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18 October 2013 ~

The furore over Roy Hodgson's NASA/monkey joke overlooked one thing. It's amazing that he managed to finish such an interminable gag before the end of the half-time break. He needs some quick "Knock Knock" jokes – one for Ray Lewington to sort out?

PortValeBadge of the week ~ Port Vale
Burslem, in Staffordshire, is known chiefly for three things: having one of the few league clubs not named after a town or city, being the birthplace of the hot tub and, last but not least, pots. Most are aware of facts one and three, but precious few are aware of fact two, sandwiched uncomfortably between fact one and fact three like a shopgirl wedged just beneath the eyeline of two large men holding a post mortem on their most recent meeting in a packed underground carriage.

The inventor of the hot tub was Samuel Hinny, an early Port Vale player who felt uncontrollably lonely in his bath at home after the transporting joy of the post-match wallow with the lads. Often he would appeal to his wife to join him in the bath, but this was in the days before such things were considered acceptable – Marie Lloyd's first performance of I Chews Upon My Sweetheart's Flannel was still over a decade away – and his pleas went unheeded.

The only way for Hinny to enjoy a communal bath after he retired from the game was to create a new kind of bath in which it would somehow be socially acceptable to sit in the same water as a close friend or lover in the peripheral view of one's neighbours. His first attempt he called The Presbyterian-Approved Companionship Bathbox and consisted of two boxes of warm water separated by a screen but with a bell by each box to let your neighbouring bather know you were still there. Growing in confidence he later linked the two boxes by a narrow channel for passing the soap until finally inventing the single box "Hot Tub" and making his fortune. The meaning of the other two images on the badge, bottom left and top right, remains opaque. Cameron Carter


Headline of the year from a Panamanian newspaper after their World Cup defeat to Mexico.



Nearly 200 years after his death, L'Empereur is still an influence on the top strategists of the 21st century.


from Mike Ticher

"Some commendably blunt quotes from an SFA fan survey about what the respondents' club means to them."

"My club means that I get away from my house."

Male, 15, Queen of the South

"A forced marriage that you can never leave."

Male, 32, Partick Thistle

"They are rubbish, but they are my rubbish."

Male, 53, Stirling Albion


Sky report that their breaking news is, in fact, not newsworthy.



Also in the news this week

Hampden goalposts heading to France
Ireland's caretaker manager gives a tetchy interview – and annoys the RTE panel
Penalty shootout record broken at Brockenhurst


Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

penarolPeñarol home, 1996-97
Few clubs in the world can match Peñarol's achievements. Five times Copa Libertadores champions and three times world champions – last time in 1982 against Aston Villa – Uruguay's most successful side were also named South American Club of the 20th Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). Their 47 championships put them three ahead of fierce rivals Nacional, with whom they play in the oldest derby in football outside the British Isles.

This shirt, featuring the traditional gold and black stripes, is the one they wore for their fifth title in a row in 1997, matching their former longest championship streak (1958-62). The source of the colours lies in the English origin of their founders, who were inspired by the first modern steam locomotive Stephenson's Rocket, which was painted yellow and black when built in 1829.

The badge consists on nine black and yellow stripes with 11 stars above, representing the players. The sponsor back then was Parmalat, the multinational Italian dairy company that was later involved in financial fraud and bankruptcy in the early 2000's. Parmalat did not only sponsor Peñarol, as they also owned Italian side Parma and featured on other club shirts, such as Palmeiras, Benfica and Boca Juniors.

Like South American clubs Peñarol have been forced to sell their best players to European teams – such as Southampton's Gastón Ramírez. However, they have won two of the last four Uruguayan championships and were runners-up in the 2011 Copa Libertadores, so maybe the good days are coming back. Antonio Mateo

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