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26 August 2011 ~

You will have heard the marvellous news that Alex Ferguson will talk to the BBC again after a meeting with the Director General and the director of BBC North. This was preceded by negotiations involving Nelson Mandela, Ban Ki-moon and the Dalai Lama. An all-party group of MPs are calling for this momentous day be commemorated with a public holiday from next year.

Badge of the week ~ PFC Kaliakra Kavarna, Bulgaria
According to the press release for this design, there is a lot of complex symbolism here. The designers state: "The shape of the badge is taken from heraldry and represents the defensive shield, a subliminal promise that the club will look after its own people at every level. The image of the ball represents football itself, the liberating nature of the game for both the free and the oppressed people of the world. The vertical stripes or bars represent the oppressed people being in jail, while the football, at its raised altitude, stands for the free people of the world visiting them – or just passing by the jail – as well as representing Freedom itself. Of course it also represents football. The vertical stripes equally symbolise the team's kit as well as the ability to go up and down, the vicissitudes of life to which a football club and all of us are prone. The image in the left-hand panel represents a robot duck being rude to a waitress." This is how the designers describe the intricacies of the images they have chosen, according to a free Bulgarian translator app on a mobile phone. The obnoxious aquatic bird is an unusual one in football iconography but blends successfully into the bigger picture here when one is privy to the meaning of the other images. Cameron Carter

from Andy Blackwell

"I realise that a club website is not the place place to go for a balanced match report but Real Madrid's forensically one-eyed reporter seems convinced that they should have been given the trophy whatever the score."

Martin Allen has obviously not heard of Lauren Bacall's famous advice to Humphrey Bogart in the Hollywood classic To Have And Have Not: "You just put your lips together and blow."

from Henry Bridge
"Some Arsenal fan on Wikipedia is evidently not happy with Emmanuel Frimpong."

from Tom Lines
"Gone are the days when professional footballers were content to take the well-worn retirement path of buying a public house or perhaps a gentlemen's outfitters. Former Portsmouth, Walsall and Rushden winger Paul Hall has recently released a single with his group SKO, and although I can find no record of it troubling the pop charts it seems a perfectly good addition to the genre.

Don't ask me what that genre is, but it does have a nice video with quite a few shots of those ceiling fans that always make it look like the budget stretched to Barbados rather than Bordesley Green. Paul's contribution is notable for rhyming the words Spanish and, er, 'tannish'. As if that wasn't worrying enough, Health and Safety will doubtless want a word with his mate who appears to be doing the lion's share of the vocal with a toothpick in his mouth. That's just dangerous."

From now on refs at Dutch second division matches will need to watch out for disgruntled motorised wheelchair users.

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Cardiff City away, 1993-94
JD Sports have been looted all over England in recent weeks, but they don't stock anything as outrage-inducing as this affront of a top. Maybe they should – these bad boys wouldn't get nicked in a million years. Worn only once that season, in a 2-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers in January 1994, this shirt is so utterly wrong that it has cult status among Cardiff fans.

Marking the halfway point (and sartorial low) of City's 18-year tour of the League's lower two divisions from 1985, this design spurned tradition and style in favour of blackish-grey TV-interference stripes between solid red stripes. An oversized central white panel provided merciful retinal relief. Made by global sports clothing giant Bluebird, its sole redeeming feature was the local-rag sponsor. Now Cardiff are sponsored by Malaysia, an entire country. There's fancy.

Two weeks after wearing this shirt, one of the greatest days in football history saw Cardiff annihilate top-tier Manchester City 1-0 at a tumultuous Ninian Park in the FA Cup fourth round, Nathan Blake scoring a goal so beautiful it still makes me smile, 17 summers on. Thank God there wasn't a replay – we would have shipped double figures in this monstrosity. Mark Ainsbury

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