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10 August 2012 ~
There was consternation at England moving up to third in the latest FIFA World Rankings. But it's easily explained. With several FIFA staff away on holiday the rankings were (mis)calculated by the work experience student, Jean-Paul Blatter. He was supposed to circulate the rankings in an internal email first but sent them to everyone on FIFA's press list by mistake. He's now been offered a full-time job.
Badge of the week ~ Tuen Mun FC, Hong Kong
Tuen Mun, a non-threatening family-orientated club from Hong Kong, have chosen a popular children's character for the centre of their badge. Po-Po the Community Dolphin was first featured in a cartoon strip in 1989. The stories failed to catch fire with the Hong Kong public, mainly because Po-Po was presented as a loveable righter of wrongs who was usually pitted against his arch-enemy, Peter Fu, a Compliance Manager. The reason this conceit failed was thought to be because Po-Po never had the opportunity to actually meet Fu, as the playful but morally strict dolphin lived in the ocean while Fu operated from a high-rise in New Kowloon.
It was when a second series of stories was developed, with Po-Po tussling with an adversary from his own environment, Aquabastard, that the little dolphin truly entered the common consciousness. For completists, the theme song for Po-Po runs, in translation: "Po-Po, we love you, you are a dolphin / Po-Po you are always available / But if you're not we will call the police instead." It's not a very good song. Cameron Carter
from Dave Eason
"With their selfless dedication and down-to-earth demeanour, our Olympic medallists have been contrasted favourably with the underachieving millionaires in the Premier League. But Bradley Wiggins might not agree with the comparison, given that he was delighted by support from Robbie Fowler and Joey Barton. Getting messages from Barton isn't that unusual, though. Most people with a Twitter account will have had at least one by now."
from Jon Millard
"According to Rotherham's website their new stadium includes 'vommercial… spaces'. Things that earn money while making you queasy – I've eaten a few of those at football grounds."
from Adam Harnischfeger
"While his current club is also 'popular' for having supporters who 'come and cheer for their club naked', I can't imagine Papiss Cissé took to the moobs of St James' as quickly as he must have SC Freiburg's 'very attractive fans', as described on Wikipedia."
Garth Crooks spots an interesting formation from Brazil, involving 12 outfield players.
from Tom Lines
"Any Liverpool fans worried that their American owners might approach the club's heritage with anything less than absolute reverence must have been hugely relieved to see this sensitive recreation of the Shankly Gates at Boston's Fenway Park. Reports that this authentic tribute to Anfield also included groups of child actors stalking the streets around the baseball stadium offering to 'mind your car for a fiver' remain unconfirmed."
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Plymouth Argyle home, 1995-96
If you asked a cross-section of Plymouth Argyle fans to name the archetypal Pilgrims shirt you would get a range of answers – striped or plain, with black or white trim, Mayflower badge or city coat of arms. The only consistent fact would be the colour green and even then there would be arguments over the preferred shade. It is safe to say that this shirt is unlikely to feature in too many favourites.
That it screams mid-1990s design crisis is a pertinent reminder of a happier time in Division Four. What Admiral, who had been responsible for the previous two well-regarded striped efforts (one white, the other black), were thinking with this one is hard to ascertain. The basic skewed Ajax-style bands are almost bearable but the additional bicycle skid-marks across the body and sleeves are surely an offence to any design sensibilities.
The sponsor Rotolok were an engineering parts company owned by chairman Dan McCauley and the club was seen by most as a tax-loss extension of his business empire. However Neil Warnock had been installed as manager over the summer and given a competitive budget. The season culminated in the club's sole Wembley appearance, a 1-0 play-off final victory over Darlington. The Wembley shirts had extra green tyre-tracks plastered across the shirt to complement the black. The players wanted to keep this strip as a souvenir but McCauley demanded the shirts were returned for his proposed Argyle museum that never happened. Nowadays Argyle are ego-free but have to compete in the same division on a much tighter budget. Maybe a second Wembley trip would begin the revival. Steve East