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11 November 2011 ~

Today's Howl has been done in a rush as we have appointments this afternoon to get poppies tattooed on our chests. Suck on that, Sepp.

Badge of the week ~ Deportivo Petare, Venezuela
Nothing shabby about this badge. No obvious signs of modesty either. This is a club that radiates pride and privilege. Not just one golden sash flicked gorgeously around the body, but two. This betokens glamorous self-congratulation – note how the badge appears to be hugging itself. Also, there is a cocktail party entrance about the whole affair, as if the badge is sashaying into the room wearing a legally decent two-piece to accentuate its womanly curves and a cluster of stars in its hair just in case anyone missed the dress.

You may get to meet this badge while moving in polite society and it may even talk to you if you're lucky, but you'll catch it occasionally glancing over your shoulder while you're telling it about the difficulty you have with your left sock – only your left sock, mind – getting caught at the bottom of your wellington boot, as it checks if someone more interesting than you has come in. Rather a nice badge to look at, but leaves one with a vague yet prolonged sense of inferiority. Cameron Carter

Kai Rooney, of whom we will be hearing a lot more, got a farm for his birthday with people dressed in animal costumes. Surely he would have been happy with a cake?

from Nathan Clifford
"In response to last week's Howl about Kevin Prince Boateng singing Happy Birthday to Al Jazeera, here is Milan's victory celebration after winning the league last season. Would the real Michael Jackson have enjoy being seized upon by a group of sweaty men in shorts? I think we know the answer."

from David Ross

"The start of the Times report on Man City's win at QPR sums up why I find myself hoping, for the first time ever, that Man Utd win the league this season."


Free tickets for the forthcoming England v Sweden game are on offer for the best commentary on this Alan Shearer goal. No entry is likely to improve on one of the comments underneath: "Release The Kraken". There should be a football highlights channel where the commentator just says this and nothing else."

from Richard Graham
"I nearly crashed my bike one morning recently when I saw José Mourinho's face emblazoned on the side of a taxi, plugging an investment company that shares José's 'passion for delivering results'. I felt suitably fired up for the rest of the day but oddly empty since."

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Grasshoppers home, 1993-94
One of the first acts of the Grasshopper Club Zurich (GC) when it was formed in 1886 was to order a set of kits, balls and hats from England. It has been suggested that they were sent some Blackburn Rovers surplus. In fact, it is much more likely that the distinctive blue and white halved shirts were an attempt to replicate sartorially the Kanton (county) Zurich flag.

GC have stuck admirably to the same basic design throughout their long history. The 1993-94 version is particularly evocative for GC fans as it represents the start of the last great era for the country's most successful club. Starting with a cup triumph in 1994, GC then won five of the next eight titles during a period when the club still enjoyed backing from the millionaire bankers of Lake Zurich's "Gold Coast". The anti-narcotics slogan was part of a campaign by the city council to tackle the heroin problem that was sweeping through Zurich. The epidemic has since subsided and the remnants are now dealt with by a prescribed methadone programme.

The club was coaxed out of their beloved Hardturm ground in 2007 on the still unfulfilled promise of a new stadium on the same site and have bumped along close to bankruptcy ever since. 2017 is the latest date to be pencilled in for a return home but after numerous delays and broken promises no one is holding their breath. For now, GC remain stuck in the soulless Letzigrund athletics stadium with a painfully young side that is struggling to live up to the deeds of their illustrious predecessors. Paul Knott

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