2013

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
20 December 2013 ~

Sepp Blatter has said match officials at Brazil 2014 will stop defensive walls moving forward at free-kicks with the use of vanishing spray. Sadly he has rejected calls for it to be tested on FIFA executives first.

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Liberta0Badge of the week ~ Liberta Sports Club, Antigua
Capturing the moment of impotent rage at learning that, once again, one's raffle ticket has proved worthless, Liberta's crest represents the inherent injustice of life's lottery. Why, it seems to ask, are some of us born with the power to transfix a crowd with our singing voice, while others are surgery receptionists? Why can some people naturally and effortlessly charm the birds from the trees, while others are born believing that it's OK to say "I like all types of music" as part of a living, fluid conversation?

Life is not fair and Liberta grasp this fact (see image – here the raffle ticket represents a fact), becoming empowered by the grasping. Previous drafts by the badge's designer had a nettle pictured in place of the raffle ticket and a piece of paper with "The Initiative" in capitals and bold type. The raffle symbolism works better because it is a more complex area: we want to win the raffle but then do we actually want to edge laboriously through a room of beer-faced plug-uglies to collect a gift box of handkerchiefs before edging back again with a dopey look on our face? Is it actually worth it in the end?

Liberta FC, like John Lydon, know that anger is an energy. In the future, when the world runs out of anger, we will have to mine reproachfulness as a new energy source, which will mean dimmer lighting and longer oven cooking times. Cameron Carter

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from John Mackay
"As someone who doubts the usefulness of stats, it's nice to see Prozone dismissed as 'malarkey' and scrapped in favour of a manager using his eyes."

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from Mike Ticher
"The programme for Sunday's game against Melbourne Heart included the words to some of Sydney FC fans' classic songs. Here's an excerpt for those struggling to pick up the complex lyrical structure."

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from Seb Patrick
"MK Dons' attempt to prove a point did not go well."

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Owen Coyle incorporates a cheeky face into his standard autograph. It may be a while before he's asked for another one.

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Also in the news this week
Cristiano Ronaldo opens a museum to himself

Benoit Assou-Ekotto wasn't too upset by Spurs' 5-0 defeat judging by his post-match tweet

Mascot snubs Luis Suárez for a bet

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Get with the programme A past match played this week in history

PalacevLeeds150Crystal Palace v Leeds United December 17, 1988, League Division Two

Palace under Steve Coppell hosted Leeds, tentatively improving under new manager Howard Wilkinson, but the fact that both teams were mired in mid-table is reflected by the utterly uninspiring match programme. A centre-spread profile of Palace keeper Brian Parkin sums it up: "Likes/dislikes: Driving, relaxing/Ignorant people. Favourite Food/Drink: Steak/Lager."



But wait, hidden away on page 23 is Taff's Talkabout, where Palace assistant manager Ian Evans gets something off his chest – namely, players with a bad ATTITUDE (spelt out TWICE in capitals). He gives three examples. Firstly, players who coast through training and claim to do their stuff on matchday ("That is a load of rubbish," says Evans). Secondly, players who cry off training because they've got a blister on their toe. Evans: "To me this is a sign of a soft wimp." And third, players who want to train on a cold day wearing tracksuit bottoms. "This one speaks for itself," Evans says. "Whoever plays on Saturday with tracksuit trousers on?" Wimps, Ian, that's who. Only wimps. Where is he now, though? Editors should be queuing up to commission a regular online column.



Result Palace 0 Leeds 0 

Crowd 9,847 

Palace Parkin, Pemberton, Burke, Pardew, Hopkins, Nebbeling, Dyer, Thomas, Bright, Wright, Barber

Leeds Andrews, Aspin, Snodin, Aizlewood, Blake, Rennie, Whitlow, Sheridan, Baird, Davison (sub Taylor), Hilaire (sub Williams)

Ian Plenderleith

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
13 December 2013 ~

Barcelona are to have the inside of their shirts sponsored by Intel. The next step will be for the players to shout "Nike!" or "Qantas!" when they score.

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GoodLuck1Badge of the week ~ Good Luck, Martinique
Why would you call you club Good Luck? It's surely 1-0 to the opposition before the match has kicked off. The type of team that calls itself Good Luck is the type of team whose players doff their silk caps at you as you pass them, applauding the resulting goal and taking you out to tea afterwards. Minus points for intimidation here. The image itself is much more like it.

The Old Man And The Scorpion is a lesser-known short story by Edgar Allen Poe in which a lonely old widower lets his spare room to a young marine biologist. The old man hears the young man pacing up and down in his room upstairs each night, followed by, finally, a faint but unmistakeable rattling. Night after night, the old man lies awake, waiting for the footsteps to cease and the hideous sound that will surely follow. One night, half crazed with lack of sleep, he creeps upstairs to his tenant's door and, pausing only to gain control of his ragged breathing, stoops charily to the keyhole.

