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12 July 2013 ~

BT Sport have announced the "huge first game" of their Premier League live coverage. It's Liverpool v Stoke. "Michael Owen will enjoy this one!" says BT's main presenter Jake Humphrey. Just him then.

mantaBadge of the week ~ Manta FC, Ecuador
We have seen before how some football clubs use popular animated characters in their branding to entice younger people through the turnstiles. In the case of Manta FC, they have adopted Pescado Loco (literally mad fish) to appeal to the junior school demographic. Pescado Loco is an unusual cartoon character in many ways. Firstly, he comes from a broken home: his mother, Aborracha de Día (drunk fish in the daytime), does her best with her unusual son but never knows where Pescado Loco has been until he returns from his adventures.

These adventures are unorthodox by children's cartoon standards. For the most part, mad fish clings to his magic flying tablecloth and, on landing at a new destination, gives a rambling speech of 40 to 50 minutes on the problems he has had setting up his own enterprise, what with the heavy burden of business tax and employee insurance liability.

In one episode, which overran to nearly two hours, Pescado Loco berated the recently nationalised petrochemical industry for deliberately downplaying the risks associated with energy investment. It is not unusual in Ecuador to hear reports of children fainting during a broadcast. So far, the take-up from younger fans has been negligible, but the club is persevering as part sponsor of the spin-off film Skyraider – Pescado Loco Derides The Public Transport System. Cameron Carter


Liverpool's big new hope Conor Coady gets a media grilling.



Having difficulty opening a bottle of beer? Get a friend to scissor-kick the top off, then celebrate like you've won the World Cup.


Obafemi Martins, interior decorator.


Also in the news this week
Fergie's fledglings attempt smart casual with mixed results.

Is this definitely match-fixing? You lose a few bad goals and heads go down.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto just does his job.


Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear


Wrexham home, 1983-85
Between 1981 and 1985, Wrexham wore an uninspiring kit designed by French sportswear giant Patrick. It was not a glorious association as this period included consecutive relegations back to the League basement, managerial changes, dwindling attendances and near financial ruin.

In September 1983, bus operator Crosville became the club's first ever shirt sponsors to enliven a dull design, if only marginally. The deal included an agreement that Crosville would provide travel to away matches in a luxury coach. This helped financially but didn't improve results as the team struggled to avoid facing re-election. The only positive from a long season of drudgery was European qualification after losing the Welsh Cup final to Shrewsbury Town.

Wearing the same strip, Wrexham started 1984-85 with a squad of 15 players and continued to scrap around the bottom of the Fourth Division under the guidance of Bobby Roberts. A glamorous diversion arrived when we drew FC Porto in the first round of the Cup-Winners Cup, beat them 1-0 on the Racecourse and achieved the impossible when a last-minute Barry Horne strike meant a 4-3 defeat in Portugal but an aggregate victory, courtesy of the away goals rule. 

Over the years, the pain of the Patrick years has receded while the cherished victory over Porto has become part of local folklore – a story that never fails to impress incredulous football fans. Consequently this shirt is the ultimate piece of retro memorabilia for Wrexham fans with selective memories. Nathan Lee Davies

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