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9 March 2012 ~

When André Villas-Boas took over at Chelsea last year, we suggested he would emulate his compatriot José Mourinho in various ways. We just didn't think it would happen so quickly.





Badge of the week ~ PSMS Medan, Indonesia

This badge represents the vegetarian option. No tigers, portcullises or swords held high by avenging angels, just an unidentified plant rendered in calming green with a simplicity of design verging on the austere. I don't know if you have ever rented a cottage from a vegan, but when you look through the bare kitchen cupboards you will eventually locate a packet of stone-ground flour and a herbal teabag. That is the very essence of this badge.

PSMS Medan are telling us that they are a wholesome team and a healthy team, but the implicit warning in the stark, no-frills design is that they may not be the most enjoyable side to watch. They do not, one senses, put anything adulterated or man-made into their play, such as double step-overs, reverse passes or centre-forwards who toy with the second-phase offside rule. Instead, they offer energetic and pure football, played as it was centuries ago, before Prometheus gave fire to mortals. It is possible that all the players and staff of the club live together on a smallholding, sharing everything – which is not to be scoffed at, except that one can never truly relax in the bath in those places. Cameron Carter

from Pete Green
"'If anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself,' said the late Bill Hicks, who was famous for telling jokes and smoking. I've always thought this was a bit harsh, but having noticed a forthcoming event from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, I'm starting to wonder if he might have had a point."

from Matt Hobson
"Saw this in last Monday's Sun. I assume that at least one newspaper match report includes a bird-based pun whenever Kevin Nolan scores. And that spotting a fowl in the build-up has already been done."






£75,000 is a small price to pay for having your eggs boiled in Sol Campbell's Boffi kitchen.

from Ian Henderson
"The Guardian's Richard Williams, star of Intro of the Month in the new WSC, excelled again this week with these reflections on André Villas-Boas. Just look at that wordsmithery."

In Vietnam, they called it "fragging": the deliberate killing of a commanding officer by his own men. It happens in all wars when experienced foot soldiers lose respect for their leader and put their own survival before loyalty. And now it has happened at Chelsea. Twice.

No wonder the club's ground shares its name with a famous battle in which an English army defeated invading forces. Three years ago the sergeant-majors in the dressing room were able to exert enough influence on the high command to have Luiz Felipe Scolari, a World Cup-winning coach, removed after six months in the job, having concluded that his insufficiently rigorous training sessions imperilled their chance of winning trophies.

Scolari was an older figure, aged 61 at the time, with medals on his chest. Now the same forces appear to have done for a much younger commander, the 34-year-old Dom Luís André de Pina Cabral e Villas-Boas. Having taken the job on a wave of fresh-faced confidence, the man familiarly known as AVB rapidly came to resemble a young captain, trained on the playing fields of Eton, arriving to command a battle-weary platoon at Passchendaele. Another victim of friendly fire, he lasted only a month longer than the Brazilian.

from Craig Chatterley
"Unlike most of the Manchester United followers in the comments section I am delighted with the club's proposed tartan strip for next season. But then I am a Man City fan."

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Swansea City home, 2004-05
It doesn't seem much to look at but this shirt will always hold happy memories for Swansea fans. It was worn in a season that was not only the last for the club at their much loved but seriously antiquated Vetch Field ground, but one that would ultimately lead to promotion, thus ensuring that they would start the next season not only in a new 20,000 all-seater home, but also in League One.

While the style of play under manager Kenny Jackett was not what you'd associate with the Swans of today, the goals of Lee Trundle, together with formidable home form, saw the club in third place by February and holding a comfortable nine-point lead over the teams in the play-off positions. However a serious slump in form saw the lead gradually eaten away and it took three wins from the last four matches, culminating in a 1-0 victory at Bury, to eventually secure promotion.

The shirt sponsors were Remax, an estate agent franchise with a number of outlets in west Wales. The shirt itself was made by Swansea based kit supplier Bergoni who had provided the club with several kits. With the move to the Liberty Stadium and continued success on the field Swansea predictably outgrew their local supplier and future kits were provided by national companies such as Macron and Umbro. The shirt's final outing was at the last-ever game played at Vetch Field, when an already promoted Swansea beat Wrexham in the now defunct FAW Premier Cup final. Paul Ashley-Jones

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