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25 February 2011 ~
Once again the Glazer family have denied rumours they're considering selling up at Manchester Utd, but it is known that one very wealthy family in the Middle East, who already have a stake in Juventus, may be looking to invest in the Premier League. There's still the small matter of the fit and proper person test, but the Gaddafis are sure to sail through that.
Badge of the week ~ Kecskeméti TE, Hungary
I suppose this was considered very modern at the time. I suppose it is a very clever thing to have a badge with just shapes on it when you know everyone wants to see a tiger with a sword and a castle. The light arched shape across the top is symmetrical enough but just as we begin to relax and think we can show this design to mother, we come upon the violent shard of glass that is the lower light shape. And why place the year of the club's founding on the level when you can just as easily make it lean at a 45-degree angle and disorientate the common herd? This daringly unnecessary innovation recalls the poet Baudelaire's lines: "See the dead Years lean down, In dated dress, from balconies in heaven; Behold Regret rise from the deep, unbowed…" I forget the rest but it was probably about catching syphilis off a prostitute so this is almost certainly the cleanest bit anyway. So yes, very fresh at the time, one imagines, very shocking (it is reported by a contemporary critic that some ladies in Austro-Hungarian football stadiums screamed and fainted when first exposed to the badge) but ultimately, when the moment has passed and we have all calmed down, a little bit dull. Cameron Carter
While playing for Chile against Ecuador in the South America Under-20 championship last week, Bryan Carrasco did the most outrageous piece of gamesmanship we've ever seen. Fortunately it was spotted by the ref.
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Halifax Town home, 1998-99
Following a five-year exile in the Conference, Halifax Town returned to the Football League in 1998 wearing this popular and distinctive shirt. To add to the euphoria of promotion, Town fans were delighted to find that their sponsors for the 1998-99 season were to be the Nationwide Building Society, which at the time was also sponsoring the Football League itself. For those who were also slightly puzzled by the unlikely choice of Halifax as beneficiaries, a possible clue came in a quote from a Nationwide marketing director, who said: "We are delighted to be able to give Halifax Town a little extra help in their first season back in the league." Was this perhaps a subtle dig at rival building society The Halifax, who had never supported the club in any way?
The decision wasn't without some controversy. Director Chris Holland, whose decorating firm had sponsored the team in previous seasons, felt that his support had been unappreciated and that the club had rushed to accept the new deal with indecent haste. He would resign later in the season. However, the shirt, with its busy blue and white design and central positioning of the town's impressive coat-of-arms, sold well, particularly during the early months of the season which saw Town leading the table at the end of November. And with those heady days of League football now a distant memory for fans, it conjures up nostalgic images of Geoff Horsfield, Kevin Hulme, Kieran O'Regan and one of the best teams in Halifax's history. Charlie Adamson
from Ian Chadwick
"Harry Redknapp often complains about being perceived as a Cockernee geezer. Then he contributes to stories like this from the Sun this week, headlined Nosh n Becks on Spurs menu. Stroll on guv."
from Andy Fraser
"Burnley full-back Danny Fox's surprise departure from Celtic last season is explained on Wikipedia."
from Chris Barltrop
"Recent mentions in the Howl of obscured advertising hoardings inside grounds reminded me that the scoreboard at Swindon Town's County Ground seems to be sponsored by Divorce Online, apparently 'the UK's leading uncontested divorce service'. There is a board displaying the same website address behind the goal at that end. I wonder if the company is targeting disillusioned League One strikers or the depressed home spectator. Is Swindon a hotbed of marital strife? I know we're in and out of recession but is a DIY divorce really the answer? And, given that I go to watch the Robins for the football, is this really what fans think about during the game? However, judging by the entertainment on offer in Wiltshire this season I think they company have pulled off a masterstroke – I wonder if they could enable fans to divorce players or the coaching staff?"
Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards
Joe Jordan, Verona Panini Calciatori 1983-84
There was much speculation about what Joe Jordan said to Gennaro Gattuso during their touchline spat in the Champions League game between AC Milan and Tottenham. But it can't have been anything that Gattuso hadn't heard before, and possibly in the same accent given that his wife Monica is from Glasgow.
Jordan was a Milan player himself for two seasons in the early 1980s but it is not an era that the club's fans will remember with any fondness. Milan were relegated in 1979-80 after having points deducted for their involvement in a bribery scandal. Promoted the following year, they went down again in 1981-82 but this time as a consequence of poor performances on the pitch. In his first season after joining from Man Utd, Jordan managed just two goals in 22 games, though the club's top scorer Roberto Antonelli only got four in a team total of 21.
He did better in Milan's Serie B title-winning season in 1982-83, scoring ten times in 30 matches, and he moved to Verona the following summer but was restricted to 12 games through injury. Verona then bought Danish striker Preben Elkjaer as his replacement and immediately won the league, as detailed in the current edition of WSC. Milan didn't give up on big British battering rams after their experience with Jordan and got some effective performances from Mark "Attila" Hateley later in the 1980s.
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