THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

The new WSC is out now, available from all good newsagents or dispatched on the day of order from the WSC shop. Including:
Even in their differences, Manchester United and Liverpool look the same
Stoke City welcome Valencia to the Britannia

José Mourinho's special outing as a cartoon character

Zambia rewrite history to win the Africa Cup of Nations
Ronaldinho's sort of homecoming
An Italian verdict on Fabio Capello's departure
Spurs to stay in Tottenham

Club v country Aylesbury United v England
"One of the more curious international friendlies of recent times took place in June 1988. England had just qualified for the European Championship in Germany. A year earlier, on the return journey from a qualifying match in Turkey, the journalist Frank McGhee had approached Bobby Robson, suggesting England play a non-League team in their build-up to the tournament. McGhee drew on the experience of the legendary Hungarian side of the 1950s, who would regularly play local teams and factory sides in advance of major matches. The theory ran that if England could go into the championship on a high – by virtue of running rings round a bunch of part-time players – it would boost the team's confidence. Robson agreed." Buy here to read the full article

Hereford United 1, Swindon Town 2

Another deserved defeat on a drab day

"I am from the Welsh end of the Midlands – barely 40 miles away – but Here­ford is a mystery to me. A town that can only be reached by train from London via Abergavenny, it is one of those places everyone has heard of but no one knows that much about. A rather olde-worlde town centre; some tasty estates round the edge, most probably. Cider and cattle and Mott The Hoople, or were they from Ross-on-Wye?" Buy here to read the full article

Lone Rangers Scottish champions held to account
"First Minister Alex Salmond spoke to Sir David Frost on Al Jazeera on the need to keep Rangers going. While visiting Scotland, prime minister David Cameron made a painfully opportunistic plea that the club should not disappear. By the time Sir Alex of Govan demanded the club be saved, the sponsors pledged their continued support and the next fixture became a 50,000 Ibrox sell-out, it was difficult to imagine why Rangers had lurched into administration at all. The possibility had been mooted for over a year." Buy here to read the full article

Sitting in judgement
The problem with all-seater stadiums

"It was nice of Arsenal to provide the away fans with padded seats, if somewhat less charitable to retail them at £35 a shot. It was too bad that the only time we were able to sit in them was during half-time. Swansea’s first trip to the Emirates earlier this season epitomised what you might call the all-seater paradox. The theory behind all-seater grounds, compulsory in the top two divisions since 1994, is that they stop people standing. In practice, particularly if you are an away fan, everybody stands. Terrace culture was deep-rooted by more than 90 years at the Vetch Field and one explanation offered for the desire of many Swans fans to stand on away trips is the firm discouragement of standing at the Liberty Stadium. Away from Swansea it is a different matter." Buy here to read the full article

Plus
Focus on John Harkes and Tony Meola, footballers in a soccer world

Fashanu family fallout over Britain's gay footballers

QPR's dramatic four-year plan, starring an angry Flavio Briatore
The language barrier in the Poland squad ahead of Euro 2012
Vikash Dhorasoo's World Cup 2006 legacy

The debate over changing national identities
Strange case of Alexander Hleb, Arsenal's lost winger

Could Apple and Google bring down the Sky on Rupert Murdoch?

The unfair endings of the UK's abandoned matches
Football charities struggling to survive in the recession
Money cannot buy stability in Asia
Deconstructing Harry Redknapp's bittersweet time at Portsmouth

Putting some fantasy football back into the Premier League

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's kung-fu fighting talk

The challenges facing South Africa's Cup of Nations
Anelka and Tigana lead the Chinese revolution
Chris Sutton in paradise; Jimmy Murphy's laws; the two Ronnie Whelans; Brighton united


Availability
WSC is the only nationally available independent football magazine in the UK, and you can get it monthly for a very reasonable £2.95. 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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Photo by Paul Thompson, illustration by Tim Bradford

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