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20 May 2011 ~

The FA have been applauded for announcing that they will abstain in the FIFA presidential election. But what they should do is to publicly support one candidate then vote for the other. Until they can get the hang of that sort of thing no one is going to take them seriously.

Badge of the week ~ South China AA, Hong Kong
It's not immediately obvious, is it. Why a football club would choose to identify itself – its core being, its "it-ness", if you will – through an X-ray image of a chap in plus-fours on a pogo stick. It appears that, at the time of the club's formation, a period of crisis had overtaken the country. An oil shortage forced the governing English to ban motorised vehicles and promote the private use of the pogo stick for all internal travel. The unrest caused by the fact that pogoing is an extremely inefficient mode of transport – unless you want visit five or six random points very close to you in quick succession – led to the infamous No-British-Harmed Riots of 1954. In anticipation of politicised locals bouncing up to the scene with small arms secreted in their trouserwear, the military employed X-ray technology to screen the gathering crowd for troublemakers.

In order to pacify the population after the uprising, the South China region was permitted a new football team where they might go to let off steam in the public arena with impunity. The result of the protest, incidentally, was that the people were allowed to upgrade from pogo sticks to unicycles and subsequently, after a well-organised leafleting campaign in the rural districts, a tricycle with a horn. Cameron Carter

from Drew Gouldson
"In his report on Arsenal v Aston Villa, the Sun's Antony Kastrinakis writes of Stan Kroenke: 'It seems he wants profits more than trophies. Ironic as the former is a misspelt anagram of the latter.' On that basis you could say that every word is a misspelt anagram of every other. Perhaps Mr Kastrinakis will return to this intriguing theme in his next report."

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Macclesfield Town home, 2001-03
The design for Macclesfield's home shirt for the 2001-03 season wasn't particularly groundbreaking – slightly different material, slightly different shade of blue, yellow and white trim instead of white. The sponsor, however, was quite interesting. Having previously been sponsored by the chairman's building company FBL, to get a national haulage company was considered quite a coup.

Not content with just being named on the shirts, James Irlam repainted one of its normally red liveried lorries in the Macclesfield Town colours. The truck was used for deliveries in the local area and was parked outside the gates on matchdays, providing not just plenty of publicity but also turning its regular driver into something of a local celebrity. When we played Carlisle, Eddie Stobart (Carlisle's sponsor) sent one of their lorries and the two were parked facing each other in a mechanical Mexican stand-off.

The partnership also provided one of the club's supporters' groups, Silk Alliance, with a fund raiser when a shrewd fan persuaded Corgi to produce a limited-edition model of the truck. Underwritten by the members of the Silk Alliance, 2,000 models were produced which were snapped up by Macc fans and Corgi collectors alike. The venture raised £15,000, which was donated towards the funding of new striker Neil Robinson from Prescot Cables who had been identified by then manager David Moss as a real find.

Sadly, this was the high point. Robinson went on to make a grand total of two starts and nine substitute appearances, scoring no goals, before being shipped back to non-League, the Silk Alliance are no more and the sponsorship deal ended in 2003. Eddie Stobart won the battle of the lorries when they bought out James Irlam in 2008. Steve Mundy

from Richard Huston
"Here's a tip for you: 'Football chants sung by supporters of teams in the Football League may cause offence, as the football song's lyrics may contain profanity.' So say the proprietors of FanChants, which claims to have thoroughly surveyed chanting at every ground this season. I would dispute their claim that the volume of Liverpool fans' chants reaches 97 decibels – 'the equivalent of a pneumatic drill' – but would accept that, at an average 65 decibels, the matchday volume at Craven Cottage is 'similar to levels of normal conversation'."

Ah, the marvellous technique of Argentinian footballers. Gustavo Oberman of Argentinos Juniors takes everyone by surprise.

from Daniel Keane
"I got this from the North West Business Insider email. The only surprise is that Garry Cook hasn't put his name to it."

Manchester City FC have unveiled a new trial design for their platinum level corporate boxes at the City of Manchester Stadium, dubbed the "corporate box of the future". For last night's match against Stoke City, two boxes were cleared to make way for the installation of two, 8ft high by 11ft wide, bespoke sets sponsored by Heineken and Harvey Nichols. The "his" box is inspired by Heineken's "walk in fridge" advertising campaign and is billed as a chill-out zone, housing 350 chilled bottles of beer. The Harvey Nichols box features more than 100 pieces of designer clothes, jewellery, handbags and shoes from Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin.

The club stressed that this is a trial run as it looks to increase the range of "matchday experiences". City's new corporate marketing manager Justice Ellis said: "The objectives were two fold; to create a fans' tribute to the walk-in fridge commercial, while working with two business partners to create the corporate box of the future. We know our customers value a bespoke and unique experience every time they visit. This concept turns the traditional corporate box on its head, showing that anything is possible in creating an experience that excites and engages. We want to show brands that they can do so much more than a standard box set-up. We're prepared to work with them to make every game an event.

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Barry Silkman, Manchester City Panini Football 80
The type of midfielder often described as "busy", Barry Silkman only spent one season with Man City, who he joined from Plymouth in 1979, though he went on to have a long career in the lower divisions. As one of the first footballers to become an agent he still turns up on the back pages 20 years after his retirement.

Silkman is known chiefly for working with Pini Zahavi, the "super agent" who has had a long involvement with Chelsea. Just lately, however, he has been busy on West Ham's behalf with distinctly mixed results. Before one of his clients, Avram Grant, was appointed manager, Silkman had been involved in the signing of Benni McCarthy, who made only two league starts in his year with West Ham.

More recently, Silkman helped to bring in, among others, Mido, Ilan and Pablo Barrera while also arranging the loan deal for Robbie Keane. Having recently laid off their chief scout, West Ham are said to be expecting Silkman to recommend players for their forthcoming Championship campaign. As busy as ever, Barry also trains greyhounds for a consortium called the Three Honest Men Partnership.

from Richard Sillett
"I recall very clearly that EA Sports' FIFA 2004 had Alun Armstrong – then an Ipswich player – down as being black, as mentioned in last week's Stickipedia. Not unlike their earlier title FIFA 97, which assigned Ryan Giggs the same skin tone (and haircut) as Ruud Gullit. By the time one's fourth sending-off of the match had been accompanied invariably by John Motson's sage dictum 'This is football, not boxing' (to which Andy Gray would unfailingly reply 'When you talk about the hard men of the game, you talk about him') the whole playing experience became quite surreal."

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