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15 November 2013 ~
FIFA's ethics committee have admitted they have no power to change where the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be staged, even if they find evidence of corruption in the bidding process. Instead, the executive committee must make that decision. So the World Cup can only be taken away from Qatar if the people who voted for it change their minds, in self-disgust at having accepted bribes. It's a long shot.
Badge of the week ~ Hippo FC, Zimbabwe
A hippopotamus is actually a rather deadly animal. One thing everyone knows about the hippopotamus is that it doesn't like people much. Over 200 hundred people a year are killed by hippopotami, which is a higher figure than the annual death count for playing Sardines while deep-sea diving.
With this in mind, Hippo FC's badge could have been very menacing, possibly featuring the gaping maw of a large specimen at the point of clamping down on the spine of an unwary skinny-dipper. Or just a bull hippo narrowing its eyes. Instead the club have opted for a domesticated hippo on valium, the type of hippo that drifts onto the patio to tell its guests in a faraway voice that it made some cheese straws for everyone but may have posted them to the DVLA.
While some clubs like a sturdy Latin motto beneath the main image, Hippo FC have their nickname, The Sugar Sugar Boys. This is a much better nickname than any British clubs have. If one were at a party and were informed that the Sugar Sugar Boys had arrived, one would instinctively brace oneself for the evening's climax. However, if one were at a party when the Biscuitmen, Pensioners and Glaziers were announced, one would become almost immediately sober enough to drive. Cameron Carter
FIFA are asking for slogans, to be painted on the official team buses at the 2014 World Cup. The England shortlist includes:
"Are You Watching Harry Redknapp?"
"Man City Reserves On Tour"
"Honk If You Can See Ray Lewington"
Football mascots play an increasingly prominent part in matchdays now. The recent Rememberance Day commemoration was a prime example, as was pointed out on the WSC message board. Dinosaurs are capable of looking sombre, birds not so much.
The hierarchy of footballing celebrity: you can spend five minutes sampling the robust opinions of Ron "Chopper" Harris for the cost of three minutes with Geoff Hurst.
Ben Foster offers his view on Chelsea's controversial last-minute penalty equaliser against West Brom.
Roman Abramovich and his bunnies are the highlight of a new football calendar – not for the squeamish.
This week in history Division One, November 16, 1935
Runners-up the previous season, Sunderland stayed at the top and took the title, their sixth, by eight points from Derby. Seven of the team at Brentford were Scots. Two of the English players who scored in the 5-1 win, striker Bobby Gurney and inside forward Raich Carter, ended up with 31 goals each out of the team's total of 109. Sunderland's goalkeeper, 22-year-old Jimmy Thorpe, was to die of head injuries sustained in a league match against Chelsea in February 1936.
In their first season at the top level, Brentford finished fifth, which made them the highest-placed London club for the only time. Sixth-placed Arsenal were the best-supported team with an average of 41,960, while Grimsby, in their second top flight season, drew the smallest crowd – 11,496. Ted Drake, who scored in Arsenal's win at Everton, also got the only goal of the FA Cup final, against Sheffield United.
Liverpool's goal in their defeat at Wolves was scored by winger Lance Carr, one of three South Africans in their side along with striker Gordon Hodgson – who spent 14 years in League football and was capped by England – and fellow winger Berry Nieuwenhuys.
Although they finished 18th, West Brom were the third most prolific team with 89 goals, of which 39 came from the division's top scorer, Billy "Ginger" Richardson. Aston Villa's relegation – they finished 21st, three points behind Sheffield Wednesday, Liverpool and West Brom – was decided in their final match, a 4-2 home defeat by the already-relegated Blackburn. The two clubs were the last of the League's founder members to go down.
George Camsell, who got one of Middlesbrough's six against Blackburn, had set a League record in scoring 59 goals when Boro were promoted from Division Two in 1926-27. But it was beaten the next year when Dixie Dean scored 60 for Everton. In the Blackburn team beaten at Ayresome Park was centre half Jesse Carver, who coached Juventus to an Italian league title after the war and turned down the England manager's job.