THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
23 August 2013 ~

If Real Madrid think Gareth Bale is worth £93 million then we've got an incomplete set of back issues and a T-shirt with a hole in it they can have for 50 grand.

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PBG150Badge of the week ~ Parvoz Bobojon Ghafurov, Tajikistan
Parvos Bobojon Ghafurov (known to their fans as "Parvoz Bobojon G" for short – some fans abbreviate still further to "PBG", but this is considered ostentatiously brusque in the region) are known as "the jet-setters" in Tajikistan. This reputation has been earned by the team's history of serving herring and potato with the vodka in the players' lounge. Most teams only serve herring with the vodka or potatoes with the vodka, or, on one infamous occasion, merely herring and potato with no vodka.

It is Parvoz Bobojon G's players that travel to away games in a bright yellow tug-boat with a funnel and a bell. All the other teams in Tajikistan's first tier go either by coach or shabby 30-seat plane. Also, PBG (well, I'm a busy man) were the first team in the country to introduce live child mascots on match day. Previously, straw dolls had been used by most teams, while Ravshan Kulob had a dead pig and Energetik Dushanbe took the field with an embalmed optometrist. With the introduction of real children, Parvoz Bobojon Ghafurov became known as innovators and aristocrats. Cameron Carter

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from Adam Sampson

"This is what you get when ordering 'cheesy chips' at Stevenage FC."

chipscheese350

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from Iain Aitch

"Some interesting but unlikely facts about SuperMac's hobbies on Wikipedia."

MacD450

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David Weir's surname tweaked to fit the picture?

Weird450

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from Paul Bowen

"Quality work from Dulwich Hamlet's web person."

Crays400

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Also in the news this week
The vexed Arsenal fan

Barry Fry, emergency midwife

Phil Bardsley laughs at Sunderland

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Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Ross97-98Ross County home, 1997-98
There is little that induces the nostalgic pang for the beginning of Ross County's Scottish Football League adventure than the home kit from 1997-98. The shirt remains particularly striking because the double-vertical lines have not been used before or since. If anything, the shirt resembles a butcher's uniform, which is appropriately symbolic for the close community feel that the club was known for.

I remember going to the ground the day after Boxing day 1997 as a 12-year-old boy with my father to purchase that shirt, after being gifted some money at Christmas. The person who greeted us at the stadium's reception was delighted to help us but required the keys to the club shop.

An impromptu tour of the stadium followed, with my father and I following the club employee to the manager's office, to the players' changing rooms, through the tunnel and then along the pitch to find the caretaker who was holding on to the keys. That kind of personal touch is still found at the club with every visit to the renovated ground, from free unused pies given out to away supporters at the end of the match, to the offer of transport to fans when weather or other circumstances make attending difficult.

That season was notable for the emergence of current manager Derek Adams as a player, who scored a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Brechin City in the first home match after I acquired my first County football shirt. John Maxwell

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