The sight that greeted the old man's eye was the young marine biologist marching up and down in a fishnet body stocking, trying to teach a large adult scorpion how to shimmy. The rattling sound was the nearest the creature, festooned with silver balls, had got to simulating this act. This denouement to Poe's story perhaps explains why the story is a lesser-known example of his work. The club use the tale's iconography, though, to imply that they are a bit darker than their name suggests. Cameron Carter

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As reported by the Observer last weekend, Paul Pogba expects to be remembered by history.

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from Graham Stewart

"Am I being naive in hoping that the World Cup ball will go rogue on its official Twitter account and start supporting the protest movement in Brazil? Probably, yes."

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Finally a way for English footballers to improve their ball skills at home (you can't kick it up in the air).

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from Duncan Mackay

"Regarding Sepp Blatter's air travel tips. He likes crime novels but his record at FIFA suggests that he may not be able to tell when a crime has been committed."

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Also in the news this week
Sky Sports try to predict the future

Juan Sebastián Verón is sent off after being substituted in his final league game

Newcastle ask the press to pay for access

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This week in history Championship, December 13, 2008

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Mick McCarthy's Wolves led the Championship for almost the entire season, keeping their place despite a run of only one win in ten games from Boxing Day onwards. They won the title by seven points from Birmingham City. Irish full-back Kevin Foley, scorer of the second goal against Barnsley, is one of three players still at the club along with centre-back Richard Stearman and midfielder David Edwards. Wolves' Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was the division's top scorer with 25 goals, four ahead of Cardiff's' Ross McCormack and Jason Scotland of Swansea.

Charlton were bottom for the final five months and finished 12 points adrift of safety. Sean O'Driscoll's Doncaster were the form team after Christmas when a run of nine wins in 11 games lifted them out of the bottom three; they finished 14th.

The Southampton team beaten at Burnley included Adam Lallana, Morgan Schneiderlin and Jack Cork. A 2-2 draw in the return fixture, on the penultimate weekend of the season, sent Saints down to the third tier where they hadn't played in 49 years. Dutch manager Jan Poortvliet was sacked in January 2009 after eight months in charge. His compatriot Mark Wotte was only in the job until the summer when Alan Pardew took over.

In finishing 22nd, Norwich also returned to the third for the first time since they had come up with Southampton in 1959-60. Norwich had a managerial change in mid-season with Bryn Gunn replacing Glen Roeder. Gunn was dismissed in August 2009 shortly after an opening day  7-1 home defeat by Colchester, whose manager Paul Lambert then joined Norwich.

Some notable names on the scoresheet this week include Shane Long (Reading), Shefki Kuqi (Crystal Palace), Clinton Morrison (Coventry), Heidar Helguson (QPR) and Jay Bothroyd for Cardiff – he was to become their first England international when capped once in 2010.

Birmingham clinched the second promotion place on the final day, a 2-1 win at Reading leaving them three points clear of Sheffield United. The latter beat Preston in their playoff semi-final, then faced Burnley, who had defeated Reading. At Wembley a goal from midfielder Wade Elliott took Burnley, managed by Owen Coyle, into the Premier League.

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
6 December 2013 ~

The football authorities have been accused of complacency over corruption in the wake of the match-fixing allegations made this week. Who would have expected that when their rigorous fit and proper persons test has prevented all sorts of charlatans and con men from getting involved in club football.

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RhylBadge of the week ~ Rhyl FC, Wales
The Lavatory In The Sky is an important symbol in north Wales. When the lavatory replaced the public hole in the ground in 1879 there were some who opposed it as the work of a vast unseen bureaucratic mechanism intent on destroying the community latrine political movement by nannying the populace into a state of apathy while dividing it into smaller, more isolated units.

However the private toilets quietly became popular, not least because one could relax and think in them, away from the gaze of the passer-by. While very social places, hole-in-the ground public toilets are not the best place to have quality me-time, it is hard enough to relax in a locked toilet where the door is too far away from the toilet to stop with the outstretched palm.



In time, the advantages of indoor toilets to creativity and problem-solving became apparent to the people of Rhyl and it is from this area that we get such well-worn management phrases as "deep brown thinking", "dropping a coin in the well" and "browntime", all of which relate to thinking differently and more effectively away from the desk (as in: "Here's Procurement's End-of-Year report, give it some browntime would you?"). Thus the image on Rhyl FC's badge signifies a private, introspective club who don't really look forward to the arrival of away fans. Cameron Carter

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Another blow to Graeme Le Saux's reputation as  the "thinking footballer".

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from Keith Campbell

"Brendan Rodgers' trip to the set of Coronation Street a few days ago generated plenty of material for the papers, including this rather desperate start to a match report by the Mail's Dominic King."

