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11 May 2012 ~
Speaking about the Premier League finale on Sunday, Sir Alex Ferguson said: "We can only do our best and hope something stupid happens with City." He seems to have got his wish, as City have invited back their notorious former chief executive Garry Cook for the day. Cook is said to be planning a motivational speech for the players, so expect QPR to be 3-0 up after half an hour.
Badge of the week ~ Arsenal de Sarandi, Argentina
The message here is simple and shocking – not all castles are big. The legend tells that in the Argentine port of Avellaneda, long ago, before mankind stopped making non-crime-based drama, there lived a gnome. Yes, that's right, a gnome. And the gnome is no more ridiculous a figure than a dragon or Minotaur and some gnomes are capable of breaking your arm. However, the gnome of Avellaneda was more of a passive stereotype gnome who lived on his own in a very small castle, surrounded by water and a large residential area. Because gnomes were known for their magic, some townspeople would approach the castle, rap upon the gate and ask for help from the owner. Here they would be ushered into a low hall where the gnome would regard the individual knowingly and ask a riddle before he would deign to help.
This worked well for a while until the gnome got a bit irked with people only coming round when they wanted something. His riddles became increasingly obtuse. He started with questions such as "Where do you see yourself in five years' time?" and "What is the meaning of this sentence?" and was able to ignore the rumblings of discontent from the community right up until the day he asked a blacksmith "What am I? Larger than a hen I be, yet smaller than a horse?" When the solution was finally discovered to be "a large mouse" the gnome was urged to stop asking riddles and get a proper job. Hence the club motto: Hard Work and Cut Out the Fancy Stuff. Cameron Carter
from James Bentley
"AOL takes an unnatural interest in third-tier football and Bury owing to our American striker Mike Grella. I'm still not sure what 'Bury now is 15-19-10' actually means but 'Andrai Jaones was ejected' means 'sent off'."
Following on from the film about Ipswich's kit, featured in last week's Howl, Leeds United have also made an ambitious promo in which Neil Warnock asks for volunteers to join him in the trenches. Someone? Anyone?
from Adam Harnischfeger
"I'm not sure if this section of Barry Hayles's Wikipedia page constitutes vandalism – but it's definitely farcical."
Neil Lennon thinks the Scottish football authorities are out to get him – and he may need to watch his own players too. Andrew Blackman's sliding lunge at the Celtic manager won the tackle of the year award at the club's end of season do.
from Adam Barnard
"Watching the Europa League final on Wednesday I heard Stan Collymore offer this piece of insightful analysis: 'Athletic Bilbao have a corner in a very good position.' That would be different from the usual corners taken from the halfway line then."
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Dundee United away, 1993-94
Bearing a striking resemblance to overalls belonging to a clumsy painter, Dundee United's away shirt in 1993-94 was a bold statement by the club as it entered a new era. At the end of the previous season, Jim McLean had stepped down as manager after 22 years ruling with an iron fist. A period that included a European Cup semi-final, a UEFA Cup final in 1987 (defeating Barcelona home and away in the process) and a Premier Division title in 1982-83 won at the home of our nearest rivals ensured that this was the most successful in our history.
Away shirts at the time were safe and conservative – all white, black shorts if the suppliers were feeling particularly rakish. Seldom before had there been artistic licence to produce what was to become known as the "Jackson Pollock" as McLean simply would never have allowed it. In his place stepped Yugoslav Ivan Golac. A former player at Southampton and manager of Torquay United, Golac immediately ingratiated himself to the fans when it was reported that he was taking the team to nearby Camperdown Park to "smell the flowers" after training sessions and claimed to have learned English by listening to the Rolling Stones.
Off-white with garish streaks of black and grey in a seemingly random design, the shirt became familiar both on and off the pitch during the season. What made it more desirable were the lack of sponsor and inclusion of a new badge, the implication being that this new era was going to be different. And so it proved.
Finishing a disappointing sixth in the league, the season culminated in a 1-0 Scottish Cup final win over Rangers. With the club having lost in six finals under McLean, Golac had written himself into Tannadice folklore by winning the Cup in his first season. "Jackson Pollock" was destined never to appear in the final. However, just like Golac, who left not long into the start of the new campaign, a place in United's history was assured. Colin Thomson