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26 November 2010 ~
The Scottish Football Association's plans to cope with the impending referees' strike have been hampered by officials from various countries refusing to fill in. But there is a group of people with firmly held views on refereeing who would surely be ready to help out. So let's see Chris Kamara, Andy Gray, Jamie Redknapp and Mark Lawrenson step into the breach.
Badge of the week
This badge has nothing whatsoever to do with football but instead helpfully warns of what kind of mishaps can occur when you leave a lion in your house, balancing on a beachball and some building materials. What the Camarthen badge is saying here is: sure, welcome the lion into your home if he wants to practise his balancing skills indoors in wet weather, but for heaven's sake monitor his progress and don't leave him alone while you do your food shopping. Many people are aware of the danger posed by lions in their natural habitat – especially hungry ones – but fewer are familiar with how destructive they can be when left in the home with a beachball. It is to the team's credit that they produce socially responsible material like this but it might be an idea, if they ever come to update their badge, to make their lion appear a bit more butch and a little less worried that he'll have to pay for the damage. Cameron Carter
from Phillip Klein
"I want to add a couple of comments regarding the badge for Spielvereinigung Unterhaching from last week's Howl. You obviously know that Spielvereinigung is the German for Sports Association. You would also know that Unterhaching is unusual in that the club has the word written out rather than using the more common abbreviation SpVgg.
The team from my mother's birthplace Selbitz is an SpVgg and curiosity led me to their website whereupon I discovered some unusual figures posing at the top right of the home page. It's fairly safe to assume that the one on the left is a good old-fashioned winger, dribbling at full pelt while successfully evading a sliding tackle from a now out of the picture defender. However, I'm baffled by the one on the right.
Is he the corrupt club treasurer going home with the day's takings at the gate? Or does he represent the modern day football club owner walking away with all the club's liquid assets? Or maybe it's far more innocent: a traveller, like Dick Whittington, who's managed to sneak into the game to watch aforementioned winger?"
This new salsa tribute to Javier Hernández is quite a toe-tapper despite flagrant inaccuracies in the lyrics – he does not in fact "score from anywhere". The band World Red Army are now working on an LP including the contagiously catchy Tomasz Kuszczak two-step and a vibraphone-centred tribute to Mike Phelan.
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Rochdale's centenary black-and-white kit is only two years old, so can hardly be called vintage. However it was chosen in recognition of the fact that these were Dale's colours from their formation in 1907 until the mid-1930s.
More significantly, this was the season that Rochdale played at Wembley for the first time, in a League Two play-off final defeat to Stockport. With the prospect of escaping the bottom division for the first time in 35 years attracting a whole new set of (temporary) fans, the club probably made more money from this shirt than all of the previous blue shirts put together. It would be nice to think that this additional income helped keep the bulk of the squad together and contributed to last season's automatic promotion.
The 2007-08 season came in the middle of a short-lived shirt sponsorship deal with MMC Estates, a controversial local property developer. MMC's involvement has already faded from memory, unlike long-term sponsors Carcraft (a constant presence throughout the pretty miserable 1990s) and the All-In-One Garden Centre in the 1980s – surely the only time that a professional club has featured a watering can on their shirt.
Although the centenary shirt was only worn for one season, Dale now turn out at home in blue-and-black stripes. It seems the near-success at Wembley meant that the style couldn't be abandoned completely. David Emanuel
from Johanna Breen
"I was at QPR v Preston on Saturday and was stunned to discover that they closed the tea bar in the away end five minutes after half-time – I can't quite believe that they can spend vast amounts on players and then scrimp on the tea bar. Surely it's not that big a deal to pay one guy for an extra half an hour or so? In November it's that cold on the terraces that tea is in demand for the entire 90 minutes. This nonsense has to stop."
from Alex Little
"Are Woking, fallen giants of the Blue Square South, trying to invoke the spirit of Benfica and, more recently, Lazio?"
Endorsement by Fiona Phillips is bad news for any brand, so her column in the Mirror last week contained some unwelcome news for trainee national treasure Ian Holloway. Next week Fiona will notice that Sir Alex Ferguson is prone to being narky.
Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards
Sheffield Wednesday Merlin Premier League 94
Several English clubs might be described as "underachievers" but Sheffield Wednesday probably have the strongest claim to that title with their 40,000-capacity stadium currently hosting third-level football for the second spell within seven years. They were even on the verge of going out of business earlier this week before being given a one-month reprieve by the High Court. The fact the serial club-buyer Milan Mandaric is among the favourites to take over will not be a source of comfort to Wednesday fans.
Relegation from the top level in 1999-2000 triggered the club's financial meltdown, though the person fans hold most responsible, chairman Dave Richards, left before the drop and has since been knighted for his work at the Premier League. During the 1990s, however, Wednesday had fielded their best side of the past 50 years. They began the decade by doing a promotion and cup double, beating Man Utd to win the League Cup with this goal from John Sheridan. The next year they were third, with young striker David Hirst, top scorer on 18 goals, getting an England call-up.
The squad in this picture, managed by Trevor Francis, had finished seventh in 1992-93 while making four trips to Wembley, beating their neighbours United in the FA Cup semi-final before losing the final to a 119th-minute Arsenal goal in a replay. Arsenal also beat them in the League Cup final. Winger Chris Waddle was voted Footballer of the Year and was one of ten internationals in the squad which also included Chris Woods, Carlton Palmer and Viv Anderson. Milan Mandaric will be memorising this line-up in preparation for his takeover press conference.
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