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Garth Crooks offers a tantalising glimpse of his life away from TV while explaining why he chose Wayne Rooney for his team of the week.

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Kit manufacturers Puma join with the Uruguayan FA in taunting Brazilians about their famous defeat in the 1950 World Cup.

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Also in the news this week
Jonathan Walters mocks Ryan Shawcross and Asmir Begovic modelling Stoke's Christmas jumpers
Glen Little, now 38, turns it on for Wealdstone against Dulwich Hamlet
The rowdy children of Turin

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Get with the programme A past match played this week in history

villaVhammers150Aston Villa v West Ham United December 3 1983, Football League Division One

Villa, in ninth, hosted a West Ham side one point behind leaders Liverpool, with Villa manager Tony Barton controversially opining in his Teamtalk column that "obviously, the result is important to both sides". He also lamented his team's previous away performance, a 5-2 defeat at Notts County where Villa "literally" gave County a two-goal start, a gift surely unprecedented in the history of professional football.

Meanwhile, columnist The Villain calls for suggestions for pre-match entertainment for the coming home game against Liverpool – thrilling ideas already include "a parade of former Villa favourites", a penalty shootout between the 23 branches of the AV Supporters Club (could take a while), or "a stunt man who would dive off the roof of the North Stand into a tank of flaming water".

The Diary reports that goalkeeper Nigel Spink played for Villa in a friendly at his hometown club Chelmsford United and was "injured by crowd incident" – there are no more details, though my money's on the delayed conclusion to an old playground dispute. Different times at Old Trafford, where midfielder Paul Birch recalls after Villa's recent win there that "the crowd was brilliant – they are really noisy when they get behind United".

Targeting the fan demographic "There Is No Substitute: The Maestro range kicks off at £4,750." 

Result Villa 1 (Rideout) West Ham 0

Crowd 21,297 

Number of non-British nationals on the field 0

Aston Villa Spink, Williams, Gibson (sub: Deacy), Evans, Ormsby, Mortimer, Birch, Walters, Rideout, Walker, Morley

West Ham Parkes, Stewart, Lampard, Walford, Martin,  Devonshire, Whitton, Orr (sub: Cottee), Swindlehurst, Brooking, Pike
Ian Plenderleith

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
29 November 2013 ~

The football authorities have been accused of complacency over corruption in the wake of the match-fixing allegations made this week. Who would have expected that when their rigorous fit and proper persons test has prevented all sorts of charlatans and con men from getting involved in club football.

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Defensor150Badge of the week ~ Defensor Sporting Club, Uruguay
Among all the clubs with bog-standard striped crests, shines out this beacon of non-conformity, the rave lighthouse. Uruguayan rave culture was driven underground in the early 1990s by draconian laws forbidding the assembly of more than ten people at any one place, unless the individual had a doctor's note stating they suffered from separation anxiety.



In order to get around this using a legal loophole, those Uruguayans who wanted to dance and chat until very late had to organise rave parties somewhere other than the mainland. This is how the Uruguayan lighthouse rave scene began. Attendees would look out for the code word on social media and posters around town (the coded message would read something like "Family Carvery at the Lighthouse – Till Late", as "family carvery" was discovered to be the most bourgeois and dispiriting phrase in the language and, to put the police off the scent, the very antithesis of a goodtime drugs party).



Despite a health and safety problem on the lighthouse stairways, the scene absolutely flourished. The Uruguayan speedcore mix of Neil Diamond's Love on the Rocks can still leave 30-something Uruguayans misty-eyed with nostalgia. Defensor use the Lighthouse Rave image on their crest to signify the resourcefulness of coastal-living Uruguayans and how, if you take a certain amount of liquid ecstasy, you can see ships in the dark. Cameron Carter

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"The worse miss ever," says Gillingham manager Peter Taylor of Adam Barrett's effort against Stevenage. At least it didn't go out for a throw-in.

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from Russell Galbraith

"What does a new football ground need to do? 'Harmonise with the immediate locality,' according to Grimsby director John Fenty. In a very real sense the club must take that concept on board."

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Delroy Facey's arrest for alleged match fixing is not the only controversy he's been involved with, as his Wikipedia entry shows.

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Earlier this year, the Malawi government hit back at criticism from Madonna by comparing her to some footballers. That will teach her.

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Also in the news this week
Mike Griffin of CSKA Tralee in the Kerry District League replicates Dennis Bergkamp

The sports minister doesn't know who won the FA Cup (or anything else)

Philippe Mexès's tan-induced injury

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Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Telford150Telford United home, 1990-91

For Telford United, the 1980s are synonymous with Stan Storton, a curly haired window-cleaner from the Wirral, who managed the team for most of the decade. He led them to three FA Trophy finals, two of which were won, and to the fourth and fifth rounds of the FA Cup in 1983-84 and 1984-85 respectively. It took Cup-holders and eventual League champions Everton to knock Telford out in the latter season.

