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1 July 2011 ~

When he first got involved with Birmingham City, Carson Yeung, the club's controlling shareholder, was widely presented as a colourful character of whom we would hear a lot more. And so it has proved, as he is currently under investigation in his native Hong Kong. His lawyer seems unconcerned, however: "All they're saying is that he has got a lot of money, and he hasn't paid a lot of tax." On that basis he'll be due for a knighthood in the new year.

Badge of the week ~ Blackpool
Dead brown leaves and a beaver in chainmail – quite a difficult design to pitch to a northern chairman back in the 1880s. Victorian industrialists were not known for their patronage of the burgeoning European art form of absurdism, so the absurdist design team, who had already set their hearts on waning foliage and a medieval armed critter, had more work to do to gain the trust and approval of their dour employer.

Clearly they had to throw something else into the mix. The word "Progress" was added at the bottom as a sop to the leaders of the industrial revolution, whose young cotton mill workers may have needed reminding of the positive side of working 15 hours a day in a noise storm with steadily decreasing amounts of fingers. Above this encouraging motto they added the obvious visual equivalent of progress – a seagull flying between twisted red-hot metal bars. This more sensible combination obviously appeased the industrialist chairman, who consequently let the warlord beaver through as a personal favour. Cameron Carter

Pushy parents! Dress your kids up and win a pie! (We assume that the scamp in the picture is meant to be Chris Waddle.)

from Chris Stride
"Once you've gawped at the Michael Jackson statue at Craven Cottage why not drop by the club shop where the 'King of Pop' is celebrated by a vast array of new merchandise. I hope no copyrights have been violated."

If you must chip a penalty like an urbane sophisticate, you'd better do it right and not mess it up in a way that costs your team promotion from the Austrian third division.

Another for the Howl's occasional series on damaged Subbuteo items for sale on Ebay ("some borken from fixing lugds" may be a technical term, or possibly two). Readers of a sensitive disposition should avoid the link in case the carnage depicted comes back to them in their dreams.

from John Marques
"The humiliations that Rhodri Giggs has been subjected to lately are borne out by typing his name into Wikipedia. And to think that he was reckoned to be the more talented one – it's always the way."

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Brentford home, 2000-02
Steve Coppell's Brentford team of 2001-02 was the Bees' best in ten years. Only a 75th-minute Jamie Cureton goal that brought rivals Reading a 1-1 draw in the last game of the season prevented automatic promotion and resulted in another play-off final failure. The kit wasn't beautiful, but introduced some subtle black trim to the standard red and white stripes the club has worn since the late 1920s. Brentford's first strip of maroon, sky blue and light orange hoops would look more appropriate today on a jockey, but it reflected their rowing club origins.

What prompted a trade union to be the main shirt sponsor of a lowly football club? In Brentford's case the story, possibly apocryphal, is that they were attracted by the collective spirit the fans had shown in setting up BIAS, the supporters' association initially formed to help rid the club of unwanted owner/manager David Webb.

The association with GMB coincided with a fruitful period. In 2001 Brentford fans formed Bees United (becoming the club's majority shareholder in 2006), to help secure fan representation against another unwanted owner/manager Ron Noades, who was keen to sell Griffin Park and groundshare at Woking. In the 2002 local elections the fan-run ABeeC campaign won a council seat, providing a voice against the local authority's unhelpful and apathetic view to the club. GMB's fundamental approach is "together we can achieve more than we can do on our own". The legacy of Bees United is testament to that. SK Syed

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