A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
27 April 2012 ~
Pep Guardiola will announce shortly that he is standing down as Barcelona coach at the end of the season. We can exclusively reveal that Guardiola has lined up a new job for next season. He will be writing "Pep Talks", a tactics column for WSC. The sample he's done is baffling but we're told it's bound to be popular.
Badge of the week ~ CSD Municipal, Guatemala
In the Christian campsites of Guatemala, normally peaceable communities, there was at one time discord and unrest. Certain campsite rules were being routinely flouted – No Littering, Quiet During Psalm 46, No Psalter Fights, No Urinating With Bears, that kind of thing – and the self-policing had got out of hand with vigilante death squads administering summary justice. Until, from nowhere, came a stranger on horseback. He cut an impressive figure, even dressed in white stockings and a tutu (unusual heroic attire, even at the turn of the century). The stranger surged forth into camps all over Guatemala to bring justice to the tented communities. His steed was the colour of fresh blood and his lance was pretty new-looking too.
All in all, he commanded immediate respect from everyone. The very sound of his horse's hooves approaching or his red woollen scarf snapping in the breeze was enough to halt the miscreant in the very act of, say, wearing muddy boots into the toilet block, and bring him to his knees in prayer. The Ballet Rider of Justice, as he became known, is commemorated in CSD Municipal's badge for uniting communities and keeping people honest with a lance. Cameron Carter
Do you need a suit for a special occasion? There's a cream linen number available – only worn once on an open top bus parade through Norwich.
from Dean Manley
"Dan Walker said on Football Focus last Saturday that Gary Lineker would have 'Alan-squared on the sofa tonight', meaning, I suppose, that Alan Hansen and Alan Shearer would both be on Match of the Day. But he meant Alan x2, didn't he? Or 2Alan. Not Alan squared. Alan squared would be Alan. He was speaking of an addition of one Alan to another, not a multiplication of an Alan by itself. Maybe someone out there knows why he said it."
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
FC Kosice home, 1997-98
Club colours are rarely sacrosanct in Slovakia. Take Spartak Trnava, the country's best-supported club, who call themselves bíli andeli (the white angels) but actually play in rather devilish red and black stripes. Or MFK Ružomberok, who won the Corgoň Liga in 2005-06 wearing orange and black, yet now turn out in white.
FC Košice won the 1996-97 Slovak league title and became the country's first Champions League group stage representatives the following autumn. Drawn with Manchester United, Juventus and Feyernoord, they failed to earn a single point. Their orange and black striped home shirts of the time bore the abbreviated name of Východoslovenské železiarne (Eastern Slovakia Steel), their main sponsor and by far the biggest employer in the local area.
In 2000, VSŽ were taken over by the United States Steel Corporation and FC's fortunes declined. By 2003-04, they were playing second-tier football and facing bankruptcy. They were then merged with neighbouring small-town club Ličartovce, who were owned by Steel Trans, another prominent local firm. Named MFK Košice, the new club were promoted to the Corgoň Liga in 2006. However, they have made little impression since then and often play to home crowds of under 1,000. Their current yellow and blue kit, meanwhile, is a rather cynical nod to tradition as it replicates the colours of Kassai AC, Košice’s very first football club, founded by local Hungarians in 1904. James Baxter
While songs can be written about any subject, it's still hard to believe that one has been inspired by Kevin Kilbane.
from Chris Lewis
"I submit this article as proof positive that no amount of goal-line technology or robot referees will save us from the sheer idiocy of the tabloid press.
The laws clearly state that the whole of the ball must cross the whole of the line. The Mirror also later claim Pavel Pogrebnyak thought he had scored the goal, when Martin Jol clarified he hadn't in the post-match press conference."
Aldershot damage their chances of getting any coverage on Chinese state TV.
This week in history ~ Division Three, April 26, 1996
Graeme Jones scored two for Wigan at Torquay and was the division's top marksman with 31. The other scorer was winger Isidro Diaz, one of three Spanish players bought by Wigan the previous year. Jesus Seba went back to Spain after a year, while Diaz returned in 1998 after brief spells with Wolves and Rochdale. The third player, Roberto Martinez, remained in the UK for the rest of his career is now Wigan manager.
Micky Adams's Fulham spent almost the entire season – only their second at this level – in the promotion places and were top from October to February. This was a huge improvement on the previous year, when they finished 17th having slipped to second-bottom at one point. When Mohamed Fayed took over the club in September 1997, Adams was replaced by Ray Wilkins, with Kevin Keegan as "chief operating officer".
Third-placed Carlisle were in the middle of a turbulent period. They had been promoted then relegated in the previous two seasons and went down from the third level again in 1997-98, while being managed temporarily by controversial chairman Michael Knighton. The following year a last-minute goal from keeper Jimmy Glass saved them from relegation to the Conference where they were to spend a season in 2004-05. Knighton sold up in 2002.
In the play-off final a 90th-minute goal by Northampton's John Frain beat a Swansea side featuring player-manager Jan Molby. Among the scorers this weekend was Tony Ford of Mansfield who played 931 League games, a record for an outfield player, finally retiring aged 42 in 2001. Two of Hartlepool's goals against Barnet were scored by Joe Allon who was in his second spell at the club, the first of which ended when he moved to Chelsea for a brief stay in 1991. That sort of thing used to happen in English football.
After seven months at the bottom, Brighton moved up to 23rd with their win over Doncaster. It was the club's last match at the Goldstone Ground, their home for 95 years that had been sold against the fans' wishes. Brighton spent the next two years groundsharing with Gillingham before moving to the small athletics stadium at Withdean. The first League fixture at their new ground, the Falmer Stadium, was against Doncaster in August 2011.
Hereford's goal in the defeat at Leyton Orient was scored by Tony Agana who had played at the top level a few years earlier with Sheffield United, Notts County and Leeds. On the final day of the season, Brighton drew 1-1 at Hereford to send the latter down to the Conference. They were promoted back into the League in 2005-06 but may be heading down again this season.