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17 February 2012 ~
In a traumatic week for Rangers fans, there has been one piece of good news. Serial club owner Milan Mandaric announced he has no interest in buying them. At least that's what he said this morning.
Badge of the week ~ Prayag United SC, India
We have recently seen that there can be two types of duck in football iconography – the languid duck with an excellent work-life balance and the cocky duck of the type who slouches around and puts his webbed feet on your table without even a proper introduction. There is, however, a third duck, which appears at its most effective in the badge of Prayag United. It is the "scorpion duck". This mythical creature was first encountered by Europeans in the 18th century in the area of West Bengal, where Prayag Sports Club now play. The zoologist Jolyon Bullman wrote in his diary on August 15, 1786: "I have encountered that which passeth all explanation, a creature wherewith it bears all similarity to a duck but whereof confounds this explanation by virtue of its tail, the like of which is commonly seen on that most cunning of predators, the scorpion."
This is strong testimony indeed for the existence of such a rare and fabulous creature, from which Prayag United took iconic representation and the symbolism of subtle deadliness. However, as contemporaries of Bullman pointed out at the time, the same diary contains, only two days later, the entry: "I waded into the mob and cut through seven ants with one slash of my sabre, thereupon the King of the Ants threw down his magic hat and challenged me to mortal combat in the Star Chamber." Consequently, although the modern club thrived, Bullman’s scorpion duck never made the encyclopaedias. Cameron Carter
Following on from Steve McClaren's storage double-take in last week's Howl, what is Mick McCarthy doing here?
from Barry Wilson
"Former News of the World sports editor Paul McCarthy is now working as an advisor to Carlos Tevez. Yet I distinctly recall that McCarthy's former employers were highly critical of Tevez's behaviour in Munich. If you're looking for good publicity, is employing someone from the News of the World a clever move? You'd almost wonder if Kia Joorabchian knows what he's doing."
from Keith Acton
"I'd never felt sorry for Fernando Torres until I read this."
from Brad Woodhouse
"Darren will do nothing for most of the meal then eat his dessert brilliantly."
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Chelsea home, 1983-84
In 1983, Chelsea were looking likely to equal their club record for most years – six – spent outside of the top flight of English football. Nearly bankrupt and bought by Ken Bates for a pound in 1982, the club narrowly avoided relegation at the end of his first season as chairman and were not in a good way. But two signings and this shirt seemingly turned things around for the Blues.
The shirt, designed by Le Coq Sportif, was similar to those worn in the seasons either side of this, but with a groundbreaking difference. For the first time in the club's history, it had a sponsor - Gulf Air. Although the deal only lasted for 1983-84, it clearly brought tremendous luck to the side as they went on to pip Sheffield Wednesday to the Division Two championship.
Admittedly, Chelsea's success can also be put down to their new recruits Pat Nevin and Kerry Dixon. The latter, who finished as the division's top scorer with 27 goals, may get most of the adulation, but the role of his provider, Scottish winger Nevin, should not be underplayed. The pair went on to flourish at the club, making 662 appearances and scoring 238 goals (most of them Dixon's) between them.
Remarkably, Chelsea, sporting a similar but unsponsored kit, went on to finish sixth in Division One the next season. Upon finding a new sponsor, Commodore, in 1987, the club briefly dipped into the second tier for the 1988-89 season before reemerging and keeping their place in the top division ever since. William Turvill