that impedes their journey to the theatre.
And why doesn't she say anything about how nice he looks ever? Yet she never misses an episode of Mistresses on their specially adapted underwater television, mostly because of that actor she likes who's in it. The crow is in there as the symbol of death, of the unannounced death of the relationship. An absolute domestic psychodrama, this badge, and a credit to the Bray team. Cameron Carter
from Russell Galbraith
"I was delighted to have witnessed the miss of the season by Inverness's Adam Rooney in last Saturday's cup tie against Morton (at about 3.55). Whoopsadaisy. "
from Tony Cole
"Watching the second half of the relatively entertaining Denmark v England friendly, I noticed that Canal 9 had secured a prime slot just behind the attacking left post. The position of the half-way line main camera meant that Thomas Sorensen's post obscured the opening letter of the said advertising board leaving a word normally associated with pay-per-view satellite channels. I wonder if Howl readers can recall any other X-rated football advertising caused by lost consonants?"
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Kilmarnock home, 1993-94
Despite Kilmarnock having played in either blue-and-white stripes or hoops since 1895 the club chose to mark their return to the top flight of Scottish football after 11 years with this plain Matchwinner affair. This shirt has the look and feel of a change kit, which is what it became the following season as the home top reverted to stripes. It was certainly easier on the eye than the sky-blue-flecked-with-bird-splatter abomination sported in the promotion campaign of 1992-93.
More recently, the club introduced an all-purple change kit which the players came to regard as unlucky. Despite being retained as a third strip for 2009-10, the team wore their blue training tops rather than run out in the offending garment in a game against Celtic. This shirt was part of the club's own Killie 1869 range. In an effort to cut costs, the club deals direct with a factory in Bulgaria and markets the kit under this brand, 1869 being their foundation year.
Killie started 1993-94 as favourites for relegation, especially as league reconstruction meant three clubs faced the drop. They stayed up, however, clinching survival on the final day. Sadly and poignantly, this was to be the last game for player-manager Tommy Burns, the club's talisman during their rise from Division Two. A month later he left to manage Celtic in somewhat acrimonious circumstances. However, for a generation of Killie fans he is remembered as one of the best players to have donned the stripes and, for this season only, plain white. Andy Wilson
from Martyn Fisher
"I'm guessing this Wikipedia entry for the Reading striker Mathieu Manset was produced by someone out of touch with the lifestyles of 21st century footballers."
from David Corrie
"Mark E Smith once observed that when dressed in regular clothes, Michael Owen and Alan Shearer strongly resemble off-duty policemen. Shearer's tendency to take a wild lunge at the concept of smart-casual was all too prominently displayed on last Sunday's MOTD2 when he wore a terrible shirt – brown with white collar and cuffs. I tried turning the sound down but it didn't help. I realise that such sartorial blunders seem minor when compared with the excesses of Gray and Keys but they also offend against common decency. At the very least there should be a 'red button option' that would allow viewers to blank out his torso. Oh, and his big smirking tight-lipped face too, thank you."
This week in history ~ League One, February 12, 2005
A goal by Croatian midfielder Ahmet Brkovic allowed Mike Newell's Luton to extend their lead over their main rivals. Luton were top for all but one week of the season and won the title by 12 points from Hull. Steve Howard was their top scorer with 18 goals. Just five seasons later Luton were in non-League football, having twice occurred heavy points deductions for financial malpractice.
Although Hull scored 80 goals Northern Ireland striker Stuart Elliot was the only Tigers player in double figures, his total of 27 making him the division's top marksman jointly with Bradford's Dean Windass. Second top scorer on nine was Nick Barmby, playing a first season with his hometown club after signing from Leeds. Hull's manager Peter Taylor left for Crystal Palace at the end of the following season; his successor Phil Parkinson was quickly replaced by Phil Brown who took Hull into the Premier League in 2008.
Scottish striker Steve MacLean scored Sheffield Wednesday's goal in the home defeat by Bradford and went on to get their equalising penalty in the play-off final against Hartlepool, who had led 2-1 with eight minutes to go. Wednesday went on to win 4-2 in extra time through goals from Glen Whelan and Drew Talbot. The beaten semi-finalists were Tranmere and Brentford – the latter have been in League One play-offs six times without success.
The bottom three stayed as they were. Table-proppers Stockport, who conceded 98 goals, took just seven points from their final 14 matches. On the final day, MK Dons were in 21st place three points behind Torquay but, to general dismay, they stayed up through beating Tranmere while their rivals lost at Colchester.
Wrexham's goal against Torquay was scored by Spanish striker Juan Ugarte who had a sensational debut season, his 17 goals in 30 league matches including five in a 6-4 win at Hartlepool and all four in a 4-3 defeat of Chesterfield, whom he also scored against in Wrexham's LDV final win. However, Ugarte got injured after moving to Crewe in the summer of 2005 and was unable to revive his career after moving back to Wrexham; he retired in 2008 aged 27.
Both Swindon's goals in their win over Barnsley came from 23-year-old Sam Parkin. He attracted widespread interest after scoring 67 times in three seasons with the Robins but has been unable to replicate that form in spells with four other clubs; he is currently with St Johnstone.
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