THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
31 July 2009 ~


In the wake of Darren Bent's Twitter revelations and Tranmere being briefly put up for sale on eBay we can expect to see a lot more internet involvement in football this season. Look out for Phil Brown demonstrating his new range of personalised tanning products on YouTube and Sven signing up as regular contributor to Todger Talk, the Nottingham-based sex discussion site.

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Badge of the week
This is an absolutely brilliant badge. The image is reminiscent of an early scene in Fritz Lang’s silent classic Metropolis, where our hero frolics in the Eternal Garden of Pleasure with all the privileged intellectuals, while the drone workers slave away in a subterranean conformist hell. Are those phoenix rising from the flames at left and right? The answer has to be a categorical Yes. The phoenix bird, of course, according to fable, survives a life-threatening nest fire by putting on a jester hat and blowing on a party blower to attract help. Therefore it has always symbolised hope. The cockerel perched on the helm represents the knights of yore who would rise very early in the morning to get all the best jobs. If you got up a bit later as a knight – say 10.30 or so – you would more than likely be left with Measuring a Castle Wall or Taunting a Hag as your quest, which is of no use to any knight who is trying to impress. And yet even now we are still not finished with visual sensation – on the shield itself we spy a duck swallowing a croquet hoop. I’m not sure what this represents but if you have a lot of images on your badge and then you throw in a duck as well, you are displaying a generous side to your nature. The motto, Ex-IGNP Resurgam, explains the fact that most of Distillery’s squad arrive into the first team through a feeder club, IGNP Resurgam, from the Belgian third division. Cameron Carter

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The grounds of many clubs, especially those that haven't relocated, tend to be in the less salubrious parts of town. Today's commercially aware owners realise this is no good for passing trade for the club shop so they open a city centre store to catch the more affluent customer – Aston Villa, for example, have an outlet on New Street, right in the middle of Birmingham. But Everton must take the prize for innovative naming: their second shop is in the Liverpool One "shopping and leisure" complex. And they've called it Everton Two.

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Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Relegated from the SPL in 2007, Livingston are on the verge of disappearing altogether – which may add a ghoulish collectability to their old shirts. If they do go out of business the club who won the Scottish League Cup as recently as 2004 will have few mourners. Amid furious fan protests, the owners of Edinburgh side Meadowbank Thistle moved them to the new town of Livingston in 1995 and created a new all-black kit for the launch season. Thereafter, Livingston mostly wore either amber or lighter yellow shirts with black shorts, as Meadowbank had done during their 20 years in the Scottish League – although this won't have persuaded anyone to travel from Edinburgh to support them.

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

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from Jon Millard
"In 1982, at the age of nine, I lived in Nottingham, next door but one to a pleasant but unremarkable house that was often up for rent. One Sunday, coincidentally after watching Forest lose on Star Soccer, I went outside for a kick about, only to find Garry Birtles outside on the street moving into the house. He'd just returned from his disappointing spell at Manchester United, which was apparently an important career step for all half-decent Forest players until Roy Keane. Nevertheless, he had two European cups, a League championship and a League Cup to his name yet was unloading his own gear himself into a modest rented house from a base model Escort estate. I immediately rushed home to tell my (Forest supporting) father who forbade me from approaching him, as "he was probably bothered all the time". This undoubtedly true and very considerate parental policy ultimately meant that I lived two doors down from said two time European cup winner for some considerable time and have absolutely no memento, souvenir or autograph whatsoever. Ian Wallace did come round once (Ian had some kind of Mazda with a Letraset sponsor's message on the driver's door) prompting speculation they were best mates or something, but it turns out they were doing a feature for Football Focus. I didn't even get to meet Tony Gubba and the camera cut away from the street shot before they strolled past my house. Perhaps Garry still remembers me as the most standoffish and cool for school kid he ever lived near. Probably not though."
 
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from Garreth Cummins

"The Football Licensing Authority's entry regarding safe standing on Wikipedia has been flagged up as 'an advertisement' but if so, it's a negative one."



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WSC Trivia ~ No 74
We can't recall how it happened but we've got John Motson's pre-match notes for the 1992 FA Cup quarter-final between Liverpool and Aston Villa – a couple of lines about each player written in capital letters on a piece on cardboard. On the reverse are various facts about the two club's FA Cup history. The Villa notes are in orange ink that has faded quite badly so a comment about Garry Parker – "m/f passer" – looks at first glance like "half berserk". Rob Jones is the only player to receive an exclamation mark – "yet to score!". We're prepared to believe that Barry Davies's notes always featured a Latin motto while Kenneth Wolstenholme's contained at least a couple of doodles of First World War bi-planes.

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Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Kazimierz Deyna, Manchester City Panini Football 1980
Man City first signed a famous foreign star over 30 years ago, but he didn't live up to high expectations. Polish midfielder Kazimierz Deyna had been an outstanding player in the mid-1970s and came third in the voting for the 1974 European Footballer of the Year. Real Madrid had tried to sign him but were turned down because the Polish FA wouldn't allow players to leave until they were 30 – instead Deyna was sent a Real shirt with his name on it as a souvenir.

Deyna was already 31 on joining City in November 1978 but flitted in and out of the team during his two-year spell. It didn't help that the manager who signed him, Tony Book, was demoted to being the assistant of his successor, the erratic Malcolm Allison. "We are having problems with 'The Kaiser' Allison," said Deyna's agent on one of the occasions when his client was summarily dropped. Deyna moved on San Diego Sockers in the USA with whom he won the 1983 NASL title; he went on to win two indoor championships with the club after the outdoor league folded in 1984. Deyna was said to have developed a drink problem while he was still a young player and it worsened after his move to the US, although he still worked regularly as a coach. On September 1, 1989, he was killed in a car crash after coming back from a training session with a youth team.

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