THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
1 April 2011 ~

There were April Fool jokes in most of today's papers. Strangely they have all had the same idea, reporting that Liverpool's shirt sponsors, Standard Chartered, have requested the club sign Asian players. "We would love to have players of nationalities from the markets in which we operate," said chief executive Peter Sands. He added: "He's got to be good enough to be playing because it's no good having someone in the reserves." The best April Fools need to be plausible – the idea that someone would say that in public is ludicrous.

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Badge of the week ~ Samaraa FC, Iraq
While tigers and rearing horses are quite frightening images to go on your badge, Samaraa FC have pushed the intimidation envelope here by bringing the unconscious mind to the metaphorical table. Because, as the designers know, fear is a beast with many faces (one of which resembles Theresa May in greasepaint). Which, for example, is more fearful? A lion beginning to charge at you or a photograph of mother in a swimsuit looking rather attractive actually? You see? It's not so clear-cut, is it? The image here shows the cellar steps, the path down to our submerged thoughts. Would we, it challenges us, rather take this journey or that into the shark cage? Do we truly like our sister? Well why does she pretend to like the Killers? Also, why did I like Michael Rodd so much as a child? Was it purely on his easy presentation skills or the viewer-playability of Screen Test? Let's replace this badge quietly and get on with our lives. The lion takes one bite, my friend. The mind offers death by a thousand cuts. Cameron Carter

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Have John Terry and Frank Lampard ever looked more ridiculous, and yet somehow entirely themselves, than in these photos from the new GQ? The Terry picture in particular could work as a Spot The Ball feature with the ball's correct position being between his legs and hurtling goalwards.

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Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Bolton Wanderers home, 1995-97
Despite the modern fad for swathes of colour, this Bolton shirt is looked back upon as a bona fide classic. No messing about, no bright colours and most importantly no ribbons on the club badge. The shirt was worn in our first-ever season in the Premier League. Following our unfair relegation came our record-breaking Championship season where a team including Gerry Taggart, Scott Sellars, Per Frandsen and Nathan Blake won 28 games and lost only four, scoring 100 goals in the process.
 
The shirt also brings back fond memories of Burnden Park, that old-fashioned, grotty and downright scruffy ground with the superstore at one end, which was our home for 102 years. The final home game, a 4-2 win over Charlton, signalled our move to the relative sterility of the out-of-town Reebok. Although it is hard to imagine names such as Hierro, Anelka, Okocha and Djorkaeff agreeing to play at Burnden.

The next kit saw the first encroachment of underarm colour that led to recent versions that looked like something designed by Jackson Pollock or that elephant who painted in the 1990s. It can be no coincidence that our brief return to a plain white shirt in 2003-05 was the catalyst for a successful period which saw the club qualify for the UEFA Cup two seasons on the trot. Chris Manning

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from Jack Street
"Regarding the Newcastle Locals v Tourists T-shirt in last week's Howl. Naturally this makes no sense in Newcastle, but the origins of it are in Manchester, where City have produced one showing their kit as 'locals' and United's as 'tourists'. Because City think that all United's fans don't live in Manchester. As a Stockport County fan, I can only marvel at the sense of irony employed by City – a large portion of their fan base resides in Stockport, which, for the purposes of clarity, is in Cheshire."

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A woman phoned the WSC office this week to say that she wasn't going to renew her son's subscription as he has turned 30 now and "can buy his own comics". Ha. She's right, though.

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from Webbie
"Andy Sinton's Wikipedia entry has already featured in the Howl but now there is new information about his entrepreneurial flair."



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from Nick Appleton
"Some might think a statue of Michael Jackson will look a little incongruous outside Craven Cottage. Dickson Etuhu used a recent Evening Standard column to explain why the Fulham squad are behind the idea. The basic premise, that Mohamed Fayed is doolally and does what he likes, couldn't be expanded into an entire column so Dickson moves on to scary dogs and Roy Keane before returning to his chairman's famous friend in the final line. The game he is previewing became Fulham's 18th successive league defeat at Goodison Park so the relevant MJ song should, of course, be Bad."

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Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

David Rocastle, Arsenal Panini Football 90
This week marks the tenth anniversary of David Rocastle's death at the age of 33. He was one of a group of Arsenal youth team products – among them Tony Adams, Paul Merson and Michael Thomas – who won two League titles with the club. Playing on the right side of midfield, Rocastle didn't miss a game in the Championship-winning season of 1988-89. Having become a regular in the England side that qualified for the 1990 World Cup, he missed the finals due to a knee injury that continued to trouble him for the next two years. Although he won a second title with Arsenal in 1990-91, when he scored this spectacular goal against Man Utd, he was allowed leave for Leeds that summer.

Rocastle's career then went into a steep decline. With injuries seemingly affecting his confidence, he moved on quickly to Man City and then Chelsea, where he had only one injury-free season in four years. He retired in 1999 after a short spell in Malaysia and was diagnosed with cancer a little over a year later. He died on March 31, 2001.

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