A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
24 February 2012 ~
Stuart Pearce has put in a bid for the England manager's job at Euro 2012 on the basis of his tournament experience. But his main involvement at the 2010 World Cup that people will remember is being told to stand up, sit down and stand up again by his grumpy boss.
Badge of the week ~ ASO Chlef, Algeria
The Wheel of Fortune. Many writers and philosophers have referred to this concept throughout the ages. It is a recurring and central theme indeed of Shakespeare's King Lear, in which, if I recollect correctly, everything starts to slip a bit after the King's youngest daughter doesn’t get him anything for his birthday – "Nothing..."/"Nothing!?"/"Nothing."/"Nothing..." is how the exchange goes and it actually spoils the day. Most historic representations of Capricious Fate have the blind goddess Futura at the wheel, spinning it randomly, depicting the force behind the vicissitudes of life as invisible and inevitable, rather like a new album by the Stranglers.
Instead of a blindfolded madwoman, ASO Chlef have two dancing men in lion costumes in charge, their central message being "Life is a lottery – our happiness is built upon the despair of others, and vice versa". Which doesn't really require two men dancing in lion suits, only it comes across a lot more jolly with them in the picture. Cameron Carter
from John Mackay
"As a Burnley fan I would usually welcome national press coverage but if this connection means that we are compelled to stock Duchy Originals jam and biscuits in the club shop, I'm returning my season ticket.
Brian McDermott has signed a new contract at Reading – leaving for Wolves may have affected his Sunday routine according to Wikipedia.
Rio Ferdinand "has form as a mischief maker". Like that time he played hide and seek with drug testers when they came to take a sample.
A name to watch out for. Danny Dyer has spoken of him already.
If you like looking at piles of gravel and big circular concrete things, Rotherham's new stadium webcam is just the ticket.
from Duncan Blackwell
"Anyone guessing whose likeness has been shaved into this young man's head would take a while before they came up with Lionel Messi."
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Rangers away, 2002-03
After years of big-money deals with Umbro, Adidas and Nike, Rangers chairman Sir David Murray in 2002 took the bizarre step of announcing that the club's new kit would be manufactured in-house. This was supposed to allow Rangers to save money by selling their own strips direct from Ibrox, rather than submitting to the whims of big brands. Middle-range label Diadora paid the club £1 million to have their own logo emblazoned on the club's tops.
More controversially, Murray agreed to an orange away kit along with the traditional blue home top and white third jersey. Predictably, the orange offering was hugely popular, outselling the home kit for the first time ever. It remains Rangers' highest-grossing top of all time. Although Murray claimed the decision was made on an entrepreneurial basis rather than a political one, Rangers were widely accused of profiting from sectarianism.
The media storm did not affect the Gers on the pitch as they romped to a domestic treble. However, the club found itself on the receiving end of furious complaints from fans who could not buy the club-marketed kits from regular sports shops. The orange kit was dropped after just two months, while the in-house venture was eventually written off as a bad job as Rangers reverted to Umbro in 2005. James Prentice