THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

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May issue available in store and online

The new WSC is out now, available from all good newsagents or to order from the WSC shop.

Inside
Youth football ~ Drawbacks of the academy system | Scouting for future stars in Argentina

Plus
Burnley's England heroes | When referees get political | Big signings on the bench | Upheaval at Anderlecht | Sheffield United: are the good times back? | Non-League in Staffordshire | Artificial pitches – the salvation for smaller clubs? | Cow dribbles to pee shots: football terms from around the world | Tottenham reward loyalty with price rises | The CCTV revolution | Northern Ireland consider summer fling | Futsal the saviour | Martin Allen's buzz returns | Scottish financial theatre | Football's wildest conspiracy theories | Women breaking through in Spain | Columbus Crew's 1,200-mile relocation

375 Maidstone

Maidstone United 1 Sutton United 0  Getting to grips with artificial pitches
“El Plastico”, as meetings between Maidstone and Sutton are now called, must surely be the friendliest rivalry in football. Maidstone co-owner Oliver Ash and Sutton chairman Bruce Elliott front the pressure group 3G4US, which is devoted to removing the restrictions on the use of 3G artificial pitches. A third National League club (Bromley), a swath of other non-League clubs, and commercial concerns that provide such surfaces, are also members. Collectively they are hammering on the door of the Football League (EFL), demanding access and waving threats of legal action if denied. One day this could open a dangerous fissure within the EFL.
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375 YouthFootball

Talent spotting  Youth player recruitment
Last year, it was reported that ten-year-old Alessandro Cupini had been signed up by Roma’s coaching academy. From his name, this possibly doesn’t look surprising until the detail is added that he is moving – along with his grandparents, parents and three‑year‑old sister – from Kansas City. Cupini’s story is not rare and Roma are not the first club to entice child players from abroad.
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Embed from Getty Images

Coining a phrase  Football terminology around the world
It’s one of the conceits of human nature to imagine that our shared colloquial language, a mystery to foreigners and their phrasebooks, is proof of our exceptional native wit. What other country could devise as crafty and indecipherable a code as Cockney rhyming slang? And when it comes to football, the game we gave the world with little thanks in return, what other nation could match our rich trove of phraseology – the onion bag, the hospital ball, the nutmeg, the reducer, phrases which would reduce overseas friends to a puzzled “Que?”
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375 Sheff Utd exterior

Bowled over Sheffield United
A few seconds before the teams emerge at every Sheffield United home game, matchday announcer Gary Sinclair declares: “Welcome to Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane, the oldest professional football ground in the world.” The first part of that sentence heralds from the 1960s, when Sinclair’s predecessor Ian Ramsay coined the phrase. One caveat to the latter part of the sentence is that Sinclair neglects to add the words “in continuous use” – they wouldn’t scan well in his melodramatic introduction.
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Availability
WSC is the only nationally available independent football magazine in the UK, and you can get it monthly for a very reasonable £3.50. You should be able to find a copy in your local newsagent, otherwise outlets that stock WSC include WH Smith, mainline train stations plus selected Tescos. If you're having trouble finding the magazine, you could do one of the following:

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4. Email us
5. Ask your local newsagent to order it for you

Maidstone & Sheffield United photos by Simon Gill, youth football illustration by Matt Littler

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