For most of the Storton era, Telford's shirts were predominantly white with an attractive navy blue on the sash and sleeves. They were sponsored by Japanese cassette manufacturers Maxell in an association which, in bringing together Asian investor and long-established local institution, seemed to exemplify the optimistic vision of the new town's planners.

By 1990-91, much had changed. Storton had left, to be replaced by former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland midfielder Gerry Daly. Daly's teams, though tending to consist of more ex-league players than Storton's, failed to capture the imagination in quite the same way. The shirts, now sponsored by local building firm Blockleys, were also less distinctive. To those of us who can never quite shed the notion that all life's most significant events are traceable to our own teenage years, the farewell to Storton and the end of the Maxell shirts marked the real beginning of Telford's decline – one which would end in liquidation in 2004. James Baxter

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
22 November 2013 ~

Danny Mills, a member of Greg Dyke's FA commission, seems to be full of ideas. The latest one is a call for John Terry to be brought back into the national team. That's the sort of thinking that is sure to revolutionise English football.

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DaugavaBadge of the week ~ BFC Daugava Daugavpils, Latvia
The club of death. FC Daugava represent all that is dark, sombre and moribund in Latvian football. The coffin represents the certain death of all things, not only substantial but abstract – hope, love, attraction to Carol Vorderman. The team takes the field to the vaulting Death Metal of Imperial Death March while, during the game, their ultras maintain the samba-influenced chant "In the midst of life we are in death (clap-clap-clap)". In case visitors have not guessed the theme, the club mascot is a dead raven nailed to a board and the managers' technical areas have a black border.

There is a definite atmosphere about the place. Residents living near to the Daugava stadium have previously made complaints against the club because the fans are too quiet. The coffin crest is not an aggressive or wilfully controversial use of imagery but symbolises an acceptance of death, which, like another Best Of Status Quo album at Christmas, is inevitable. Daugava's philosophy is one of free, attacking football as there is no need to worry about results because we're all going to die. Cameron Carter

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Watford have released some fairly basic visuals of their new East Stand. Picture ten is particularly captivating.

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from Phil Town

"Nuno Matos, commentator for Portugal's Antenna 1 radio, gets quite excited by Cristiano Ronaldo's World Cup play-off hat-trick."

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from Justin Hughes

"Can any readers beat this for a contrasting book search result on Amazon? Demosthenes of Athens and the Fall of Classical Greece followed by Frank Worthington's One Hump Or Two."

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from David Stewart
"A recent Howl mentioned the torrid time endured by two teams in Abingdon. In the Belgian fourth division, FC Charleroi look set for a record-breaking year. After 14 games their goal difference is already minus 79, although they did draw their weekend derby and have somehow managed to win a match."

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Roman Abramovich and his bunnies are the highlight of a new football calendar – not for the squeamish.

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Also in the news this week


Forty-five mistakes in Alex Ferguson's book

Manchester City's New York brand extension

The German national squad take the Tube to Wembley

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Get with the programme A past match played this week in history

Motherwell-v-HibsMotherwell v Hibernian November 26, 1983, Scottish Premier League

Motherwell, second bottom with just seven points, welcomed new manager and ex-player Bobby Watson as a replacement for Jock Wallace who had just moved back to Rangers (third bottom with eight points). "He will have our full backing and our support as manager here," wrote chairman Bill Dickie in the match programme. Reassuring to get the chairman's vote of confidence before you've overseen your first game.

Watson himself lowered expectations: "There will be no promises from me – just the hope that something can be done." With a plan like that, what could possibly go wrong? Pretty much everything – Motherwell were relegated and Watson resigned at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, "today's guests" Hibernian revealed themselves as fascinating, counter-cultural pioneers of Scotland's avant-garde elite – eight out of their 11 players who listed a hobby chose Golf. Only Stuart Turnbull (gardening), Robert Thomson (swimming and tennis) and William Jamieson (music) abjured spending their leisure time on the links and doubtless paid the price by being excluded from all golf-related changing room discourse.

How to keep wee Hamish amused at half time "Junior Spot No 5: The referee has just tossed the coin. Follow the arrows from his hand to find out whether it landed on head or tails." Suck on that, Generation Xbox.

