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25 March 2011 ~

Blackburn's Steve Kean is now the bookies' clear favourite as the next Premier League manager to be sacked. So let's hope that he's still in charge in 2011-12 when his latest signing, Myles Anderson, will be eligible to play. The fact that Myles – who has so far made one sub appearance for Aberdeen – is the son of the agent Jerome Anderson, a "senior advisor" to the club's owners Venky's, is of course coincidental.

Badge of the week ~ Persitara North Jakarta, Indonesia
In the olden days in North Jakarta there lived two types of people: one tilled the land for crops, while the other idled in the long grasses, laughing suddenly at nothing in particular and threading lotus flowers through each other's jet-black hair. The first group hated and despised the second, partly because they contributed nothing to the back-breaking task of feeding the people and partly because they had much better sex. After two years of living in tense proximity, the farmers snapped. They gathered together and, at dead of night, fell upon their neighbours with sticks and farming implements. All of their indolent foes were slaughtered and the farmers felt better for a few days until they realised that there were no longer any wedding planners, book store sales assistants, school secretaries or choreographers among them. Soon, of course, their society failed and the land was reclaimed by animals and plantlife. The new people that came learned of this story and wrote a song about it called "Two Tribes", which is played over the Tannoy before the football team's home matches. It's better known locally than the Frankie Goes To Hollywood song of the same title but has yet to go platinum. Cameron Carter

from Tom Schröder
"Former Germany striker Gerald Asamoah only has himself to blame for a rather fraught evening. His excuse for not hanging around to talk to the police might have been improved on."

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Tottenham Hotspur home, 1999-2001
Although George Graham led them to the 1999 Worthington Cup in a Pony kit, his first full season brought the three stripes of Adidas which made Spurs look like a white and blue 1980s Arsenal. And it wasn't just the kit – they played like them too. Long balls were launched up to Les Ferdinand and Chris Armstrong while the midfield/second back-four, marshalled by Tim Sherwood and Steffen Freund, moved up the pitch like a slide-rule to mop up nod-downs, clearances and ricochets, apply the pressure and try to force a goal.

Suffice to say, Spurs fans were never really happy with this kind of football. Groans from the White Hart Lane crowd made this clear, and Gooner Graham was soon out of the door. Tottenham conspiracy theorists still insist Graham's appointment was Alan Sugar's revenge for the "T no Sugar" pro-Venables campaign of the early 1990s.

Spurs legend Glenn Hoddle was installed towards the end of the 2000-01 season. They lost the 2002 League Cup final in his first full season and then the kit entered the skin-tight Kappa era, worn by many a fat bloke down Tottenham High Road. Spurs won nothing under Hoddle and remained mid-table fodder, but at least they weren't Arsenal in disguise anymore. Paul Carstairs

from David Shaw
Mike Ashley isn't known for his sense of style or class, and Newcastle's official club shop is increasingly resembling a Sports Direct warehouse sale. But the newest addition to the T-shirt range surely requires some explanation. While I'm sure it'll find some buyers on Tyneside, what does this even mean?

from Mark Donoghue
"From his Wikipedia page it looks like rising Argentinian and Valencia star Ever Banega has some surprising interests."


National fans' organisation the Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) launched a petition this week calling for safe standing to be allowed in Premier League and Championship grounds. You can sign the online petition by visiting fsf.org.uk/safestanding

This week in history ~ Division One, March 25, 1933


This was the first of Arsenal's three successive League titles, a feat not matched until Liverpool's treble of 1982-84. Arsenal had also been champions in 1930-31 and were runners up in League and Cup the following season. They led the table for the last six months of the season barring one week in November when a 5-3 defeat to Villa put the latter on top. Arsenal's famously innovative manager Herbert Chapman died in January 1934 after contracting pneumonia while on a scouting trip.

The best-known game Arsenal were involved with this season was a 2-0 defeat at Walsall of Division Three in the FA Cup third round – still regarded as one of the great Cup shocks. The Arsenal team that day included three debutants who didn't play for them again.

Sheffield Wednesday finished third, seven points behind the champions and four below Aston Villa, after only one win in their last nine games. Villa's 2-1 win over Everton came during a sequence of four losses in six games that killed off their title push.The club's 78-year-old secretary George Ramsay had been in charge of team selection since the League's inaugural season in 1888. Their first manager, Jimmy McMullan, was appointed the following year.

Derby's goal at Bolton was scored by their England striker Jack Bowers who was the division's top scorer on 35 goals, two ahead of Villa's George Brown and Cliff Bastin of Arsenal. The previous season's champions, Everton, won the FA Cup, beating Manchester City 3-0 in the final. The game was the first in which players wore numbers on their shirts – 1 to 11 for Everton, 12 to 22 for their opponents.

Leicester avoided relegation by winning their last three matches while scoring 14 goals in the process. Bolton and Blackpool went down after slipping into the bottom two in the penultimate round of matches.

Noteworthy names playing this season included Tom "Pongo" Waring of Aston Villa, whose nickname came from a cartoon strip, Jimmy Argue (Birmingham), Walter Lax (Blackpool), Aubrey Fabian (Derby) and Alfred Strange (Sheffield Wednesday).

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Leighton James, Wales FKS World Cup 82
Among the former Wales internationals who will be involved in the media coverage of the Euro 2012 match against England tomorrow, only one has the experience of having scored in two Welsh victories in the fixture. Leighton James, now a radio pundit, scored the only goal in a Home International match at Wembley in 1977 and got the third goal in Wales' 4-1 win in the same competition in 1980.

England put out an experienced side that day, barring Glenn Hoddle, who was winning his second cap, and Forest centre-half Larry Lloyd, recalled to the team after an eight-year absence. In contrast the Wales side included three debutants in Luton centre-half Paul Price, Cardiff midfielder David Giles and his team-mate Keith Pontin who came on a sub for the first of his two caps. It was also a first match in charge for Wales manager Mike England.

A fast, skilful winger known for occasionally stopping play to look for a lost contact lens, Leighton James won his 54 caps with six different teams – including his home town Swansea for whom he played in Division One for two years in the early 1980s. His local partisanship led to a suspension by the BBC in 2008 when he wrote in a newspaper column that he'd be supporting Barnsley against Cardiff in their FA Cup semi-final. He seems to be unrepentant 

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