February issue available now online and in store
The new WSC is out now available from all good newsagents or to order now from the WSC shop with free UK delivery.
Games with crowds: Luton's December double | Pints and protocols at Oxford City
Managers remembered: Jim McLean | Gérard Houllier | Tommy Docherty
The Corinthian spirit | Wednesday's woes | Lincoln City on the up? | Racism in Brazil | Life at the bottom: Cowdenbeath v Brechin | Paolo Rossi's hero status | Non-League in West Yorkshire | Pressure at Valencia | Matchday at Congleton Town | Newcastle fan film | Dream Team replaces Ballon d'Or | Grimsby and Wigan takeover latest | Focus on Paul Cooper | Second Division's first season
Rules of engagement Brief return for fans
"At the heart of the community" is Oxford City's social media strapline, with good reason. The club's 3G pitch and adjoining five-a-side courts are in near-constant use when there isn't a pandemic on. In less restricted times, City's fixtures fit into a crowded schedule of local schools' coaching sessions, junior league fixtures and disability football torunaments. Much more than National League South football has been missed recently; somewhere that's normally a hub for people of all ages and abilities has lain sadly empty, a stark reminder of Covid's impact for those who glance down at Court Place Farm while passing on the nearby Oxford ring road. With Oxford emerging from the November lockdown into tier two, City were able to open their ground to spectators in early December.
Cowdenbeath 2-0 Brechin City Scotland's bottom two do battle
The train from Edinburgh canters over the Forth Bridge, low winter sun flickering though its beams and giving a Zoetrope effect. "I says to the doctor," barks a woman into her mobile phone, "it's a phlegmy cough, not a Covid one." In this era, such a declaration is the equivalent of a rough lad arriving at a quiet party. I am not alone in moving to another carriage.
Figure heads Meet the Corinthian collectors
Corinthians are small plastic figures with big heads – footballers rendered in miniature form. For many people, they are curious yet largely unremarkable items. But for a community of ardent collectors, they have become a lifelong obsession. Lennart van de Winkel, a 32-year-old supply chain manager from the Netherlands, has one of the biggest Corinthians collections in the world. As a child, his interest stemmed from figures that could be bought alongside Dutch lottery tickets. Years later, while searching online for the remainder of the Feyenoord team, he realised how widespread Corinthians were. “I saw there were also figures released in England. I saw a Tetley Tea figure of Alan Shearer and it’s been a passion ever since. At this moment I have more than 10,000 different figures in my collection.”
Teach first Gérard Houllier, the educator
There are many architects behind France’s emergence as arguably the pre-eminent force in world football over the past 30 years and Gérard Houllier is one of them. Houllier has been applauded for the foundations he laid for Liverpool’s future success and he leaves a similar legacy in France.
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