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21 September 2012 ~

It's surprising that Sky haven't come up with a marketing slogan for Liverpool v Man Utd games. But if Patrice Evra and Luis Suárez can complete the planned handshake on Sunday and there is no offensive chanting in the crowd, certain sections of the press are going to be so disappointed. Here's to an uneventful day.

999Badge of the week ~ Sepahan Isfahan FC, Iran
Sepahan Isfahan's club crest is more of a public information badge than a historical reference or statement of intent. In this area of Iran in the early 1950s, the police were receiving a significant number of emergency calls that proved not to concern, strictly speaking, emergencies. Examples of calls logged by the emergency call centre in 1952 included: face seen in mirror; cat making new noise; neighbour wearing buttock-emphasising trousers; lost sense of identity while picking pomegranates; folk band setting up nearby.

To counter this trend, the Iranian police developed a motif – a white circle denoting Clarity of Thought and Purity of Intention – which was soon seen everywhere in the region on official posters and documents. Also, if you were found guilty of calling in a non-emergency, you were branded with the motif using a white-hot poker. Sepahan Isfahan have used the image ever since to remind the public that the police are very busy and that SIFC are, as a team, unflappable, even in the face of unforeseen folk music. Cameron Carter


from Paul Rogerson
"It's not every day that you see a Roger Waters lyric adapted to criticise Craig Levein's tactical approach."


Looking for a distinctive birthday present? How about an adult-sized Newcastle United babygrow.











The Sydney Morning Herald were excited to report the arrival of Sydney FC's new signing, Alessandro Del Piero. Apparently the paper's rugby league writers weren't all that amused.


from Ian Beecham
"Did Roberto Mancini have anything to do with the parking ticket given to Real Madrid? Looks like classic pre-match mind-games to me."


The best own goals are ones that would look bad even at park level. This is the opener from Panionios' 2-1 win over OFI in the Greek first division this week.


Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear


Leyton Orient home, 1998-99
If you were going to copy someone's kit in 1998, you could do worse than Davor Šuker's. The Michael Palinesque striker had just won the Golden Boot as Croatia took bronze at France 98, and with that impressive chin protruding above the distinctive red and white check he looked like an Easter Island statue having a picnic.

Orient were never going to fill our versions of the shirt with that sort of goalscoring flair, of course, but we did have one of the most glamorous forward lines the bottom tier has ever seen. The star man was Carl Griffiths, once bought by Manchester City for half a million, now fully recovered. Backing him were Steve Watts, signed by the O's via an X Factor-like Search for a Striker competition organised by a tabloid (he also modelled for Hugo Boss on spare afternoons) and, more bizarrely, Amara Simba, a veteran French cap who once partnered Eric Cantona against England at Wembley.

He got to Wembley this season too. The Hrvatksa-inspired O's made the play-off final, but Griffiths was suspended and Scunthorpe's own exotic import, the Spaniard Alex Calvo Garcia, scored the only goal. Oddly enough, having ditched this popular strip after a year, Orient then signed a Croatian midfielder, Ahmet Brković, who was so good that we reintroduced his nation's colours for 2001-2. Come October he'd signed for Luton. Si Hawkins

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