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19 July 2013 ~
Back in May the Howl made light of Manchester Utd's most recent sponsorship deals, complete with some far-fetched suggestions of potential new opportunities. This week, the Football League have signed up an Official Pizza Supplier ("Like our clubs, Papa Johns are located in towns and cities across the country"), while Manchester City have teamed up with "Asia's number-one car battery brand". You couldn't make it up.
Badge of the week ~ UCAM Murcia CF, Spain
All Spanish children grow up to fear the Stabby Angel of Murcia. In the nursery they are taught that angels exist (in the instances of loss of milk teeth or infant mortality) and are persuaded that these beings are benign and protective. Not the Stabby Angel of Murcia, though.
There was a rhyme that old Spanish women would recite to children who were misbehaving beneath their window: "You young goats who laugh and chatter, the stab angel will have you." It wasn't a rhyme, actually. More of a saying. Old Spanish women were banned from saying it in 1968. It was said that the angel entered houses by tailgating dinner guests, so that the sound of a Spanish doorbell in the early evening was very often accompanied by that of screaming and helpless sobbing from the child's bedroom.
The Stabby Angel legend started to die out around the late 1980s, when adults began warning children with an alternative figure, the Child Laminator Who Lives In The Retail Park. The Child Laminator gave way in turn to Boring Preachy Dude at the start of the 21st century. UCAM Murcia kept the Stabby Angel as their icon because it fits in with their direct game and aerial threat. Cameron Carter
from Seb Patrick
"The trend for referring to footballers by their initials and squad number has surely reached a nadir with SD19."
from Nigel Downs
"Norwich City had a bad run last season but it wasn't this bad."
from Graham Waite
"Football broadcasting newcomers BT Sport are spoiling us with their live coverage of Rio Ferdinand's testimonial. There is a promise of 'special guest appearances by famous faces' – with Rio's global connections, that can only mean Edward Snowden."
This goalkeeper needs to work on his technique.
Also in the news this week
Ray Wilkins was famously cautious in his playing days – not any more.
An Alex Ferguson lookalike gets an evening's work in Bangkok.
The best video yet making fun of Luis Suárez – starring Luis Suárez.
Get with the programme
In the first of a new series Ian Plenderleith looks at a past match played this week in history
FC Zürich v Servette, July 21, 1998 Swiss National League A
The Swiss summer break is so short that in 1998 the season started on July 15, three days after the World Cup final. In his notes, Zürich president Sven Hotz tries to whet the mid-summer crowd's appetite with two dubious claims – games between the two teams at the Letzigrund "always belonged to the most spectacular", and FCZ are becoming "a team of style and radiance".
Aware that another season facing St Gallen and Aarau wasn't likely to quicken the average Swiss pulse, much of the programme focuses on Zürich's return to the UEFA Cup after 15 years, listing all manner of prestigious possible opponents (though not Celtic, who they later eliminated in the second round). But mere glamorous names cannot lift the hopelessly prosaic content of this unnecessarily A4-sized programme, whose pages are largely filled with ads for insurance companies and banks. Its best use was for shielding the eyes against the descending sun, or wafting away the smoke from the firecrackers thrown by the rowdy element on the Südkurve.
Targeting the fan demographic Credit Suisse claims mysteriously: "We like to play balls to FC Zürich"
Result FC Zurich 0, Servette 1 (Rey)