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11 January 2013 ~

Hard times at Chelsea under Rafa Benítez. The chair of their Supporters' Group says: "We are in turmoil and there is a danger we will lose the soul of the club." Wouldn't that be awful?

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oldham150Badge of the week ~ Oldham Athletic
Oldham's badge is The Awoken Owl. The Awoken Owl was known all around the Oldham area for being a very light sleeper and ill-tempered when roused from slumber during the day. Wordsworth, who often wandered these parts, probably makes reference to this owl in verse 42 of his poem Address To A Knot of Limestone Pavement near Todmorden:

By turn and turn, to Oldham woods / Through frozen boughs, by moonlight dazzled / Here aloft an owl surveyed / Abrupt in nature, offish, frazzled. 

The main problem was that, this part of the country being very picturesque, those, like Wordsworth, who tended to outwardly exult in the natural beauty and the Infinite Grace behind its creation, would generally wake up the owl with their rapturous outbursts when he was attempting to get some sleep. Mothers would warn their children to be very quiet in these woods so as not to awaken the owl, as he could be very testy and no one wants to see the bed-head of an agitated owl close up. He is commemorated in Oldham's badge as a warning to other teams of the danger of awakening this sleeping giant of a club. So no one has. Cameron Carter

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from Phil Town

"'Ladies: If you wear the shirt, we'll take ours off.' Portuguese club Paços de Ferreira try to drum up new members, with players Rui Caetano and Filipe Anunciação shaking it for the cause."

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from James De Mellow

"Even by Portsmouth's standards, nine out of 12 players on the 2013 calendar already having left is pretty special."

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Worthing have tweeted 777 times but have no followers. How is that even possible?

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from Andy Limb

"I can’t believe the Guardian have got this on their website, over 23 years after you published my fine-art drawings of Niall Quinn and Terry McDermott in the first WSC annual, Offside."

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from Gareth Stewart
"At first I thought the immobile Man Utd fan here was asleep until I realised it was a dummy. At least, I hope that's the explanation."

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Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

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Leigh RMI home, 2003-04
Leigh RMI had been founded in 1896 as Horwich Railway Mechanics Institute, one of two Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway works teams. The other club played at Newton Heath and later went on to become Manchester United. In 1995 Horwich RMI relocated to become Leigh RMI, moving into the 10,000 capacity Hilton Park, home of Leigh Centurions rugby club. In 2000 they reached the Conference and survived, against the odds, for five seasons at that level.

This shirt was worn during their 2003-04 campaign, in which they finished second-bottom of the pile. A slight diversion from their normal red and white stripes, the shirt was designed by Branded and sponsored by Body Image Fitness Centre from Wigan. Unlike Leigh RMI, the health club still exists today. The club should have been relegated at the end of that 2003-04 season but were reprieved when Margate failed ground grading. The escape was short lived as demotion to the Conference North was unavoidable the next season. Leigh RMI declined an opportunity to merge with the newly formed FC United of Manchester and over the next few years the demise set in.

Relegation to the Northern Premier League ensued in 2008, at which point the club's name was changed again when they became Leigh Genesis. The traditional club colours were discarded, in favour of white and black, in an attempt to make Genesis stand out from many other Lancashire clubs who sported red. But the rebranding of the club failed to stop the rot; competing for support in the Manchester hinterland, in the shadow of bigger clubs and at the heart of rugby league country, took its toll.

A move away from Hilton Park eventually saw them homeless and a further drop down the pyramid followed. In the summer of 2011 they took the decision to resign from the National League System. Leigh Genesis reformed in May 2012 as a Sunday League side. Andy Ollerenshaw

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