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1 June 2012 ~
With Scott Parker said to be joining Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry in missing the Euros, the press are worrying that England now have an understrength midfield. But that's been the case with every major tournament they've been in for the last 20 years.
Badge of the week ~ Petrojet FC, Egypt
Once there lived in Egypt's Nile Delta (luckily for people with a poor sense of geography, everyone in Egypt lives on or near the Nile Delta, just as all Scottish people come from Glasgow) a young man with a Terrible Gift. After being bitten by a doctor's receptionist, he found that a terrible anger occasionally rose in him, causing him to emit a deadly laser beam from his eyes. In the early days following the transformation he was unable to fully control this power, accidentally killing two girlfriends and an ophthalmologist, but in a montage sequence underscored by light rock he gradually comes to master his eye-lasers and subsequently begins to devote his adult life fighting crime in the Nile Delta region.
Within a couple of years he had lasered to death six murderers and a man who had been bitten by a primary-school secretary but was using his death-ray power for evil. It is not long before our man is noticed by the big petrol companies and hired to patrol the Nile Delta petrol station forecourts pretending to be just about to use his lasers for promotional purposes. The local petrol company football club's choice of heroic icon for their club crest was an absolute no-brainer. Cameron Carter
Here's a nice idea for keen gardeners. It's a rockery based on a Lotto survey that asked respondents to name England's four most iconic players of the last 25 years. At first glance this looks like Martin Fry of ABC, Jack Dee, a medieval gargoyle and a clinically depressed woman. But apparently it's David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Paul Gascoigne (with tear-duct water feature) and Stuart Pearce.
All you wanted to know about Yohan Cabaye plus a bit extra.
Roy Keane's recently deceased dog Triggs has an autobiography out. The opening sentence – "A hot afternoon in mid September elides into a cool, ambrosial evening" – gives you a idea of the overall tone. It's £9.99 now but check out the bargain bins in a few months' time.
from David Wangerin
"Clyde midfielder Pat Scullion has made an unrecognised contribution to zoology according to Wikipedia."
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Sampdoria home, 1990-91
Sampdoria were formed in 1946 following the merger of two clubs, Sampierdarenese and Andrea Doria. To show that Sampdoria represented both of the former teams, the shirts incorporated the blue of Andrea Doria, and the white, red and black design of Sampdierdarenede across the mid-section. The design is as iconic as they come in Italy, although city rivals Genoa have labelled Samp as Ciclisti (cyclists) due to the design of the shirts.
Undoubtedly the greatest season in Samp's history was the 1990-91 campaign, when they won their first and only Serie A title. Coached by legendary Serb Vujadin Boskov, Doria finished five points ahead of Milan with a squad including Gianluca Vialli, Gianluca Pagliuca and Roberto Mancini; the current Manchester City boss even got a Sampdoria badge tattoo in homage to the unlikely success. The following season Samp reached the Champions League final, losing 1-0 to Barcelona at Wembley.
Throughout the years the design hasn't changed, although the manufacturer has. Kappa have made the shirts in recent years, their favoured skin-tight style proving popular among the supporters. Aided by these shirts, Samp qualified for the Champions League in 2010, though they have since dropped back into Serie B for the first time since 2002, currently sitting in the play-off places and hoping to make an instant return to the top flight. Charles Ducksbury