THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
28 March 2013 ~

Arsenal have reached the Women's Champions League semi-finals – if they win the competition perhaps Arsène Wenger could claim it as his trophy.

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akruss150Badge of the week ~ FK Shinnik Yaroslavl, Russia
It is often thought that Russians have a dark sense of humour, the type that inspires the thin smile, denoting resignation to the oppressive forces that finally annihilate man. There are, however, a few fans of knockabout, goodtime comedy in the country. One of the most famous cartoon double acts, for instance, is Dmitri the Bear and Fyodor the Jellyfish. Their show, Dmitri and Fyodor Investigate Together the Natural Order of Things, ran from 1960 to 1982, although many felt the last two series ran out of steam somewhat, many of the jokes relying on references to Fyodor's gelatinous bell and his previous life as a party planner.

Fyodor would characteristically travel from town to town clamped to the end of Dmitri's pole, which led to a popular saying in Russia during the 1970s: "As wobbly as a bear with a jellyfish. The jellyfish being on the end of his pole." This remains the only known simile to consist of two separate sentences. What the pair came to stand for, and hence Shinnik Yaroslavl's use of them in their iconography, is the quest for truth in its most crowd-pleasing form. Cameron Carter

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Joey Barton causes fights even when he's not there.

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In his Wikipedia photo, Motherwell's Chris Humphrey pays inadvertent tribute to MC Hammer. Just a pity it's not in focus.

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from Matthew Ross

"A good job that Mark Yates took the trouble to disguise himself rather than wearing a Cheltenham tracksuit top with his initials on the front."

chelt115

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Michael Owen's official website features an alarming close-up. Michael is either contemplating his post-football future or trying to remember where he left his car keys.

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Even if Roy Hodgson doesn't go to the World Cup with England he has at least been around the world recently. (The figures of Hodgson and Sammy Lee are from the famous photo which looks like part of a diagram about the Evolution of Man.)

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Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

newcguiv150Newcastle United home, 1997-99

The sad announcement that next season Newcastle United will be sponsored by Wonga aroused nostalgic memories of the days when the black and white shirt proudly displayed the Newcastle Brown Ale logo.

The 1997-99 design was the last home kit to feature the distinctive blue star and Tyne Bridge silhouette throughout its use. The template which succeeded this shirt had Brown Ale sponsorship for one season before a switch to the altogether more garish green and purple NTL logo the following year.

The 1997-99 shirt stands out for various reasons. It has orange trim instead of the more conventional blue. The Adidas, Brown Ale, and Newcastle logos are all placed centrally. It was also worn for two consecutive Cup final appearances and in Newcastle's first ever Champions League campaign.

But to truly appreciate the uniqueness of this kit it must be seen from behind. The back's centrepiece is a large black shield, taken from the club crest, over which the squad numbers are placed. This made anyone wearing the kit look even more ridiculous if they had not paid the extra money for name and number printing. But not quite as ridiculous as anyone who plumped for No 8 and "Guivarc'h". Simon Meechan

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