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20 December 2013 ~

Sepp Blatter has said match officials at Brazil 2014 will stop defensive walls moving forward at free-kicks with the use of vanishing spray. Sadly he has rejected calls for it to be tested on FIFA executives first.

Liberta0Badge of the week ~ Liberta Sports Club, Antigua
Capturing the moment of impotent rage at learning that, once again, one's raffle ticket has proved worthless, Liberta's crest represents the inherent injustice of life's lottery. Why, it seems to ask, are some of us born with the power to transfix a crowd with our singing voice, while others are surgery receptionists? Why can some people naturally and effortlessly charm the birds from the trees, while others are born believing that it's OK to say "I like all types of music" as part of a living, fluid conversation?

Life is not fair and Liberta grasp this fact (see image – here the raffle ticket represents a fact), becoming empowered by the grasping. Previous drafts by the badge's designer had a nettle pictured in place of the raffle ticket and a piece of paper with "The Initiative" in capitals and bold type. The raffle symbolism works better because it is a more complex area: we want to win the raffle but then do we actually want to edge laboriously through a room of beer-faced plug-uglies to collect a gift box of handkerchiefs before edging back again with a dopey look on our face? Is it actually worth it in the end?

Liberta FC, like John Lydon, know that anger is an energy. In the future, when the world runs out of anger, we will have to mine reproachfulness as a new energy source, which will mean dimmer lighting and longer oven cooking times. Cameron Carter


from John Mackay
"As someone who doubts the usefulness of stats, it's nice to see Prozone dismissed as 'malarkey' and scrapped in favour of a manager using his eyes."


from Mike Ticher
"The programme for Sunday's game against Melbourne Heart included the words to some of Sydney FC fans' classic songs. Here's an excerpt for those struggling to pick up the complex lyrical structure."



from Seb Patrick
"MK Dons' attempt to prove a point did not go well."



Owen Coyle incorporates a cheeky face into his standard autograph. It may be a while before he's asked for another one.


Also in the news this week
Cristiano Ronaldo opens a museum to himself

Benoit Assou-Ekotto wasn't too upset by Spurs' 5-0 defeat judging by his post-match tweet

Mascot snubs Luis Suárez for a bet


Get with the programme A past match played this week in history

PalacevLeeds150Crystal Palace v Leeds United December 17, 1988, League Division Two

Palace under Steve Coppell hosted Leeds, tentatively improving under new manager Howard Wilkinson, but the fact that both teams were mired in mid-table is reflected by the utterly uninspiring match programme. A centre-spread profile of Palace keeper Brian Parkin sums it up: "Likes/dislikes: Driving, relaxing/Ignorant people. Favourite Food/Drink: Steak/Lager."

But wait, hidden away on page 23 is Taff's Talkabout, where Palace assistant manager Ian Evans gets something off his chest – namely, players with a bad ATTITUDE (spelt out TWICE in capitals). He gives three examples. Firstly, players who coast through training and claim to do their stuff on matchday ("That is a load of rubbish," says Evans). Secondly, players who cry off training because they've got a blister on their toe. Evans: "To me this is a sign of a soft wimp." And third, players who want to train on a cold day wearing tracksuit bottoms. "This one speaks for itself," Evans says. "Whoever plays on Saturday with tracksuit trousers on?" Wimps, Ian, that's who. Only wimps. Where is he now, though? Editors should be queuing up to commission a regular online column.

Result Palace 0 Leeds 0 

Crowd 9,847 

Palace Parkin, Pemberton, Burke, Pardew, Hopkins, Nebbeling, Dyer, Thomas, Bright, Wright, Barber

Leeds Andrews, Aspin, Snodin, Aizlewood, Blake, Rennie, Whitlow, Sheridan, Baird, Davison (sub Taylor), Hilaire (sub Williams)

Ian Plenderleith

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