WSC 381 out now

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December issue available now online and in store

The new WSC is out now, available from all good newsagents or to order from the WSC shop.

Tribute to Leicester owner | Another Chelsea v Arsenal: women’s football on the rise | Swindon’s record-breakers | Change kit controversies | Why do managers fight? | Players’ pre-match rituals | Scottish football in wartime | Peter Brackley: media pioneer | Inside Jamie Vardy’s academy

When Liverpool lost two games and the title | Toenails to alcohol: pre-match rituals explained | Essex’s non-League clubs | Club logos designed by fans | Bradford on the slide | Kyle Lafferty in hot water | Wembley not the way for grassroots | Premier League move into esports | Dover no part-time job | Dunston UTS v Gateshead photo feature | Focus on Ivan Golac | Russia’s lower-league struggle | FIFA infuriate Palestine | Venezuela left behind

381 MOTM

Chelsea 0 Arsenal 5  The Gunners fight back
In what condition might women’s football be in the football-mad UK had it not had 50, arguably 60, years gutted from its development history in the 20th century by the obdurate fossils of the FA? The story’s been told many times about how the women’s game grew in the absence of men on active service during the First World War; how it made stars of women such as Lily Parr and Bella Raey, grew to include some 150 teams, and how on Boxing Day 1920, Dick, Kerr Ladies played St Helen’s Ladies, pulling in a crowd of 53,000 at Goodison Park. And how, for no plausible reason other than collective sexist pique, the FA decreed that the game was “unfit for females”, banning women from playing on their member grounds, a ban not lifted until 1971, with the WFA not able to affiliate to the FA for a further ten years.

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Embed from Getty Images

Survival kit  Unnecessary change shirts
Traditional styles are being lost.” This is a line taken from a letter to Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly in the mid-1960s, lamenting how Liverpool, Stockport County and other clubs had ditched their white shorts in a switch to all-red or all-blue home kits. If the letter writer, one T Jackson from Stockport, is still with us today, he or she will have been forgiven for firing an angry slipper at the TV on the weekend of October 6-7.

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381 ScottishWartime

Soldiering on Scotland during wartime
When the First World War broke out in August 1914 the professional football leagues of England and Scotland immediately faced demands to suspend their competitions. The pressures were partly logistical, with troop movements leading to restrictions on train travel. But more significant was the downturn in public opinion. The armies that dug the trenches in the early months of the war were volunteers. Footballers, and their clubs, were considered cowards for continuing their sporting pursuits. Powerful political voices were raised against the sport. The English League saw out the 1914-15 season, but was then suspended until 1919. The situation in Scotland was, at first, much the same, before the initiative of Edinburgh textile merchant, and former MP, George McCrae.

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381 Brackley

Multi media Peter Brackley
Our consumption of football has changed beyond recognition over the last 30 years. Before then only a handful of matches were shown live on TV throughout the season, while those who wanted to experience a live game at home had only the option of the radio, which was almost entirely dominated by the patrician hand of the BBC. October was marked by the passing of the owner of one of the voices that soundtracked football’s march towards the world of media saturation we now inhabit.

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WSC is the only nationally available independent football magazine in the UK, and you can get it monthly for a very reasonable £3.50. 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:

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Chelsea v Arsenal photo by Simon Gill; Scottish wartime illustration by Gary Neill; Peter Brackley photo via Colorsport