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16 September 2011 ~

Kenny Dalglish has insisted that he has the "utmost respect" for match officials after a meeting with referees' chief Mike Riley. This had been prompted by Dalglish complaining that major decisions had gone against Liverpool in every game this season. When managers make regular complaints about referees it can look like gamesmanship. Before a match against Manchester United in March 2011, an experienced boss commented: "Sometimes you think the ones who shout loudest get more beneficial decisions and that would be unfair." Wise words from Kenny Dalglish.

Badge of the week ~ Red Berets FC, Kenya
You don't mind a dull badge. The football world is crammed full of dull badges bearing nothing but a dual-hued shield, a large overbearing football, the team's name in pastel shades and so on. Encountering these is an occupational hazard for the seasoned badge-fancier – one simply blinks back the disappointment and tries to move on. But when a team called the Red Berets, run by the Kenyan police force, can only come up with a tediously basic picture of a football, it amounts to dereliction of duty.

It is only understandable if the designers experienced a kind of option paralysis, because there are so many possibilities here. What would have been wrong with a picture of a nice smart man wearing a red beret? Or at least a red beret worn at a rakish angle by the football? Or a burlesque dancer wearing a red beret in an erotic manner that was somehow still palatable to a family audience? I'm just blue-skying here. Or, as it is a Kenyan police operation, how about a picture of a police officer accepting cash in a brown envelope from an illegal chicken trafficker? (Bit of political satire there.)

Perhaps what happened was that the design budget for this badge went straight into the police's Christmas party fund – they're not paid very much, you know – and the image knocked up by a couple of constables on a Friday afternoon. A poor show all round. Cameron Carter

from Nick Walker
"We can expect to see some creative write-ups of Manchester City matches this season but will anything match this florid opening from the Manchester Evening News this week?"

After some clever footwork the young striker ruins a good opportunity by putting in a useless cross. Oh, hold on...

from Pete Ellender
"This headline in the Times (complete with typo) suggests that Argos were under the impression that there's a World Cup every year. Sepp Blatter's working towards it, mind you."

from Shane Regan
"It's not vandalism as such, but surely Ireland and Manchester United legend Denis Irwin deserves a better Wikipedia image than the one provided for him here."

The stark unvarnished truth in a classic headline from Leicester's sports paper in 1997.

from Phil Town
"Vitória de Setúbal's Brazilian forward Cláudio Mejolaro (commonly known as Cláudio Pitbull) gets a fitting haircut ."

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Kaizer Chiefs home, 2001-02
This Kaizer Chiefs kit embodies the ethos of South Africa's largest club. Bright and bold, it bears the stamp of lucrative deals with Nike and the mobile phone giant Vodacom, whose ubiquitous logo is forever plastered across the skyscrapers, stadiums and malls of Johannesburg. Nicknamed the Amakhozi (the lords), the Chiefs are South Africa's glamour club, and they want you to know it.

Yet during the late 1990s the Chiefs were perennial nearly-men, finishing as runners-up in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) for three consecutive years. The agony continued in the new millennium. On the final day of 2000-01, three clubs were in contention for the title. In the end all three fluffed their lines: the leaders Orlando Pirates drew, but neither the Chiefs nor Mamelodi Sundowns could muster the win needed to leapfrog them.

The Amakhozi nonetheless experienced stunning success in cup competitions. In late 2001, in a period dubbed "Operation Vat Alles" (win everything) by the club's spokesman Putco Mafani, the Chiefs secured four trophies in as many months, culminating in victory in the African Cup-Winners Cup. The Chiefs became the competition's first South African winners after a 90th-minute penalty in the second leg secured a 2-1 aggregate victory over Angola's Interclube. For once the "lords" lived up to their billing. George Thomson

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