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9 September 2011 ~
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Badge of the week ~ PSIS, Indonesia
Badge analysers – or Image Textualists as we should properly be known – either admit defeat at PSIS's club motif or ignore it altogether. It's the equivalent in this field of asking a doctor what a hiccough is, or New Order's bass player what their videos mean. Armed with just a little knowledge of Indonesian mythology, however, we can make a pretty good fist of the hidden meanings here. PSIS were one of the first clubs founded in this part of the world and they have aptly chosen a creation myth to represent their own early start.
Many very old Indonesians, small children and postal workers still believe to this day that their islands were formed when a giant octopus rose from the depths of the ocean and began to build a tower of wooden shoes on a small rock that was, at this time, the only land in all-encompassing waters. It is not clear where the wooden shoes came from but then, fair play, it's not clear where the foreign princess who partners up with Cain comes from in the Christian version. Anyway, what starts up as a simple playful exercise soon becomes something darker as the tower keeps toppling over just when the octopus is adding the last clog. Reaching an Ikea flat-pack level of rage, the octopus beats at the waves with his powerful tentacles, causing much of the water to splash over the sides of the world, revealing mountains, forests and barren, fenced-off areas that Sainsbury's pulled out of at the last minute. Cameron Carter
from Neil Waring
"Here's a nonchalant, even foppish, own goal from a recent Spain Under-21 game. If he tried to do it another ten times it wouldn't work."
from Grant McIntyre
"I must complain about the presenter of Football Focus – I forget his name – constantly referring to Gabby Logan as 'Lady Logan'. It sounds unhealthy and it's making me, innocently at home watching the television, feel creepy. I should complain to the BBC really but they'd just send me a signed picture of the bloke and thank me for my interest."
from Peter Robinson
"I don't know if this is still going on, but Norwegian salmon were training like footballers a few years ago. No mention of their spending the afternoons playing pool and Tomb Raider, though."
Niall Quinn seems like a man who heeds the advice of stylists, even when it's horribly wrong. Who would buy a service from someone wearing his pullover like this?
from Keith Dyke
"Proof for the theory that someone's name can direct them towards a certain line of work. Someone called Mark de Man had to become a defender."
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Benfica away, 1994-95
The 1994-95 season was a watershed for Benfica. The club had just clinched one of its most miraculous titles, which featured an historic 6-3 away humping of Sporting. What they didn't heed was the age-old advice: "Never change a winning team." President Manuel Damásio, pressured by dissatisfaction from fans during 1993-94, got rid of the winning coach, ex-player and diehard Benfica fan Toni, and replaced him with Artur Jorge, an ex-player, coach and diehard fan of arch rivals FC Porto. Out, too, went key players Rui Costa, Stefan Schwarz and the Russian duo Sergei Yuran and Vasili Kulkov. Their replacements were the prosaic likes of Nelo and Tavares from Boavista, but also Argentina international Claudio Caniggia, straight off a 13-month ban for cocaine use.
His loan spell was underwritten by Parmalat, who replaced Estoril Casino as shirt sponsors. The Italian dairy company, later to go into financial meltdown, were trendsetters in sponsorship, also appearing on the shirts of Palmeiras, Boca Juniors and Peñarol, among others. Olympic supplied the kit, following Hummel and preceding former suppliers Adidas, who returned to the Luz in 1997. The white away strip was a classic; by contrast, some of Adidas's subsequent efforts, including shiny silver, boring beige and sickly mustard, have been an affront to the most basic sense of aesthetics.
Despite the presence in 1994-95 of quality players such as João Pinto, goalkeeper Michel Preud'homme and the aforementioned Caniggia, Benfica finished third in a championship won by FC Porto – the first of an unheard-of five in a row for them. FC Porto haven't looked back since, with Benfica invariably left to eat their dust. Phil Town