Result Motherwell 1 Hibernian 2 

Crowd 3,965

Motherwell Walker, Donnan, Macleod, Forbes, Carson, Mauchen, Gahagan, Edvaldsson (sub Burns), Harrow, Alexander, McAllister

Hibernian Rough, Sneddon, Schaedler, Rice, Jamieson, Turnbull, Callachan, Conroy, Irvine, Murray (sub: Harvey), Duncan

Ian Plenderleith

 

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
15 November 2013 ~

FIFA's ethics committee have admitted they have no power to change where the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be staged, even if they find evidence of corruption in the bidding process. Instead, the executive committee must make that decision. So the World Cup can only be taken away from Qatar if the people who voted for it change their minds, in self-disgust at having accepted bribes. It's a long shot.

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Hippo1502Badge of the week ~ Hippo FC, Zimbabwe
A hippopotamus is actually a rather deadly animal. One thing everyone knows about the hippopotamus is that it doesn't like people much. Over 200 hundred people a year are killed by hippopotami, which is a higher figure than the annual death count for playing Sardines while deep-sea diving.

With this in mind, Hippo FC's badge could have been very menacing, possibly featuring the gaping maw of a large specimen at the point of clamping down on the spine of an unwary skinny-dipper. Or just a bull hippo narrowing its eyes. Instead the club have opted for a domesticated hippo on valium, the type of hippo that drifts onto the patio to tell its guests in a faraway voice that it made some cheese straws for everyone but may have posted them to the DVLA.

While some clubs like a sturdy Latin motto beneath the main image, Hippo FC have their nickname, The Sugar Sugar Boys. This is a much better nickname than any British clubs have. If one were at a party and were informed that the Sugar Sugar Boys had arrived, one would instinctively brace oneself for the evening's climax. However, if one were at a party when the Biscuitmen, Pensioners and Glaziers were announced, one would become almost immediately sober enough to drive. Cameron Carter

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FIFA are asking for slogans, to be painted on the official team buses at the 2014 World Cup. The England shortlist includes:

"Are You Watching Harry Redknapp?"

"Man City Reserves On Tour"

"Honk If You Can See Ray Lewington"

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Football mascots play an increasingly prominent part in matchdays now. The recent Rememberance Day commemoration was a prime example, as was pointed out on the WSC message board. Dinosaurs are capable of looking sombre, birds not so much.

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The hierarchy of footballing celebrity: you can spend five minutes sampling the robust opinions of Ron "Chopper" Harris for the cost of three minutes with Geoff Hurst.

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Ben Foster offers his view on Chelsea's controversial last-minute penalty equaliser against West Brom.

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Roman Abramovich and his bunnies are the highlight of a new football calendar – not for the squeamish.

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Also in the news this week


Andre Wisdom puts too much trust in his sat nav

A spectacular miss in a Bosnian youth match

Wild boars' pitch disruption

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This week in history Division One, November 16, 1935

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Table

Runners-up the previous season, Sunderland stayed at the top and took the title, their sixth, by eight points from Derby. Seven of the team at Brentford were Scots. Two of the English players who scored in the 5-1 win, striker Bobby Gurney and inside forward Raich Carter, ended up with 31 goals each out of the team's total of 109. Sunderland's goalkeeper, 22-year-old Jimmy Thorpe, was to die of head injuries sustained in a league match against Chelsea in February 1936.



In their first season at the top level, Brentford finished fifth, which made them the highest-placed London club for the only time. Sixth-placed Arsenal were the best-supported team with an average of 41,960, while Grimsby, in their second top flight season, drew the smallest crowd – 11,496. Ted Drake, who scored in Arsenal's win at Everton, also got the only goal of the FA Cup final, against Sheffield United. 



Liverpool's goal in their defeat at Wolves was scored by winger Lance Carr, one of three South Africans in their side along with striker Gordon Hodgson – who spent 14 years in League football and was capped by England – and fellow winger Berry Nieuwenhuys.



Although they finished 18th, West Brom were the third most prolific team with 89 goals, of which 39 came from the division's top scorer, Billy "Ginger" Richardson. Aston Villa's relegation – they finished 21st, three points behind Sheffield Wednesday, Liverpool and West Brom – was decided in their final match, a 4-2 home defeat by the already-relegated Blackburn. The two clubs were the last of the League's founder members to go down.



George Camsell, who got one of Middlesbrough's six against Blackburn, had set a League record in scoring 59 goals when Boro were promoted from Division Two in 1926-27. But it was beaten the next year when Dixie Dean scored 60 for Everton. In the Blackburn team beaten at Ayresome Park was centre half Jesse Carver, who coached Juventus to an Italian league title after the war and turned down the England manager's job.

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
8 November 2013 ~

Having Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana selected for England's forthcoming friendlies seems like great news for Southampton. The recent experience of Aston Villa, however, suggests that the Saints may be the next club to have their best players cherrypicked by Champions League hopefuls.

