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20 September 2013 ~

There has been an angry reaction to the prospect of the 2022 World Cup being staged in the winter. Those opposed to Qatar hosting the tournament are now pinning their hopes on an investigation by FIFA's ethics committee which is looking for evidence of corruption in the voting. Their report is due in 2023.

ShortaBadge of the week ~ Al Shorta FC, Iraq
There lived once, in Mesopotamia, a bull so wild and ungovernable that no man could own him. This bull roamed freely the hills and plains until one evening it beheld a sweet and haunting strain of melody from a nearby ravine. On investigation, the sound was created by the breeze playing on the strings of an abandoned harp. The bull set about teaching himself to play, beginning with a tentative sweep across the strings, leading to some simple scales and eventually progressing to a reasonable two-hoofed version of The Streets of Laredo.

In time the bull became known for his astonishing musical prowess and no one wanted to catch him anymore, instead they chewed daisies at his feet while he played lilting airs that rose and drifted through the mountainside. At last, word of this phenomenon reached the Sultan himself and the bull was summoned to the palace to play for the court.

Unfortunately, the bull had got a bit uppity with all the attention, not concerning himself with mundane things like tuning or replacing broken strings, so that when he came to play for the Sultan, his discordant three-string versions of Jimmy Crack Corn and Scarborough Fair were booed to the rafters. On his way out, the bull was captured and had to live in the fields with the rest of his kind. The crest acclaims resourcefulness while warning of the perils of pride. Cameron Carter


from Dave Duerson
"Given Stockport's current problems they could do with some divine intervention. Let's hope this is it."


Kevin Phillips shows a fine sense of perspective in suggesting that young players should start on modest salaries – just £10,000 a week.



from Tim Manns
"I wonder if there are enough young footballers named George Best to make the academy viable?"



Not to be watched by the nervous – the rant at the fourth official that led to Jürgen Klopp being sent off during Dortmund's Champions League defeat at Napoli.


Also in the news this week

Walsall's celebration of their victory over Wolves gets out of hand

Parachutist makes emergency landing at a Conference match

Kick and rush perfected in Germany


Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Valencia77-83Valencia away, 1977-83

The launch of Barcelona's away kit for this season, featuring the colours of the Senyera flag, is a reminder of classic kit that also used the pattern. Valencia CF were pioneers in the use of this emblem – associated with Catalonia, Valencia, Aragon and the Balearic Islands – in a football kit. It was the more than 30 years ago, from 1977-83, and in their case it included some blue details in the collar and shorts, respecting the city's version of the flag. Sponsors didn't feature on club shirts back then, so the Valencia badge is the only element breaking the yellow and red stripes.

This kit has come to symbolise a glorious era in Valencia, and it's widely remembered for being worn by the Argentinian World Cup winner Mario Kempes, who scored more than 100 goals in his six seasons with the club. The Matador, as he was called, was in the team who won the European Cup-Winners Cup and the Super Cup in 1980 against Arsenal and Nottingham Forest.

More modern versions have been produced since then by Valencia, but it wasn't until 2011 that the club created a faithful replica which was really popular with the fans, even if the team rarely wears it on the pitch nowadays. Neighbours Levante, as well as Barcelona, have created their own versions of the Senyera shirt recently. Antonio Mateo

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