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18 November 2011 ~

Rio Ferdinand is among the major figures in English football who have criticised Sepp Blatter's claim that racism between players is not a problem. Surprisingly, however, there has been no comment from England captain John Terry. Perhaps it's not a subject he feels strongly about.

Badge of the week ~ Atletico Balboa, El Salvador
This image, to channel Alan Hansen momentarily, is all about pace, movement, speed, velocity. Atletico Balboa were founded as a result of a dream experienced by one of their founding fathers. It was a very vivid dream in which the subject is carried away by a tornado while out in the fields by his home, sheltering from creditors. Roughly deposited in a forest clearing, he encounters a scarecrow who doesn't have a brain, a tin man who doesn't have a heart and a gynaecologist who doesn't have a map. Renzo, for that is our hero's name, makes good friends with these three and they sing a song together, "Sheets of empty canvas, untouched sheets of clay. Were laid spread out before me as her body once did", actually prefiguring Pearl Jam's Black by a good 70 years. Pearl Jam, of course, never used cowbells.

The Good Witch of the North then appears and tells our hero to seek the advice of a wizard in the Emerald City on how to return home to El Salvador. Then there's a bit of business with his mother-in-law appearing dressed as a barn owl and arguing with him about the contents of a Rusty Nail. This does not fit with the main narrative of the dream, though, and may be ignored. Eventually he reaches the Emerald City where the wizard allows Renzo to fly home in his hot air balloon on the condition that he will start a new football team upon his return. When he awoke, the footballing pioneer immediately founded Atletico Balboa with a few friends and stopped eating cheese after midnight. Cameron Carter

from Mike Whalley
"An unfortunate typo in the 2004-05 North West Counties League handbook or a damning indictment of Skelmersdale United's reserve team kit? You decide."




Goalkeeper magazine launched earlier this year. They've rounded up some keepers to promote their somewhat niche title – here's one who may have scaled back on his fitness routines since he retired.

from James Morgan

"Upon seeing AFC Bournemouth goalkeeper's Shwan Jalal's delightful Wikipedia picture in which the viewer is positioned as if a giggling baby aloft in his arms, I was reminded of one my other favourite football-related ones. This was of referee Jarnail Singh, which was seemingly taken from a passing bus in which all you could see was two blurry figures with a pushchair, one of whom was maybe wearing a turban. Unfortunately, it has been deleted but his current one isn't much better."

The internet is full of unsatisfactory photos of non-League football. A website is now bringing them all together.

from Chris Lewis

"Following on from Paul McGrath's sombre interpretation of Goin' Back it's worth noting that Leeds and Juventus legend John Charles made a passable attempt at the coal miners' song Sixteen Tons. Nice baritone – none more Welsh."

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Crewe Alexandra home, 2005-06
This shirt simultaneously marked the beginning and end of two separate eras for Crewe. It was the first Alex shirt adorned with the emblem of local oat company Mornflake (whose factory lies a few hundred yards from Gresty Road), a sponsorship that lasts to this day. On the other hand, this was also the shirt that marked the end of Crewe's eight out of nine season spell as a second-tier club. In May 2006, Alex were relegated from the Championship, at which point the sad seed of decline was well and truly planted. Crewe are currently 18th in League Two.

Still, Alex fans can look back at the 2005-06 shirt with a fondness that goes beyond memories of second tier football. There is the Mornflake logo, which looks like a comical dead ringer of the Kelloggs symbol (perhaps wisely, Mornflake altered this in 2009) and the fact that like the standard of football, Crewe's shirt designs got much, much worse in post-Championship life. One only has to look at the 2010-11 kit, which felt like paper and was manufactured by virtual unknowns ABL, whose logo didn't even appear on the design – presumably through shame. Unsurprisingly, ABL were dropped after one season in favour of Carbrini. James Morris

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