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8 March 2013 ~

Alex Ferguson indignantly brushed off the transfer rumours. "There is no way we would sell him, or any of our best players." That was in April 2003, two months before David Beckham left for Real Madrid. Expect to hear more soon how Wayne Rooney is "looking for a new challenge".


sanfran150Badge of the week ~ San Francisco FC, Panama
San Francisco of Panama incorporate a whole morality tale into their badge. Once upon a time there lived a monk who was a very pious man and happened to be the best writer and illustrator of illuminated manuscripts in his monastic cell. At the end of each year, all the monks' work was audited and every year his work was awarded the highest honour, "Satisfactory" (there was no room for hyperbolic blandishment in a monastery).

After several years of this type of recognition, our man was visited by the Sin of Pride and started to believe the traditional way of illustrating saintly martyrdoms and religious scenes was too staid for an expressive artist like himself. There were already rumours in the scriptorium that one monk was introducing dangerous new techniques to his work, but it wasn't until a text concerning the death of Thomas à Becket was illustrated by four blocks of saturated colour divided by stark vertical bands that action was taken by the Abbot.

The monk was imprisoned until he agreed to stop aiming to achieve an optical buzz from his work and just draw things nice and easy. San Francisco of Panama are saying here that we must all strive for originality in our work, but not before clearing it first with our manager. Cameron Carter


Here's a challenging artwork. The Dennis Bergkamp statue soon to be erected outside the Emirates will show him about to be sent off for dangerous play.


from Ian Corrie
"This would make an ideal doorstop. Not keen on the veins, though."


Jermain won't expect to be doing starters.



The next Chelsea manager will surely be too happy to allow chief executive Ron Gourlay to arrange the players' fitness routines.


from Tim Grey
"I wonder why Frannie Jeffers found Australian food to be so much more unpalatable than his usual fare. I can categorically state that the diet here is not really that different from the UK's. There's possibly less horsemeat though."



This week in history ~ Division One, March 8, 1969

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Don Revie's Leeds were to win their first League title by six points from Liverpool. In doing so they only lost twice, the best record for any champions since Preston's "Invincibles" in the first League season in 1888-89. In the win at Stoke there were two goals each for winger Mike O'Grady and midfielder and captain Billy Bremner. With goals spread evenly around the team, centre-forward Mick Jones was top scorer with 14, only half the total of the division's top marksman, Jimmy Greaves of Spurs who got 27.

Leicester City didn't play a league fixture due to a delayed FA Cup quarter-final tie at Mansfield, which they won. They were to lose 1-0 to Manchester City in the final, held in late April when they were second from bottom. Their team included three players who were to win League titles in the 1970s – goalkeeper Peter Shilton (Forest), left-back David Nish (Derby) and striker Allan Clarke (Leeds).

With four games to play, Leicester needed five points to overtake 20th-placed Coventry who had completed their fixtures. It came down to their final match, away at Manchester United on May 17. In losing 3-2 they were relegated by a point, becoming the first FA Cup runners-up to go down since Man City in 1926. Brighton, Middlesbrough and Portsmouth have done it since.

QPR's 1-0 loss to Wolves was the third match in a sequence of nine successive defeats that included an 8-1 thrashing at Old Trafford. Playing in their first season at the top level, Rangers finished on 18 points, a record low total for a 42-game season until it was beaten by Stoke City's 17 in 1984-85.

A crowd of 63,264 saw defending champions Man City win their derby with a goal from Mike Summerbee. City had begun the season beating West Brom 6-1 in the Charity Shield and ended it with that Wembley victory over Leicester, but they struggled in the league and finished 12th. Coach Malcolm Allison's boast that "we will take football to the moon" came unstuck in the first round of the European Cup where they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Fenerbahce of Turkey.

One team who did make an impact in Europe were Newcastle United. Four days after their win over Burnley they beat Vitoria Setubal of Portugal 5-1 in the first leg of the Fairs Cup quarter-final. They went on to win the competition, which became the UEFA Cup two years later, 6-2 on aggregate against Hungarian opponents, Ujpest Dozsa. Centre-back and captain Bobby Moncur, who had not scored in 126 league games for the club, got three of their six goals in the final.

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