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13 December 2013 ~

Barcelona are to have the inside of their shirts sponsored by Intel. The next step will be for the players to shout "Nike!" or "Qantas!" when they score.

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GoodLuck1Badge of the week ~ Good Luck, Martinique
Why would you call you club Good Luck? It's surely 1-0 to the opposition before the match has kicked off. The type of team that calls itself Good Luck is the type of team whose players doff their silk caps at you as you pass them, applauding the resulting goal and taking you out to tea afterwards. Minus points for intimidation here. The image itself is much more like it.

The Old Man And The Scorpion is a lesser-known short story by Edgar Allen Poe in which a lonely old widower lets his spare room to a young marine biologist. The old man hears the young man pacing up and down in his room upstairs each night, followed by, finally, a faint but unmistakeable rattling. Night after night, the old man lies awake, waiting for the footsteps to cease and the hideous sound that will surely follow. One night, half crazed with lack of sleep, he creeps upstairs to his tenant's door and, pausing only to gain control of his ragged breathing, stoops charily to the keyhole.

The sight that greeted the old man's eye was the young marine biologist marching up and down in a fishnet body stocking, trying to teach a large adult scorpion how to shimmy. The rattling sound was the nearest the creature, festooned with silver balls, had got to simulating this act. This denouement to Poe's story perhaps explains why the story is a lesser-known example of his work. The club use the tale's iconography, though, to imply that they are a bit darker than their name suggests. Cameron Carter

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As reported by the Observer last weekend, Paul Pogba expects to be remembered by history.

Pogba300

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from Graham Stewart

"Am I being naive in hoping that the World Cup ball will go rogue on its official Twitter account and start supporting the protest movement in Brazil? Probably, yes."

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Finally a way for English footballers to improve their ball skills at home (you can't kick it up in the air).

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from Duncan Mackay

"Regarding Sepp Blatter's air travel tips. He likes crime novels but his record at FIFA suggests that he may not be able to tell when a crime has been committed."

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Also in the news this week
Sky Sports try to predict the future

Juan Sebastián Verón is sent off after being substituted in his final league game

Newcastle ask the press to pay for access

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This week in history Championship, December 13, 2008

Champ13122008Table
Mick McCarthy's Wolves led the Championship for almost the entire season, keeping their place despite a run of only one win in ten games from Boxing Day onwards. They won the title by seven points from Birmingham City. Irish full-back Kevin Foley, scorer of the second goal against Barnsley, is one of three players still at the club along with centre-back Richard Stearman and midfielder David Edwards. Wolves' Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was the division's top scorer with 25 goals, four ahead of Cardiff's' Ross McCormack and Jason Scotland of Swansea.

Charlton were bottom for the final five months and finished 12 points adrift of safety. Sean O'Driscoll's Doncaster were the form team after Christmas when a run of nine wins in 11 games lifted them out of the bottom three; they finished 14th.

The Southampton team beaten at Burnley included Adam Lallana, Morgan Schneiderlin and Jack Cork. A 2-2 draw in the return fixture, on the penultimate weekend of the season, sent Saints down to the third tier where they hadn't played in 49 years. Dutch manager Jan Poortvliet was sacked in January 2009 after eight months in charge. His compatriot Mark Wotte was only in the job until the summer when Alan Pardew took over.

In finishing 22nd, Norwich also returned to the third for the first time since they had come up with Southampton in 1959-60. Norwich had a managerial change in mid-season with Bryn Gunn replacing Glen Roeder. Gunn was dismissed in August 2009 shortly after an opening day  7-1 home defeat by Colchester, whose manager Paul Lambert then joined Norwich.

Some notable names on the scoresheet this week include Shane Long (Reading), Shefki Kuqi (Crystal Palace), Clinton Morrison (Coventry), Heidar Helguson (QPR) and Jay Bothroyd for Cardiff – he was to become their first England international when capped once in 2010.

Birmingham clinched the second promotion place on the final day, a 2-1 win at Reading leaving them three points clear of Sheffield United. The latter beat Preston in their playoff semi-final, then faced Burnley, who had defeated Reading. At Wembley a goal from midfielder Wade Elliott took Burnley, managed by Owen Coyle, into the Premier League.

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