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8 June 2012 ~

UK ministers have said they won't go to England's Euro 2012 group games in Ukraine in protest at the treatment of the country's jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. However, a Foreign Office statement said that attendance at knockout games is "under review". So if England do surprisingly well, expect to hear that the only people left in Downing Street are the cleaners and the cat.

Badge of the week ~ TASC FC, Botswana
The TASC crest represents the summoning to arms, the clarion call to muster all one's inner strength to enter the fray. Traditionally in Botswana, when the Boy with the Horn comes out from the veld he blows his horn, generally, because there's no real point emerging from dense grassland with a horn unless you're going to blow it. When the Boy with the Horn blows his horn, the sound is carried on the warm southern breeze and brings people running from all parts of Botswana, as this is the Horn of Confidence, known for its healing powers for low self-esteem.

Confidence is restored by the horn to people such as the middle-class Botswanan who narrowly missed out on meeting Miranda Hart during the last Comic Relief filming owing to a means-tested filtering procedure conducted by his government. His income from sales of cosmetics placed him just above the level at which one qualifies for a Visitee Wristband. Dr Mpule Sikwane, the country's equivalent of Roy Castle, regularly sings a song on national television about the Horn of Confidence.

The opening words, translated into English as accurately as possible from the Tswana lyric, are: "Confidence, Confidence, This is what we like. Confidence, Confidence, It helps you build a shed." Dr Sikwane's programme, Shed Building & Other Notable Skills, is the second most popular in Botswana, after Police, Instamatic Camera, Action. Cameron Carter

from Ed Upright
Chelsea are trying to woo the US market but I'm not sure if things like this will help.

No greater honour for a budding footballer than to be fouled by Nigel de Jong.

from Barry Lawson
"I don' t know why the Roy Hodgson statue on the Dover cliffside is being mocked. I think it will become a site of pilgrimage for centuries to come if England can get past the quarter-finals."









One unexpected effect of the Jubilee bank holiday was that the WSC office was broken into. They took two computers and £10 from petty cash. But they overlooked, among other things, our enormous Panini collection, some Subbuteo snow globes, a Terry Venables Corinthian figure that looks more like Joe Royle and the new autobiography of Simon Jordan. We'll leave the last one near the door in case they come back.

If Grant Holt's transfer request was written like this no wonder they turned it down. (Some perceptive comments underneath too.)


Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

spainaway94rgSpain away, 1994

For historical reasons we won't go into here Spain have often favoured a blue shirt as their change strip. Since the late 1970s they've had more options and this fetching mostly white with Spanish flag detail number got the nod for the 1994 World Cup.

Javier Clemente's Spain played their first two games in red, conceding a late equaliser in a 2-2 with South Korea and then drawing 1-1 with an over-the-hill German side. A switch to white for the third game brought a bit more zip and a 3-1 win over Bolivia to clinch a last-16 spot. 

Back in red Spain eased past Roy Hodgson's Switzerland to set up a quarter-final clash with Italy. 

Given the record of Spain v Italy games (going back to 1934 when a Mussolini-backed Italian side smashed the team from the Spanish Republic) wearing white again was possibly a mistake. In the final minute, with Italy 2-1 ahead, Luis Enrique looked about to send the game to extra-time until Mauro Tassotti floored him with an elbow. Hungarian referee Sandor Puhl was unmoved, even as blood streamed from a broken nose and onto the no longer so white shirt, and Spain were out. Dermot Corrigan

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