A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
6 September 2013 ~
New FA chairman Greg Dyke has complained about the negative effect the Premier League has had on the development of English players. This can be traced back to the late 1980s when ITV, holders of live rights to the top division, were influential in moves towards a breakaway league. ITV's head of sport at the time was a certain Greg Dyke, who has come a long way since.
Badge of the week ~ Ravenna Calcio, Italy
Many years ago in Italy there lived side by side two lions, one red, one golden. Many marvelled at the red lion's striking appearance to his face but the gold lion used to get more callers. Both lions had large gardens full of apple trees, the fruit of which they would use to make chutneys, juice and pies to sell at inflated prices at busy farmers' markets in the town square.
It happened that one of the red lion's trees had a bough that hung over the fence dividing the two gardens. The gold lion, lulled by a long afternoon of sun and shadow, thought nothing of picking the apples from this tree and putting them in his basket. The red lion, while he had known the gold lion many years and talked to him every day over the garden fence, secretly thought this basket an affectation verging on the theatrical. So when he saw his own apples being put in this basket by a lion who not only got more visitors than him but who also owed him a first class stamp from two weeks ago, the red lion snapped.
The resulting conflict lasted ten years and laid waste the region of Ravenna so that the people starved and were driven from the land. Ravenna FC use the lions in their logo, not because their story has anything to do with football, but as an opportunity to remind people of minor details of property law to avoid unpleasantness in future. Cameron Carter
A sign that the End Times are near:
"The British legend is being given a Great British Bale Off by another British legend today as #goodluckgareth tweets are being displayed on a Golden Wonder crisp van driving around North London this morning. The crisp brand has stated that all tweets will be collated and passed on to Bale – along with a packet of crisps as a parting gift."
from John Foster
"Judging by the almost unbearable aura of melancholy emanating from the picture on Bosnia manager Safet Susic's Wikipedia page, he sat for the artist during a period of great personal turmoil. The jacket over the t-shirt may say casual, but the eyes speak of a sadness unknowable to other men."
from Tim Bland
"The BBC live commentary on Spurs v Swansea got a little carried away."
Fábio Coentrão failed to join Man Utd on deadline day because Real Madrid didn't have time to replace him. For one game last season he wasn't even in their matchday squad, although he thought otherwise.
Also in the news this week
Nationwide celebrations as Vinnie Jones says he won't be returning to the UK
Michael Jackson creates a goal for John Lennon in Brazil
Alan Hansen to retire – though he actually stopped working years ago
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Aston Villa away, 2005-06
DWS Investments UK – not COWS as it appeared, to near-constant ridicule – is the domestic arm of Deutsche Bank. Between 2004 and 2006 they were Aston Villa's chief shirt sponsor. It was to be a troubled period in the club's history and not just because of this yellow monstrosity. Following a shaky start to 2003-04, David O'Leary's team rallied a sixth-place finish. Only a draw against Southampton and defeat to Manchester United in the final two games kept Villa out of a Champions League spot.
After falling to tenth-place the following year the 2005-06 season started badly, with Villa managing only one win in their first eight games. By October rumours began to circulate that chairman Doug Ellis was looking to sell his controlling stake in the club. Takeover bids by Irish property developers Brian and Luke Comer, as well as former pro Ray Ranson, were mooted but no agreement was reached. Amid such uncertainty, DWS Investments UK announced in January 2006 that they had no intention of renewing their sponsorship deal.
On the field Villa flirted with relegation, eventually clawing their way to a 16th-place finish that cost O'Leary his job. With supporter unrest growing, Ellis agreed to sell the club to American businessman Randy Lerner, who installed Martin O'Neill in the dugout and poured millions of pounds into the club in pursuit of the Champions League, a chase that was never quite successful. Joe Sharratt