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May issue available now online and in store

Inside
Covid-19 lockdown: The leagues count the cost | How to cope without games | Positive actions by clubs
The final weekend: Notts County carry on | An unreal day at Rushden

Plus
Liverpool unbeaten – in 1893-94
Will Mark Noble play for England?
France's best-ever champions
Toilet rolls on the terraces
A legendary football map
The foiled Hibs-Hearts merger

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Stopped clock Fans adjust to life without football
It is as if the sea has been turned off. Professional football in Britain has been stopped for the first time since the government overreacted to the outbreak of the Second World War by shutting down the Football League after three games in September 1939. We are left with the game's extraordinary absence. Football provides punctuation to our extemporised lives. Going to a game, watching Match of the Day, getting score updates on the phone – all create a functional framework for existence which some then choose to ornament with such things as a career and family.

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Embed from Getty Images

Last match standing Non-League plays on before the lockdown
On the weekend of March 14 and 15 the biggest game being held in England did not involve Liverpool, Manchester United or Arsenal but my own club, Notts County. With the team on a run of four consecutive wins and all games in the Premier League and Football League having been called off due to the outbreak of Covid-19, a big crowd could have been expected through the turnstiles at Meadow Lane for the match against Eastleigh in the National League.

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Noble truths England chances fading for West Ham's captain
Steve McClaren, Fabio Capello, Stuart Pearce, Roy Hodgson, Sam Allardyce and Gareth Southgate: all of them have come to the same conclusion. Mark Noble has been a regular Premier League player throughout all their reigns, however short or long, and amassed more than 500 senior appearances in all competitions along the way – but none for the England national team.

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Capital gains How the Edinburgh rivals almost merged
"Who's the absolute worst person you can imagine to buy Hibernian?" It's a good question put to the club's young chairman, David Duff, in the offices of Hibs majority shareholder David Rowland. He'd summoned Duff to London at short notice on Sunday June 3, 1990. Only three years earlier, it was Rowland's money that had installed Duff as chairman at Easter Road. Duff, a lifelong supporter of the club, made his best guess. "Robert Maxwell?" Puffing on a Romeo and Juliet cigar, Rowland smiles. "No, much worse than that." Before Duff can speculate further, a knock comes at the door. In comes Wallace Mercer, chairman of Heart of Midlothian.

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Availability

WSC is the only nationally available independent football magazine in the UK, and you can get it monthly for a very reasonable £3.95. You should be able to find a copy in your local newsagent, otherwise outlets that stock WSC include WH Smith, mainline train stations plus selected Tescos. If you're having trouble finding the magazine, you could do one of the following:

1. Subscribe now and also get access to the complete digital archive
2. Buy the latest issue direct from WSC
3. Sign up for our digital edition and apps for iPhone, iPad and Android
4. Email us
5. Ask your local newsagent to order it for you

Football suspended illustration by Adam Doughty; Notts County photo by Getty Images, Mark Noble photo by Colorsport, Hibernian photo by Colin McPherson / WSC Photos

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