A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
3 August 2012 ~
No one will be able to forget the Great Britain football team at the 2012 Olympics. Fans throughout the land are united in agreeing that there can't have been a worse strip worn by any UK national side. That the players have so far overcome the demoralising effect of the sky blue and black monstrosity is an extraordinary achievement.
Badge of the week ~ Erbil Sports Club, Iran
In this line of work – badge-fancying – you come across some less-than-stirring examples. Erbil Sports Club's crest is so singularly, trail-blazingly drab that it makes one want to stay home for a week with the curtains drawn, eating baked beans from the tin. It's the iconic equivalent of the pale smattering of applause received by a Wimbledon umpire who has just warned the crowd on No 2 Court about using flash photography. It's not as if the designer even had the courage to portray the town in close-up; the image appears to have been drawn hurriedly on someone's lap while parked in a picnic area a couple of miles away.
The cluster of buildings here look uncannily like the pedestrianised town centre of Basingstoke, so perhaps the two towns are twinned, in the way that the two people in a small village who everybody else avoids eventually come to meet and get married. What is the designer saying here? Two things; namely: "I do not know what to put on this badge", and, secondly, "What do you expect for a one-off payment of 200,000 dinars (£175)?" Cameron Carter
from Barry Mackay
"A number of academy players have turned out for Aston Villa over the past couple of seasons, but they're taking the home-produced thing a bit far."
Villa's renowned training restaurant is continually doing its bit for the environment by using fruit and vegetables grown at the club's own allotment, as well as other locally-sourced produce.
from Col Noble
"Wikipedia has cast aspersions on Tony Mowbray's motives in granting Romeo Castelen a trial."
from Ian Chadwick
"There has been plenty of speculation about Andy Carroll's future after Liverpool left him out of their Europa league squad for the trip to Belarus but I think the reason is simple. Some bulbs in the floodlights at Anfield need repairing. It's a task for a tall lad on the end of a ladder. Andy's insurance policy includes cover for accidental electrocution so he was the obvious man for the job."
Per Mertersacker is quite a slinky mover and could possibly teach Lukas Podolski a thing or two.
If Aaron Ramsey wins an Olympic medal, Adidas seem to think he'll have done it for them.
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Southampton, Wembley 1976
It is a curious fact that until they won the Johnstone's Paint Trophy two years ago, none of the Saints' Wembley appearances had been in the club's traditional red and white stripes. The 1976 FA Cup final and the 1979 League Cup final were both in this yellow and blue Admiral shirt (with a derivative yellow and blue strip worn in the Cardiff Cup final of 2003) while the ZDS Final of 1992 saw a best-forgotten Pompey-style blue.
We are about to change to an all-red strip, possibly consigning the stripes to the dustbin of history forever. Saints fans who view this as sacrilege will reflect fondly on the shirt that was first revealed on that sunny May 1 day, when Lawrie McMenemy’s mixture of "violinists and road sweepers" beat Tommy Docherty’s odds-on Man Utd.
The shirt that the late Bobby Stokes wore when scoring the only goal of the game used to be displayed in the suite at St Mary's Stadium that bore his name; however, along with the Matt Le Tissier, Terry Paine and Mick Channon Lounges, Stokes's name has been removed from the door as much of the history and tradition of the club has been swept away by current chairman, Nicola Cortese. One can only hope that it is gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere, although it would come as no surprise to learn that it has been disposed of. Tim Manns, author of Tie a Yellow Ribbon