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31 August 2012 ~
Among the various deals going through on transfer deadline day, we hear that Michael Owen's summer-long search for a new employer will soon be at an end. He is weighing up two offers from hospitals who think his knees will be a great teaching aid to their medical students.
Badge of the week ~ Police United, Thailand
Pretty matter-of-fact, this one. Unfussy. The more dealings one has with the police, the more it becomes apparent how much they distrust nuance, ambiguity and showiness. However polite your tone and reasonable the explanation, you will generally be no more than 20 seconds into an explanation of why you were found in an industrial estate at four in the morning with a minor head wound and a woman's shoe in one hand before you are instructed to calm down and tasered.
The footballing branch of the Royal Thai Police intimidates opponents through a menacingly unimaginative choice of name as well as a shocking indifference to artistic impression. The effect is not dissimilar to that created by the Uninvited Guest in Edgar Allen Poe's Masque of the Red Death, who, when approached, was found to bear no tangible form and was generally the cause of the party finishing early. This is not so much a badge as a notice, a notice which tells us that this team – I have tried to resist this but I am weak – does not take prisoners. Cameron Carter
from Neil Renshaw
"School exam results coming out around the start of the season is a boon to match reporters. The Mirror's Daniel Cutts makes the most of it."
from Ian Goodard
"Not even the most optimistic of us St Mirren fans found ourselves agreeing with skipper Jim Goodwin's optimistic assessment of our chances of the runner up spot in the SPL this season. But many have forgotten his illustrious earlier La Liga career, as detailed on Wikipedia, where he was one of the few people to manage success at both the Spanish giants."
from Mark Campbell
"Pictures of Marouane Fellaini's lookalike brother have been doing the rounds. But no one seems to know his name. Can it be that difficult to find out? I'm sensing that he might be a Kevin."
from Gavin Thompson
"Following on from the 'amount of time since James Beattie scored a goal' website featured in a recent Howl might I suggest a new one? It would chart the number of days since goalkeeper Richard Wright, signed by Manchester City this week, last appeared in a Premier League game. The current total would stand at 2,102 – it was for Everton at Old Trafford in November 2006, if you were wondering."
An Ebay seller has listed a "Subbuteo Graveyard". At the height of Britart that could have been exhibited at the Tate and sold for a six-figure sum. It's only 99p now.
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Peñarol home, 1996-97
There is something distinctly classy about Peñarol's simple yellow and black stripes. Their colours are those of the Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club, from whom Peñarol arose, and the striped design was first introduced in 1905. The 1996-97 shirt seen here is one of the sleekest of the modern incarnations, the central placement of the club badge, Umbro logo and Parmalat sponsorship producing a streamlined effort that puts the majority of its successors to shame.
The kit also serves as a reminder of halcyon days. When, in November 1997, Peñarol claimed their fifth consecutive Uruguayan title with a 3-0 win over Defensor Sporting few would have imagined the next 15 years would yield just three more. The club's supporters, at the time accustomed to mocking their Nacional counterparts – most notably following a 4-3 win in October 1997 in which Peñarol came from 1-0 and 3-1 down to record victory – have been forced to watch on with envy as their rivals have closed to within four titles of Peñarol in the all-time records with a haul of eight in the same period.
Those supporters have, however, soldiered on despite a relative lack of success. In 2011 they unfurled a massive 1,017 feet by 157 feet flag in the club's iconic colours that was the biggest ever of its kind. Despite such fervent support, an imminent return to the sustained success of the mid-1990s represented by this shirt currently seems unlikely. But at least the memories will always live on. Nick Dorrington