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6 July 2012 ~
It's still not clear where Rangers will be playing next season. They are known to be interested in a move to England, so should consider the 5-a-side league WSC play in. There is no upper age-limit, which means Ally McCoist and Walter Smith could join in if they are short of players. The new owners will need to chip in £10 a week for balls and bibs. No TV coverage yet though.
Badge of the week ~ Manta FC, Ecuador
Manta is a very lively place (we won’t use "fun" as an adjective; it would have been easier but one has certain standards) in Ecuador. It is known as the Party Zone to Ecuadorians, or, more literally from the translation, "The Place Where Not Much Work Gets Done". Manta FC have built their image upon the legendary figure of the Party Imp. When the Party Imp is around, everyone has to have fun.
In fact, the people of Manta still relate the episode when the Party Imp was around and one man continued to arrange a Multi-Agency Case Conference on his phone. The Party Imp asked him once, politely, to throw off his suit jacket and play in the foam but the man merely twitched his head impatiently and ignored him. The Party Imp’s subsequent act of detonating the man’s skull from inside using faerie magic was heard in the border towns of Peru. You do have to enjoy yourself when the Party Imp is around – eating cheese cubes on a cocktail stick with laughter in the eyes is the bare minimum expected. The club are saying here: "We enjoy our football, please don’t tell the Party Imp otherwise." Cameron Carter
Gerard Pique appears to respond to what will always be known as The Shearer Sex Pronouncement.
from Aiden Pollard
"I thought Roy Keane demonstrated a grim humour in the last three weeks. A brief debate on discipline during ITV's coverage of the Euro 2012 final concluded that it is harder for a team to stay calm when losing. Gareth Southgate added a self-deprecatory 'I'm used to it'. 'I know you are,' deadpanned Keane, leaving a nicely weighted pause. 'That’s why we’re all sitting here.'"
Boca Juniors' rather flashy entrance for the home leg of the Copa Libertadores final. A nice round of applause ought to have been enough.
from Matt Elford
"Clive Tyldesley's first words on ITV's Euro final coverage – 'Thank you Adrian, and thank you for inviting us onto your sofas tonight' – were clearly aimed at currying favour with the viewers in the battle of the live broadcasts with the BBC. This hit a jarring note, not just because we're watching a game rather than pledging allegiance to a particular channel, but also because we have not invited the ITV production team onto our sofas, as they would be unable to broadcast from that position.
Tyldesley was at it again minutes later as ITV prepared to go to another break, just before kick-off. 'We really do appreciate you choosing us tonight,' he chirped, sounding like a particularly desperate B&B owner greeting his first couple of the season in mid-July. One could almost smell the slippers and single sausage."
Fernando Llorente may not have made it onto the pitch at Euro 2012 but at least he has been commemorated in crochet.
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Rangers home, 1992-93
Johan Cruyff played the entire 1974 World Cup with only two Adidas stripes on his Holland strip. Before each game he peeled one of den drie riemen from his shorts, shirt and socks. To do that with the 1992-93 Rangers strip he'd have needed a blowtorch. A domestic double in 1991-92 set Rangers up to equal Celtic's record of nine consecutive League titles.
Chairman David Murray and Marseille owner Bernard Tapie did deals for Trevor Steven conducted in US dollars. Such cosmopolitan company and financial high-flying demanded the end of Umbro and Admiral Rangers strips, if not the McEwan's Lager sponsorship. Rangers finally went Adidas just as the German manufacturer abandoned the sleek linear sleeve trims for something resembling the mud flaps on an HGV. Steven, Ian Durrant and Stuart McCall tucked shirts deep and wore shorts high – our entire midfield seemed to be wearing Kilmarnock strips.
With a shirt deemed the worst ever, the team duly produced the best season in the club's history. Domestic treble, 44-game unbeaten run, eliminating Leeds to become Britain's first Champions League representatives and falling just short of the final itself. The strip was retained until our final game of the following season when Adidas premiered a more plain blue shirt as we blew back-to-back trebles in the Scottish Cup final. Alex Anderson