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MbeyaBadge of the week ~ Mbeya City Council FC, Tanzania
In the Mbeya region of Tanzania the chief pastime is limbo dancing. So much so that, in its earliest incarnation, the Tanzanian criminal justice system made use of the activity to test the innocence of suspected felons. Working on the premise that a supple body was a relaxed one, the police would routinely handcuff their suspect and order him to limbo under a low pole in the foothills of the nearest mountain range. Which was always the same mountain range.

High-octane music was played by the police woodwind trio as accompaniment, with the District Attorney and his Best Boy providing the vocal encouragement with the traditional sustained chant of "You've got to get up to get down", borrowed many years later, without acknowledgement, by the singer George Michael.

The trouble with this process was that no one at first could agree on whether appearing relaxed was a sign of guilt or a sign of innocence. In the end, the District Attorney tossed a coin and from that time on the suspect had to succeed in their limbo attempt to be found not guilty, although appearing over-relaxed before the test (wandering around with hands in pockets, breaking wind or eating more than a two-course meal while waiting) might result in an adjournment and retrial. Cameron Carter

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For one alarming moment, Sky Sports News slips into an alternative universe.

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from Colin Rostron

"The Guardian's report on Cheltenham v York may have got a little carried away with analogies."

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Sligo Rovers won the FAI Cup last weekend – though a team called "Silgo" was taking part according to the winners' medals.

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from Luke Healey

"I wonder whether or not Tony Pulis will take it as a compliment that this Quezon City police officer, pictured here at a recent march by Filipino members of Anonymous, has decided to name his riot shield after him."

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So Borussia Dortmund sell a toaster that brands "BVB" on the bread and plays the club anthem. They're just so far ahead.

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Also in the news this week


Ronny Rosenthal's son is quite a finisher. Where did he get that from?

The Newcastle Chronicle reacts to the club's matchday ban

Carlisle's Pascal Chimbonda has a go at the local dialect – more work required

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Get with the programme A past match played this week in history

cityutdLC

 

Manchester City v Manchester United November 12, 1975, League Cup fourth round

This programme is a rarity – it's a joy to read, with columnists from both camps, and a heavy focus on the past. A thoroughly researched double-page spread of previous League Cup ties between the two teams extensively quotes old newspaper reports ("…and there was Law, lurking like a predatory pike…" wrote one verbose Express hack of the 2-2 second-leg semi-final draw in 1969), while self-confessed United hater Peter Gardner of the Manchester Evening News recalls with glee City's 3-1 league win at Old Trafford during City's Championship-winning 1967-68 campaign. "Despite what people say, I'm not a bit biased," he wrote. "I don't care who beats United." Ah, the birthing days of banter.

United manager Tommy Docherty tells his City counterpart Tony Book that he's right to transfer-list Rodney Marsh for "inflaming the situation" between the two clubs. Marsh had said after the September derby, a 2-2 draw, that United would finish in the bottom six. In fact they finished third and lost the FA Cup final, while City went on from this Manchester mauling to beat Mansfield, Middlesbrough and Newcastle – 2-1 at Wembley.

Targeting the fan demographic Three Cheers for City – Greenall! Greenall! Greenall!" (in case you’re wondering, it’s gin)

Result Manchester City 4 (Tueart 2, Hartford, Royle) Manchester United 0

Crowd 50,182 

City Corrigan, Clements, Donachie, Doyle, Watson, Oakes, Barnes, Bell (Booth), Royle, Hartford, Tueart  

United Roche, Nicholl, Houston, Jackson, B Greenhoff , Buchan, Coppell, McIlroy, Pearson, Macari, Daly. Sub McCreery



Ian Plenderleith

 

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
1 November 2013 ~

Sepp Blatter got flak this week for impersonating Cristiano Ronaldo at the Oxford Union. It shouldn't be a surprise that he's good at impressions – he's been passing himself off as a capable football administrator for some time.

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AlAinBadge of the week ~ Al-Ain FC, United Arab Emirates
The Sheikh of Al Ain was a fun-loving man with a profligate streak. At the start of the 1968 financial year, when other sheiks were outlining a public spending programme for new houses, roads and hospitals, the Sheikh of Al Ain spent most of his annual budget on a massive helter-skelter with mats and everything. At first his people were overjoyed and queued excitedly, night and day, to take a turn on it.

Productivity doubled, as workers were keen to complete their duties so they could nip out and have another go. A popular birthday present at this time was a hand-made individualised helter-skelter mat. The sheikh himself had one made of lynx pelt with the words "Rough Ride" picked out ornately in golden thread.

Soon, however, the money ran out for the sheikh – he had never been interested in oil (he didn't see how you could play with it), so instead, while his contemporaries were financially backing the country's numerous oilfields, he had ploughed his money into playdough and plastic Viking helmets. With no funds available for maintenance, the helter-skelter's lights went out one by one and the paintwork became chipped and faded.

