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15 July 2011 ~

We're very busy finishing the WSC pre-season preview. So we've taken on some extra help. A new intern, Rebekah, is starting next week but we're a bit concerned about her – she has lots of football contacts and her CV is good, but her references are a bit iffy.

Badge of the week ~ Shabab Al-Sahel, Lebanon
"And who will have won when the soldiers have gone… FROM THE LEBANON." So asked the Human League in 1984 and they had a point really because it's not always obvious. And Shabab Al-Sahel's wonderfully evocative badge bears a similar interpretation. There are no soldiers in this vivid amateur watercolour, but soldiers have been here – we know this from the unpopulated fort in the background and the general tidiness of the area. But which side has won? Neither, because now the land is lone and barren, lost in the slumberous calm of the deserted battlefield, a calm that will remain undisturbed until the advent of a much-heralded local regeneration project including waterside office space and a marina.

There is a message of hope from the football in the foreground, which seems to be saying: "Sure, this has been the scene of organised butchery and shouting, but now that the soldiers have gone we can play a game of football, taking care of landmines and suchlike." The Human League didn't even mention football in their song about the Lebanon. They could have done too because Phil Oakey only wrote two short verses before tiring and going straight to the chorus and middle-eight. If it had been a less effete artiste, such as Bruce Springsteen or Jimmy Nail, we might have had a few more verses out of them and some kind of humanitarian solution. Cameron Carter

from Harry Nolan
"Regarding the item on Non-Corinthian figures submitted by Carl Hawkins in last week's Howl. I think he's being a bit harsh on the company. In my opinion they are guilty only of mislabelling the items, as the one which purports to be a likeness of Alex Ferguson is clearly Bob Wilson."

from Tim Foley
"On the subject of likenesses of Alex Ferguson, this agency seems to have put up the wrong picture, of a Methodist minister who was passing by at the time."

from Jonathan Paxton
"Could it be that Mamady Sidibe has been tweaking his own Wikipedia page?"

from Richard Huston
"What's the quickest way to build up a collection of Andriy Shevchenko's evocatively sweaty shirts to sell on Ebay? Invade the pitch and rely on his good nature. If it starts to happen at every game he may get suspicious."

Manchester City players have picked up on the planking craze. Let's hope that their gobby chief executive Garry Cook joins in soon, ideally by suspending himself over a precipitous drop.

The Football Supporters' Federation staged their first awards night on Saturday and WSC was among the recipients. Former Leyton Orient manager John Sitton took part in a panel quiz that ran through the evening. He once tore up a WSC article about him in a Channel 4 documentary on his disastrous spell as the club's manager in 1994-95. But we decided not to mention it.

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Norwich City home, 1997-99
Walk around the parks of Norfolk on a Sunday morning and you will still see plenty of these shirts. Hanging on makeshift rails alongside dead men's tweed jackets or draped across VHS box-sets of Poldark, this 1997-99 first team shirt is a car-boot memento of a miserable time most City fans struggle to recall.

Produced by Pony, yet crucially designed by none other than Bruce Oldfield, this shirt (the successor to a ridiculously collared Mitre mess that resembled a Pharaoh's smock) was unveiled at a west London champagne breakfast, modelled by Keith O'Neill, Darren Eadie and local model Sarah Thomas (dating the floppy-haired wastrel O'Neill at the time).

A cheap, thousand-wash bobble to the touch, the granddad-collared top was uniquely paired with yellow, rather than green, shorts (also complete with green piping) and yellow socks in a banana-skin nod to the mustard-men that had agreed to sponsor the kit. Nice idea, but the mustard yellow looked more like the dull orange foam of a car seat.

Mike Walker's unsuccessful second stint at the club (15th in 1997-98) and Bruce Rioch's so-so return to management (ninth) took care of proceedings during the kit's two-season run in what was Division One, with Iwan Roberts and Darren Eadie (almost lost in the sack-like bagginess of the kit) the stars of a terminally average team. Rather than serving as a hors d’oeuvre to the main course, the champagne breakfast kit launch was, in reality, the act of ridiculous folly we suspected all along. Oh, for the bird guano kit of 1992-93. Andrew Woods

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