THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
7 October 2011 ~

The arrest of his father over an alleged betting scam hasn't caused Wayne Rooney to consider pulling out of England's match with Montenegro. Could it be that his dad has had a big wager on Wayne junior being the first scorer?

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Badge of the week ~ FK Mornar, Montenegro
In Montenegro they have different training methods to the rest of the world. FK Mornar, one of the earliest established Montenegrin teams, introduced a revolutionary technique in the 1950s which had as its core principle the strengthening of commitment in a 50-50 challenge. Initially the club sourced a mad scientist – he was in the phone book – who they contracted to create an army of giant ants with the ability to walk upright. According to the club's foremost history text, Running With Ants, the first batch were indeed larger than man-size, but instead of marching menacingly en masse they strolled around in pairs. The second batch, however, were perfect for the task and Mornar's playing staff were asked to dribble the ball towards individual giant ants without losing their nerve. Those who survived found they were no longer pulling out of the big tackles and Mornar's second-ball win ratio quickly became the talk of the Balkans. As an unfortunate postscript, the giant ant army escaped two years later and briefly colonised the entire country, a period of terror during which the quality of state television deteriorated, according to most critics. Cameron Carter

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from James Waterson
"I enjoyed the mention of a rabbit on a lead at the Builth Wells in last week's Howl. But what's the best animal that Howl readers have seen at a football ground? Earlier this month I went to see Sutton United v Dorchester Town. After Sutton won 3-1, one joyous fan grabbed his Jack Russell and held it above his head in celebration. No word on whether the dog was as enthusiastic about Paul Telfer's performance as his owner."

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Nice to see that there is some good news for the beleaguered Steve Kean. The squirrel sketch he did for charity has attracted fierce bidding on Ebay.

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from Graeme Rayner
"Joey Gudjonsson seems to doing very well for himself according to Wikipedia."



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This season's Daily Round-up section of the Sky Sports Football Yearbook (formerly known as Rothmans) looks like the work of a student helper angling for a job on the Daily Star. Highlights include:

Will Peking duck final offer for Liverpool?
Wigan peers into the abyss as Chelsea blisters them for six.
Montenegro (who?) beats Swiss.
Wales are hoping for a Bale in.
Frogs leap over sad-looking England.
Blatter get his chopper out.
HRH the boy Wills and Becks join exodus for Zurich D-Day.
Ruskies get it!
Kraut Bierhoff ridicules England boasts.
Man C Toure de force, okay, Ya (Ya) as Roo-less Man U loses Scholes to a card and the semi-tie.
No Hawk-Eye, just one lino getting the bird.
Dictator Blatter wins vote. PM Dave has a swipe at FIFA.
U17s beat Argies on pens.

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from Graham Young
"The recent European court ruling in support of the pub that shows Saturday afternoon Premier League games mentioned that they would not have the rights to also broadcast the 'official Premier League anthem'. I didn't know such a thing existed but it seems that it changes every season and this is the latest one. Unsurprisingly, it's rubbish."

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Paul McGrath's charity single is a rather mournful affair but he wouldn't want risk something more dance-based in view of his wonky knee.

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Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Racing Club away, 2000-01
This shirt is from the darkest era in the history of one of Argentina's biggest clubs. In March 1999, Racing Club were declared bankrupt – the first (and still only) of Argentina's Big Five to, as the receiver put it, "cease to exist". They were allowed to continue competing, however, and it was halfway through the 2000-01 season that new owners took control. Racing finished bottom of the 2000 Torneo Apertura (the half of the top flight season which runs from August to December), and at the turn of the year were acquired by Blanquiceleste SA

After fifth place in the Torneo Clausura (the second half of the season), Racing won the 2001 Torneo Apertura, 12 months after finishing bottom – the club's first title in 13 years. The new owners were hated by the fans, though. During Blanquiceleste's time in charge there were yet more unpaid debts, failed payments to players and appeals for bankruptcy, all while the team dropped into trouble in Argentina's three-year-long relegation table. In mid-2008, the fans won: Blanquiceleste's governance of the club was declared illegal, and the club was returned to the fan ownership model on which nearly all Argentine clubs are run.

The shirt itself has been sadly almost forgotten. The crest between the manufacturer's logo and the club's badge is in commemoration of the 1967 Intercontinental Cup triumph against Celtic. Victory in that tie meant Racing – the first non-British team to truly dominate the fledgling Argentine league early in the 20th century – became the first Argentine side at club or national level to be crowned world champions. They are perhaps the most realistic challengers to Boca Juniors in the current Apertura title race, but it hasn't always been so this century. This shirt is a reminder of that fact. Sam Kelly

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