It was the 1970s by now and people had found alternative leisure pursuits, such as fondue evenings, the Hustle, the pop-up book. The helter-skelter grew to symbolise both the folly of unsound financial investment and the difficulty of going genuinely fast on something wooden. It became the football club's motif because it had a nice swish to it. Cameron Carter

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The sponsors had a difficult choice for man of the match.

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from Mike Bayly
"Droylsden's official Twitter account keeps going bravely during a 10-0 thrashing."

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José Mourinho needs to work on ways to express delight.

mour500

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The 1995-96 Aston Villa squad reveal their fascinating drinking habits.

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from Mike Innes

"The names of a good number of clubs in Japan's J-League draw on corrupted versions of languages spoken in some of football's superpower nations. The likes of Jubilo Iwata, Kashiwa Reysol and Omiya Ardija hope that their brushes with Portuguese or Spanish constitute echoes of the success achieved by teams from the appropriate countries – coupled, of course, with a hint of the exotic. 



In the depths of Japanese non-League pyramid, however, one club have taken a different approach to the knotty problem of choosing a moniker. Ignoring the reflected glory that German or Italian might provide, FC Ube Yahhh-man have drawn upon Jamaican patois for, the club say, its perceived friendliness and warmth of spirit. Whatever their source of inspiration, it seems to be paying dividends: Japan's very own Reggae Boyz currently lie top of the Yamaguchi Prefectural League."

YahMan

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Also in the news this week


Manchester United in Nazi design goof

The toughest referee in Kuwait takes no prisoners

Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill drop in on Woody Allen

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
25 October 2013 ~

It was announced this week that actor Tim Roth has signed up to play Sepp Blatter in a new film about FIFA. Details are fairly sketchy at the moment but we're guessing that it will be about one man's relentless quest to root out corruption. A comic fantasy then.

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GuairaBadge of the week ~ Deportivo La Guaira, Venezuela
The King of the Mermen (or Mer-King, as he preferred to be called) was known for his curmudgeonly attitude to stray footballs entering his domain. Really, the only things the Mer-King wanted in his domain were mermen, mermaids (especially mermaids), himself and fish. During a game of beach football, whenever a La Guaira resident sliced a ball into the sea, it could be seen bobbing about for a few seconds before a golden pitchfork rose above the waves, punctured the ball and, pausing to give a regal wave, sank below once more.

The people of La Guaira were poor people because they had not worked out yet how to add "handling charges" to their invoices, so they needed every ball they could get. Eventually, the mayor formed a task force who waded out into the sea in special sea helmets to pay a visit to the Mer-King to request a change in policy. Owing to an administrative error back at Town Hall, they arrived, after two days of tramping along the sea bed, at the Mer-King's palace while he was on a week's leave. The young Mer-Prince did not have the approval levels to pass a law protecting footballs in his father's absence and the task force's arduous journey seemed to have been wasted.

Luckily, one of the prince's mermaid dressers fell in love instantly with a town councillor (he had lovely blue eyes, even through his sea helmet) and they married soon afterwards, forming a bond between the two communities and ending the ball puncturing forever. The new couple lived among their own people during the week but spent the weekends together in a half-filled water butt behind a beach cafe. The Beatles were right about All You Need Is Love. Although they were wrong about there being Eight Days A WeekCameron Carter

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from Gordon Jones
"The two Sheffield clubs have made a poor start to the League season but the Oxfordshire town of Abingdon has seen ever worse with only one win so far – still, it will an add extra edge to the derbies."

Abingdon500

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Impressive colouring-in skills from a kitman.

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from David Squires

"Australia have appointed Ange Postecoglou as their new manager. Here's a very tense interview from his time in charge of the Under-20s. Popcorn required."

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Even better than a shootout being won with a chipped "Panenka" penalty is seeing a failed one that turns out to be decisive.

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Also in the news this week


David Ginola employs some international sign language

Whoever writes Cristiano Ronaldo's tweets may have misjudged this one
Harry Redknapp enjoys a chat with spectators just before Millwall equalise against QPR

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Get with the programme A past match played this week in history

AirdrievCelticAirdrieonians v Celtic October 31, 1981, Scottish Premier Division
Was this stiff-papered programme edited by a disgruntled employee? How else to explain the thinly disguised sarky barbs at the expense of the home team by the heavy use of quotation marks? The front page editorial points out that so far there have been 21 goals at Broomfield in five league games, "sending supporters home enjoying that 'value-for-money' feeling". Right. In another feature lauding the club's family feel, the programme says that "Airdrieonians have never held any pretensions of being 'a flash' club." In fact it jealously guards its reputation "as a family 'concern'." Sure.

