February issue available online and in stores

wsc312 The new WSC is out now, available from all good newsagents or dispatched on the day of order from the WSC shop.

Safe Standing in England
Scouting trends
Player questionnaires
Germany's authority problem
Egypt's hiatus continues

Orange crush Winter footballs
"'Why have you got a set of orange footballs?' enquired my son as we were going through my Subbuteo collection. 'Just in case it snows,' I replied, safe in the knowledge that a game of table football has never been called off due to the weather. The joke was lost on him – he had no idea what I was referring to and I doubt he is alone. In an era when you can seemingly buy any colour you desire, the significance of an orange ball appears to have bypassed a whole generation of fans. For them the sight of such a football on a snow-covered pitch would probably be met with overwhelming apathy. What's so special about a coloured ball?" Buy here to read the full article

312 MOTMCrystal Palace 1 Huddersfield Town 1

Festive cheer and cautious pessimism
"In 2010, Crystal Palace co-chairman Steve Parish appeared on Cafe Calcio, a radio show I co-host. As he patiently spent 20 minutes edging his Ferrari into the station's tiny car park I looked on agog like a Dickensian urchin regarding a top-hatted gent in a fur-lined coat at close quarters, it occurred to me that I rarely, if ever, consort with Ferrari folk. I wondered what I would make of Parish." Buy here to read the full article

Hostile reception Unwelcome managers
"'The supporters have made it very clear they don't want me here. They've marched, protested and sung to that effect. They want the last manager back immediately. They've even threatened to boycott matches but I'm strong enough to see this through.' Not a defiant Rafael Benítez statement but new Derby County boss Dave Mackay reflecting on running the gauntlet of fan protests in the wake of Brian Clough's controversial departure from the club in 1973. Dave Mackay Is The Most Unpoular Football Manager Ever claimed the Daily Mirror. That was until, perhaps, Benítez was installed as Chelsea's 'interim' manager." Buy here to read the full article

312 PremHypeCasual relationship Neutral viewing
"Since its inception, criticism of the quality of the Premier League has always been countered with the claim that it offers a superior form of entertainment. This defence has been repeated so many times that it is now enshrined as fact: European club football may be technically and tactically superior, but the Premier League is the only division for those in search of life-threatening 
levels of enjoyment. Clearly, the definition of what constitutes entertainment varies from person to person – it's debatable whether any activity featuring an agent of pure functionality like Gareth Barry is worthy of the name." Buy here to read the full article

Clubs' baffling kit choices
Cardiff welcome Real Madid
Leeds host Chelsea
Andy van der Meyde's strange life
Bloggers v newspapers in Scotland
Newton Heath take offence
Watford's new direction
Israel and Palestine target football
Walthamstow's 1953 FA Cup run
Player trafficking from Africa
Premier League spending limits
Helping people with depression
Conference clubs' community service
San Diego's Mexican team
Caribbean Cup problems
Colombia's volatile striker
Reviews of Champions League Dreams; Manchester: The City Years; There Or Thereabouts and Newcastle United: The day the promises had to stop

WSC is the only nationally available independent football magazine in the UK, and you can get it monthly for a very reasonable £3.25. You should be able to find a copy in your local newsagent, otherwise outlets that stock WSC include WH Smith, mainline train stations and the odd supermarket if you're lucky. If you're having trouble finding the magazine, you could do one of the following:

1. Subscribe now
2. Buy the latest issue direct from WSC
3. Sign up for our digital edition and apps for iPhone, iPad and Android
4. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
5. Ask your local newsagent to order it for you

Photo by Simon Gill, Illustration by Matt Littler

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