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March 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.

Inside
Championship chaos: Desperate days at Reading | Derby's struggle to survive
New Everton manager: Frank Lampard takes a turn

Plus
East Fife 4 Forfar 5? | In praise of replica shirts | TV feud in Spain | Liverpool win promotion | An Anglo-French Cup | Norwich City: The boom and bust cycle & A decisive moment in 2002 | Refugees welcome in Middlesbrough | In praise of the goalmouth scramble | Darlington back on the rise | Tackling vaccine hesitancy | The murals brightening up Tottenham | Suspicious betting patterns | Football on St Helena | Focus on Martin Jol

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Monster Mosh Everton's plan still unclear under Moshiri
It was on a January evening at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall five years ago that Farhad Moshiri addressed his first annual general meeting as Everton’s majority shareholder and declared: “We don’t want to be a museum.” The sentiment behind the Iranian billionaire’s words was clear yet the phrasing, at least to this supporter of more than 40 years, rankled a little. Soaked into the old bricks of Goodison Park are layers of history and achievement. A page on the club’s website proudly lists a series of English-football firsts – first club with a four-sided stadium with two-tier stands, first to play 100 seasons of top-flight football, and so on. More than that, this was not long after the David Moyes era – with its stability, substance and sense of identity – had closed. By contrast, the Moshiri years have so far turned Everton into a cautionary tale after a misguided £500 million splurge on transfers. Which is preferable: a so-called museum or a circus?

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Reading 3-4 Huddersfield Town Championship sides on different trajectories
The Championship in a time of Covid, as if this division were not fraught enough already. My prematch preparations now include masks (plural), hand sanitiser and a digital Covid pass. I think back to the days when I’d go to a match halfway across the country with nothing more a couple of 50p bits and a child’s fare British Rail ticket. Going to football has become so serious. A friend reckons that he caught Covid at a recent Reading home match, a misery to add to the two points-robbing goals conceded in the last few minutes. A portion of the Select Car Leasing Stadium (aka the Madejski) car park is given over on a semi-permanent basis to a tented Express PCR testing unit. As I walk up to the stadium I see the Huddersfield supporter coaches bearing mask-wearing instructions and sanitiser units at the doors. A group of away fans pass me by on the hunt for a decent pint within walking distance; good luck with that, lads. Gleams of cheer are not currently in large supply around here.

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Settle a score Debate still rages over the most mythical of results
When he wasn’t reading the football results on BBC radio, James Alexander Gordon was quite a storyteller. He once claimed to have woken up in a London hotel room to discover, at the end of his bed, a ghost in full Regency costume. Understandably startled, he got rid of the apparition by throwing a shoe at it. Gordon also had good tales about the role that made him a British institution, with his best concerning the nickname given to him by comedian Eric Morecambe. “Eric never called me James,” he recalled towards the end of his career. “Whenever I saw him over a 20-year period, he would say ‘East Fife 4 Forfar 5’.” In his four decades of delivering the results, Gordon never got to utter that one. And whether it is even the correct version of the joke is heavily disputed – as I found out in July 2018.

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Yellow fever Norwich City's top-tier ups and downs
The experience of supporting Norwich since they first entered the top flight back in 1972 is perfectly mirrored by the team’s league form – it’s quite literally up and down. We’ve won nine various promotions in that time, been to three League Cup finals, winning one, finished third in the 1992-93 Premier League season resulting in a European run that saw us become the only English side ever to beat Bayern Munich at the Olympic Stadium, and been relegated nine times. It might be painful being a Norwich City fan at times but it’s rarely dull.

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Farhad Moshiri photo via Getty Images, Reading v Huddersfield Town photo by Simon Gill/WSC Photos, East Fife v Forfar illustration by Matt Littler, Norwich City photo by Simon Gill/WSC Photos

Availability

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