A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
15 April 2011 ~
Steve Bruce's judgement has been called into question recently but he should be applauded for announcing that young Sunderland players will be banned from wearing coloured boots. But such footwear at least serves as a useful guide to the personality of the player – only sleazy, self-promoting wastrels want to draw attention to themselves in this way. The fact that this applies to most of the England team only emphasises the point.
Badge of the week ~ Warrenpoint Town FC, Northern Ireland
An unnecessarily complicated image. If you're going to have a rabbit on your crest, surely you just draw a smaller circle on top of another circle, adding whiskers, ears and a tail. Hey presto. Then you place him in the middle of the picture holding an orb or something. Here, however, Warrenpoint Town show us the darker side of rabbits. The warren system is viewed by some social theorists as the ideal society, close in nature to the Israeli kibbutz with its emphasis on the group rather than the individual. Also rabbits don't believe in private property. You never see a rabbit holding anything, do you, and this is why. But the Warrenpoint warren, like the Soviet system, entered a stage of paranoia and consequently some rabbits were enlisted to spy on their fellows just in case anyone was criticising the warren in rabbit language. This image depicts one such covert operator rearing up behind a rabbit suspected of discussing the personal ownership of carrots in order to ward off night starvation. What we learn about the club from their badge is its emphasis on teamwork and demand for absolute loyalty from its players. What we learn about rabbits is that their social system will ultimately implode through fear and betrayal and they'll have to start sleeping in cars. Cameron Carter
from Robin Mountford
"Here's an Ebay bargain – two Subbuteo throw-in figures that work perfectly except for the fact that their arms are broken. No mention of the circumstances in which this damage was done but I suspect a sibling contretemps after a pinpoint hurl led to a last-minute winner. Or else the cat bit them off."
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Paris St-Germain home, 1993-94
After the strange white shirt with blue pixellated sleeves worn the previous season, this PSG kit marked a small return to tradition. (The little flower on the right side of the chest is the former logo of the Île-de-France regional council.) I have to confess that, at the age of ten, I didn't really care whether Nike respected – or completely spoilt, in this case – the original scheme created by fashion designer Daniel Hechter. Besides, I was rather proud that my club was sponsored by a computer manufacturer, Commodore, and a popular beer brand like Tourtel. Only as I grew older did I realise that promoting low-alcohol beer was a kind of insult to the spirit of football.
Despite its highly questionable design and unsightly sponsors, this kit definitely brings back good memories to Paris Saint-Germain fans, since it is associated with the club's second and most recent league title. In 1993-94, led by Portuguese coach Artur Jorge with top-class players such as George Weah, David Ginola and Bernard Lama, PSG were unbeaten in 26 games and finished with only three defeats. Knocking out Real Madrid, they also reached the European Cup-Winners Cup semi-finals, before losing to Arsenal.
Yet those successes were not enough for the premium TV channel Canal Plus, then the major investor in the club, which reproached Jorge for his allegedly boring and defensive style; the team was indeed known for scoring from set pieces. Luis Fernández, the club's captain in the 1980s, was eventually appointed as coach for the following season. Matthieu Richard
There won't be a more emphatic own goal this season than the one scored by Mansfield's Tyrone Thompson at Hayes & Yeading in the Blue Square Premier last Saturday. Note the dignified non-celebration by the home side.
from Andrew Greaves
"Martin Allen's surprise move from Barnet to Notts County has been reflected in his Wikipedia entry."
Ipswich released young striker Billy Clark earlier than planned after he Tweeted a complaint about them. Given that manager Paul Jewell works occasionally for Sky Sports, it seems odd that they should illustrate the story with surely the most unflattering picture of him they could find. Barring, of course, those stills from the infamous video in which he asks his lady friend to "tell me I'm sweating".
from Chris Hill
"I would like to correct the misinformation provided by Ged Cassell, the Gloustershire-dwelling Man City fan, in last week's Howl. Not only does he admit that Stockport has been in Cheshire for the last 37 years, but he appears unaware that his own former home town of Reddish has been within the boundaries of Stockport for more than a century. So it's not between Stockport and Manchester at all. It's in Stockport, which technically is in Cheshire.
Ged displays a moment of lucidity when stating that Man Utd fans should stop responding to bait about not technically being from Manchester. Perhaps Stockport-dwelling (including those in Reddish) Man City fans would benefit from the same advice and stop getting so bitter whenever fellow Stopfordians mention the glorious season their own local side spent a full division above Man City in the mid-1990s. Or the numerous drubbings handed out to City at both Maine Road and Edgeley Park. But at least they'll be able to console themselves when their home-town team ends its 128-year association with the Football League next season."
Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards
Peter Ward, Brighton & Hove Albion Panini Football 80
Brighton fans celebrating the team's promotion from League One on Tuesday evening could be heard singing songs about a player who left them nearly 30 years ago – 24-year-old striker Peter Ward was a key member of the first Brighton team to play at the top level in 1979-80. Former team-mate Mark Lawrenson tells Gary Lineker about him here. Ward won an international cap at the end of that season, although the eight minutes as a substitute against Australia was the only chance he got. (It still stands as a record for the shortest England career, jointly held with West Ham centre-half Jimmy Barrett who was injured eight minutes into a match with Northern Ireland in 1928.)
Ward moved to Nottingham Forest the following season, but his subsequent failure at the City Ground was to be a factor in the souring of relations between Brian Clough and his assistant Peter Taylor, who had been Brighton manager when Ward signed from non-League Burton Albion in 1975. When Forest made a poor start to the season, including going out of the European Cup in the first round, Ward was dropped and only featured intermittently over the next year. Once his mentor Taylor left Forest to take over Derby in 1982, Ward was sent back to Brighton on loan and subsequently moved to the US. Dishy hair.