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25 May 2012 ~
Sepp Blatter is considering alternatives to the "tragedy of penalty shoot-outs". We have some suggestions: an obstacle course completed by the two captains while dressed as clowns (good sponsorship opportunity); a general knowledge quiz involving just the players on the pitch – something for the managers to bear in mind while making substitutions; or cash offers placed in sealed envelopes beforehand, with the winning bid donated to a charity chosen by the FIFA president.
Badge of the week ~ Club Tijuana, Mexico
The phrase Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente is translated from the Spanish as "Mexican Hairlesses on heat". The Mexican Hairless female, when in season, ambles through her local environment looking interested. This is the signal for the male dogs to follow her and attempt coupling. The noise made by the coupling Mexican Hairless is very distinctive and has been described as similar to that made by a bus driver given a banknote. This can be quite disruptive for local residents, not because of the noise but because it always sounds like the bus is outside.
The story of how the Mexican Hairless lost its hair, handed down through the generations, is unconvincing. Club Tijuana adopted the dog for their crest as it represents high-energy competitiveness and a lack of hairs on the sofa. Club Tijuana have above-average attendances for the Mexican league owing to the fact that hundreds of people turn up every fortnight in the mistaken belief that they are attending a beach resort aimed at non-aspirational 18-25-year-olds with an incipient drink problem. Cameron Carter
This is either the worst seat at Molineux or the best given Wolves' recent showings.
An unusual action photo of Martin Skrtel in a Guardian feature on transfer speculation.
from Joel Richards
"Some intriguing action in a fourth-level game in Argentina between Huracán Las Heras and Union Villa Krause. With the match at 1-1, Huracán's reserve goalkeeper Fernando Espinoza, who had been warming up, reached around the post to make a save. The referee gave a corner but booked Espinoza."
Knowing some Premier League managers' fondness for set-pieces, we can expect to see this "amazing foul exercise" sometime next season.
from Craig Menzies
"George Osborne's captivating match report on the Champions League final for the Times ('I first started going to Chelsea games in the mid-1990s') contained an odd detail. Not a close family, then?"
from John Henshaw
"This wouldn't be the first time this season that Per Mertesacker has dozed off on the pitch at the Emirates."
If you have a spare moment, why not send a direct message to Liverpool owner John Henry. Keep it dignified
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Scarborough home, 1990-91
Scarborough's "Black Death Vodka – Drink in Peace" sponsored home shirt from 1990-91 had a short life. The Football League banned it soon after it was unveiled, for obvious reasons. Geoffrey Richmond, the Scarborough chairman at the time, tried to justify the deal: "The company is wholly reputable. The ban may be just a case of overreaction. It is perhaps understandable when efforts are being made to improve the sport's image."
Scarborough, one of the oldest clubs in Britain, were promoted to the old Division Four in 1987. Over the years their kit had been mainly red with white trim, but they reversed the trend for the 1990-91 season, when they finished ninth. They played safe with shirt sponsorship the following season, going with the more family-friendly Scarborough Evening News.
The club were relegated to the Conference 12 years later – that famous late goal from Carlisle goalkeeper Jimmy Glass sealing their fate – and were eventually wound up in June 2007 with debts of £2.5 million. The future was also bleak for Black Death Vodka, which was banned in the US when the Bureau of Alcohol declared they were "blocking the liquor on grounds of misleading advertising, since the brand seems to promise poison and plague but delivers only vodka". James Baxter