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17 May 2013 ~
Financial commentators estimate that David Beckham could become "a $500 million brand" now he can turn his attention to commercial activities. Thank God – we thought he was going to end up in a bedsit.
Badge of the week ~ FK Yenisey Krasnoyarsk, Russia
This is a fun-loving club with theatrical tendencies. The Music Hall Lion is a character from Russian folklore who dwelt in the deepest and darkest forest in Siberia. It was so deep and dark that only people with a bag-for-life would return with their bag intact. Plastic or paper bags were either lost or ripped to shreds. Who takes a paper bag into a Siberian forest anyway? You'd have to expect the worst.
Some who ventured into the forest found themselves, after hours of wandering, in a lamplit clearing dominated by a crudely constructed stage. A brief growly announcement would precede the entry onto the stage of the Music Hall Lion in Romanov-era drag, singing his signature tune I'm Just A Girl Who Can't Avoid The Feeling That Disease Is A Reflection of Social Degeneration. Survivors of this experience reported that it was best to remain attentive for the entire performance of the act, which involved singing, dancing and pointing out wildlife with the song-and-dance cane.
The Music Hall Lion never broke into the big time of Russian vaudeville, partly because he would not compromise on the rigorous social analysis of his lyrics, but he is remembered in the region as a symbol of the flourishing of creative excellence in a discouraging environment. Cameron Carter
The world's first sex robot will have had plenty to chat about over the past week.
Meanwhile Tony Parsons speaks for all of us, as ever.
A bit of David Beckham-based confusion at Leyton Orient
from Matt Barker
"Here's a story that the international football media seems to have missed. Earlier this year, Sarego Calcio, based in the suburbs of Vicenza in the north-east of Italy, looking to steer clear of a relegation scrap down in the regional Eccellenza leagues, played host to promotion-chasing Thermal Abano Teolo, from Padova.
Twenty-five minutes in, and with the score at 1-1, the referee blew his whistle. A brood of ten hens had invaded the pitch en masse, after breaking out from a nearby farmyard and making a dash for freedom. The game was held up for five minutes, while both sets of players, coaching staff and match officials cleared the waddling intruders from the field of play.
It proved to be a pretty rotten afternoon for Sarego midfielder Luca Cortellazzi. Not only did he have to run around trying to coax a squadron of irritable hens back into their coop, but he also scored an own goal that helped the visitors to a 2-1 win. There’s an egg-on-the-face gag in there somewhere, but I’m not going anywhere near it."
From Tamworth FC's official site. They might have read it through first.
from Tony Hardy
"£2.5 million for a statue of Jason Lee? I suspect an instance of Wikipedia vandalism here."
For once, a football club with a good marketing idea.
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Canvey Island home, 2003-04
Canvey Island had finished runners-up in the Isthmian League in the previous three seasons, but a new kit for 2003-04 brought new success to Park Lane. It was manufactured by Venom Sports, who still make the Gulls' kits. Owner and manager Jeff King's company Kings Park Homes adorned the shirt. The kit followed the club's classic yellow and blue colours but featured a shift towards a lighter shade of blue on the sleeves and collar.
Canvey steamrolled the Isthmian League in 2003-04, winning the title by 19 points with seven games to spare and gaining promotion to the Conference. They also reached the FA Cup first round proper, drawing away with Essex rivals Southend United. The replay was televised on Sky – the Gulls lost 3-2 but the tie earned them around £50,000. Steve Tilson, who was sacked as Canvey manager last week, assisted Southend's caretaker-manager David Webb for that match before becoming manager himself.
Canvey's stay in the top flight of non-League football lasted three seasons before financial problems forced them to resign from the Conference. The 2003-04 season remains the high-point in the club's history. Joseph Rutter