A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
2 November 2012 ~
In a rare display of unity Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger have both defended Mark Clattenburg against claims made by Chelsea. No doubt Mike Dean, who takes charge of Man Utd v Arsenal tomorrow, will be treated respectfully by both managers whatever happens in the game.
Badge of the week ~ Northampton Town
When the town of Northampton in Northamptonshire was but a young town, with inhabitants numbering but five-and-twenty, including but three hairdressers, there grew a legend surrounding the meeting of a lion and a dragon in the deep forest that then flourished on all sides. One evening, the lion was walking through the forest on his hind legs, something he did occasionally just for his own amusement, when he came upon a beautiful maiden, with one jade green and one sapphire blue eye, weeping piteously. When he asked her what ailed her, the maiden replied that she had lost her shoe and the handsome prince would never marry a woman with one shoe. When the lion tried to help, he found that the beautiful maiden kept interrupting before he had finished talking and before she interrupted she was just going "mm-mm-mm-mm" as if she weren't actually listening to him but just waiting for her turn to start talking. So he ate her.
The next day the lion was walking in the forest when he met a dragon who informed him he used to be a handsome prince but a witch's curse meant he could only return to human form by marrying a beautiful maiden with one green and one blue eye. The lion explained about the eating thing and apologised but said he had since found the maiden's other shoe, if that helped at all. The dragon moodily tried it on and instantly regained a human right foot. No-one is sure what the moral of this story is – indeed it is not told much in the Northampton area – but the club use it to warn against one-footedness as a personal and career drawback. Cameron Carter
Robbie Keane, not yet a household name in the US.
from Ed Upright
"Exciting news of Man Utd's commercial ventures overseas. I've never heard the phrase 'gangbusters' before."
Manchester United to open office in United States
"It's going gangbusters in Japan,'' Woodward said. "He was bought for his football skills. The tail never wags the dog but obviously the commercial team here was rubbing their hands at the opportunity that a Japanese player is probably going to do more for us than a Belgian player.'
from Tim Manns
"The Telegraph's Jim White demonstrates how to squeeze full value out of a metaphor".
How not to take an indirect free-kick from six yards
from Graham Stewart
"It's any excuse for a party with the FA. They are celebrating one year to go until their 150th anniversary by distributing photos of a rather apprehensive looking Joe Hart with a copy of the original handwritten laws of the game. Joe can't turn pages with those gloves on so I hope he didn't use his teeth."
Getting shirty notable kits of yesteryear
Blackburn Rovers home, 1994-95
This Blackburn shirt tells us a lot about the club today. Aside from the familiar blue and white halves, the differences between the two shirts highlights some of the current problems that Rovers face. To start with, the 1994-95 kit had a sponsor. McEwan's, a Scottish brand of lager, became Rovers sponsors in 1991 and stayed on the front of the shirt for five years. Blackburn are currently in their second season without a corporate sponsor having last season donated the space to the Princes Trust and this season rather embarrassingly having the front of the shirt blank.
The 1994-95 strip should evoke some of the best memories for Rovers fans. Alan Shearer scored 34 league goals, the team ended an 81-year wait for an English league title and secured the Premier League on a memorable last day of the season. It was also a time where fans, team and owners were pulling in the same direction – a sad contrast to the club’s current position.
If Blackburn are to recover from the disastrous legacy of Steve Kean and the current shambles of the Venky's regime, evoking the spirit of 1994-95 would be a good start. Perhaps they have taken note. The appointment of Henning Berg – who wore this shirt in that campaign – is a good start. He joins fellow central defender and Premier League winner Colin Hendry on the coaching staff. They’ve got half their defence back – now for a sponsor and promotion. Tom Greene