Then there's a picture of striker Willie McGuire in the parking lot at Cash and Carry. "Thumbs up from wee Willie McGuire," runs the caption, "and no wonder, for Willie 'cashed in' on a Sandy Clark pass to 'carry off' an important League point in last Saturday's thriller against Partick Thistle." Wait, that's not sarcasm, that's puckish Lanarkshire wit. It's only a surprise that the programme doesn't refer to top scorer Sandy Clark's ten goals so far in nine games as 'goals' – six of them were penalty kicks. Airdrie must have been the beneficiaries of some top 'refereeing'.

Targeting the fan demographic Airdrie Savings Bank managers are waiting to sign YOU. 

Result Airdrie 1 (Clark, pen of course) Celtic 3 (Sullivan, McCluskey pen, Burns)

Crowd 13,500.

Airdrie Davidson, Erwin, March, Anderson, Rodger, McKeown, Gordon, Walker, Flood, Clark, McGuire

Celtic Bonner, Moyes, Aitken, McAdam, Reid, Sullivan, Macleod, Burns, McGarvey, McCluskey, Nicholas

Ian Plenderleith

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
18 October 2013 ~

The furore over Roy Hodgson's NASA/monkey joke overlooked one thing. It's amazing that he managed to finish such an interminable gag before the end of the half-time break. He needs some quick "Knock Knock" jokes – one for Ray Lewington to sort out?

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PortValeBadge of the week ~ Port Vale
Burslem, in Staffordshire, is known chiefly for three things: having one of the few league clubs not named after a town or city, being the birthplace of the hot tub and, last but not least, pots. Most are aware of facts one and three, but precious few are aware of fact two, sandwiched uncomfortably between fact one and fact three like a shopgirl wedged just beneath the eyeline of two large men holding a post mortem on their most recent meeting in a packed underground carriage.

The inventor of the hot tub was Samuel Hinny, an early Port Vale player who felt uncontrollably lonely in his bath at home after the transporting joy of the post-match wallow with the lads. Often he would appeal to his wife to join him in the bath, but this was in the days before such things were considered acceptable – Marie Lloyd's first performance of I Chews Upon My Sweetheart's Flannel was still over a decade away – and his pleas went unheeded.

The only way for Hinny to enjoy a communal bath after he retired from the game was to create a new kind of bath in which it would somehow be socially acceptable to sit in the same water as a close friend or lover in the peripheral view of one's neighbours. His first attempt he called The Presbyterian-Approved Companionship Bathbox and consisted of two boxes of warm water separated by a screen but with a bell by each box to let your neighbouring bather know you were still there. Growing in confidence he later linked the two boxes by a narrow channel for passing the soap until finally inventing the single box "Hot Tub" and making his fortune. The meaning of the other two images on the badge, bottom left and top right, remains opaque. Cameron Carter

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Headline of the year from a Panamanian newspaper after their World Cup defeat to Mexico.

Panama200

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Nearly 200 years after his death, L'Empereur is still an influence on the top strategists of the 21st century.

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from Mike Ticher

"Some commendably blunt quotes from an SFA fan survey about what the respondents' club means to them."



"My club means that I get away from my house."

Male, 15, Queen of the South

"A forced marriage that you can never leave."

Male, 32, Partick Thistle

"They are rubbish, but they are my rubbish."

Male, 53, Stirling Albion

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Sky report that their breaking news is, in fact, not newsworthy.

Andros400

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Also in the news this week


Hampden goalposts heading to France
Ireland's caretaker manager gives a tetchy interview – and annoys the RTE panel
Penalty shootout record broken at Brockenhurst

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Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

penarolPeñarol home, 1996-97
Few clubs in the world can match Peñarol's achievements. Five times Copa Libertadores champions and three times world champions – last time in 1982 against Aston Villa – Uruguay's most successful side were also named South American Club of the 20th Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). Their 47 championships put them three ahead of fierce rivals Nacional, with whom they play in the oldest derby in football outside the British Isles.

This shirt, featuring the traditional gold and black stripes, is the one they wore for their fifth title in a row in 1997, matching their former longest championship streak (1958-62). The source of the colours lies in the English origin of their founders, who were inspired by the first modern steam locomotive Stephenson's Rocket, which was painted yellow and black when built in 1829.

The badge consists on nine black and yellow stripes with 11 stars above, representing the players. The sponsor back then was Parmalat, the multinational Italian dairy company that was later involved in financial fraud and bankruptcy in the early 2000's. Parmalat did not only sponsor Peñarol, as they also owned Italian side Parma and featured on other club shirts, such as Palmeiras, Benfica and Boca Juniors.

Like South American clubs Peñarol have been forced to sell their best players to European teams – such as Southampton's Gastón Ramírez. However, they have won two of the last four Uruguayan championships and were runners-up in the 2011 Copa Libertadores, so maybe the good days are coming back. Antonio Mateo

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