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24 June 2011 ~

New Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas put together the notoriously detailed scouting report on Newcastle Utd for Jose Mourinho (a version can be downloaded here). So once he gets the chop at Chelsea, there will surely be a regular gig for him doing those novel-length tactical analysis pieces that have spread through the broadsheet newspapers like a particularly virulent rash.

Badge of the week ~ Gandzasar FC, Armenia
Once it was that Armenia was a wild, a lawless land. The ways through the mountains were controlled by robber barons and people who acted just like robber barons but called themselves Independent Financial Advisors. And in this land it happened (you kind of have to talk like this when you're talking about the old days) that certain of the townsmen gathered with the intention of starting a football club in the foothills of Gandzasar. Surely, they reasoned, if this province has a football club, then a civilised society will naturally form around it. So Gandzasar FC was formed and everyone in the area (except the robber barons, who were unavailable) brought their own expertise to the task of creating from the barren ground a fertile new stadium.

Finally the building was complete, with the addition of a car park for the one wooden car that was locally owned. At the hour of the opening ceremony, however, with a large expectant crowd clustered outside the stadium walls, it became apparent that the mayor had mislaid the key to the front door. Just when it was feared that the great day would deteriorate into yet another folk festival, a brown bear approached from the mountains to the north with the key dangling from its maw. The mob huzzahed mightily at the sight and a good-natured three days of traditional music played on hand-made instruments was narrowly averted. To this day, if you lose your car- or house-keys in this particular area of Armenia, there is a saying: "Maybe a bear will bring them, although this is improbable." Cameron Carter

from Neil Gouldson
"What's that, Ryan? You've got some advice to offer about safe sex?"

from Simon Hughes
"According to Wikipedia Kasper Schmeichel seems to have been given an extra incentive to sign for Leicester City."

Following on from the mention of Pascal Chimbonda's captivating Tweets in last week's Howl, note that Nani is using Twitter to show off his holiday snaps. His new friend had better just order a salad.

from Brad Woodhouse
"Aston Villa have insisted that Stewart Downing won't be leaving the club this summer but the official website tells a different story."

The choir hired to laud Partizan Belgrade's new kit had to improvise smartly when the model suffered a bad injury.

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Boston United home, 2006-07
Boston United, formed in 1934, have played in amber and black since the 1950s. It was at the end of that decade that they first used sort of thick stripes seen here, but they spent most of the next 40 years with black only on the trimmings. Since 2000, though, we have had four such kits, with this shirt being the one the Pilgrims wore in their last Football League season.

On the final day, we went to Wrexham needing to win to stay up. But if we did win it was probably Wrexham themselves who would go down. Franny Green put us one up but Wrexham came back with three goals without reply and Boston entered into a CVA with minutes to go, thus becoming the first club to both join and leave the League with a points deduction. That didn't stop us singing every player's name after all the Wrexham fans had gone home. It may seem odd to do so after we'd just been relegated, but we just wanted to thank them for giving their all over the previous few months without always being paid. Significantly, manager Steve Evans didn't get his name chanted.

Things weren't looking good for United, more due to the debts than relegation. We didn't own the ground and were now in administration. I can't have been the only Boston fan who thought this might be our last game ever. But the answer's on the shirt. David Newton and Neil Kempster of Chestnut Homes attended a Save the Club meeting on Father's Day and decided to buy the Pilgrims. They've barely put a foot wrong since. John Chapman

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