A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
27 September 2013 ~
Niall Quinn wants Sunderland to appoint a manager "who can unite the squad". But Paolo di Canio did that – they all hated him.
Badge of the week ~ Supersport United, South Africa
Just one look at this badge and the bookish, reflective individual recognises this as a place to avoid. The cheerleader colours, the come-and-get-me swish of the central 'S', the positive primary school connotation of stars, the very name of the club – these details all align to create an overpowering desire in the introvert for the comfort of the nursery. All the people at this club are encouraged to habitually use the word "fun" as an adjective, "asap" as a two-syllable word, punctuate even the most mundane social network updates with "LOL" and generally pretend to enjoy life while all the time in their heads they hear nothing but the echo call of man's unending solitude.
If a Supersport United centre-forward is asked to provide the extra man at a defensive corner, he will most likely reply "No problay-mo", rather than "OK", while three-goal deficits at half-time will be described in the dressing-room as an "exciting challenge". This is because positivity, or the relentlessly circulated message to exhibit it, is at the core of the club. Perhaps Oscar Pistorius's lawyers are on the board. Cameron Carter
Mesut Özil's musical career seems to have stalled after this sedate contribution to a rap record in 2010. Look out for the line, "to every poop event I am on the list" – whatever can it mean?
from Costa Zafiropoulos
"Some online retailers need to be a little more vigilant when targeting football fans."
from Graham Forshaw
"Carlsberg's claim that their new Premier League rollercoaster ad will 'bring to life all those emotions that fans go through' isn't quite true – although I suppose it's hard to be bored senseless when you're plummeting through the air."
Get with the programme A past match played this week in history
Norwich City v Arsenal September 24, 1977, Football League Division One
Manager John Bond, touted as the man "who refuses to sweep the major issues under the carpet", knows what the major issue was in the previous weekend's 3-0 defeat at Everton – the press coverage. "It really didn't matter how we played up there," he writes, "there didn't seem to be an official observer who had an eye for anyone but Everton. I was surprised at how little they knew about us and how badly they interpreted the game."
This raises the question of how a 3-0 defeat might be interpreted as anything besides a 3-0 defeat. Perhaps Bond had sent his team out as a kinetic, canary-coloured 11-man art installation, instructing the players to move according to an imaginary Stockhausen composition playing only inside their heads. What meaning can one attach to an arbitrary statistic without taking into account the subtleties of the 90-minute ballet-on-grass performed by the likes of Mel Machin, Jimmy Neighbour and Roger Gibbins? Obviously, the imagination inspiring Bond's Norwich team at the time was wasted on mere peasant-like sports reporters.
Targeting the fan demographic "At Home or Away, RG Carter Head the League for all your Building Requirements." But also, "Home or Away you can't beat Golden Wonder". Some ad copywriter in Norwich was ripping off his clients.
Result Norwich City 1 Arsenal 0
Norwich City Keelan, Bond, Sullivan, Ryan, Jones, Powell, Neighbour, Reeves, Gibbins, Suggett, Peters.
Arsenal Jennings, Rice, Nelson, Price, O'Leary, Simpson, Matthews, Ross, MacDonald, Stapleton, Rix. Sub: Walford (for Matthews)