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31 May 2013 ~
Expensive, widely criticised and with shaky foundations – who better to open the renovated Maracanã than England?
Badge of the week ~ Everton
To coincide with the exciting challenge of the post-Moyes era, Everton have drafted a new design for their crest. According to the club, the new image is more "modern and dynamic" than the traditional crest, while also more user-friendly in the digital age. Being a go-ahead type of club, Everton have come to the conclusion this year that Latin is a dead language and, consequently, the motto Nil Satis Nisi Optimum can be dropped as irrelevant and inaccessible. The two laurel wreaths have also been omitted, as too fiddly for the digital age.
Where previously the tower had appeared as one might in a dream of remote yearning for something unattainable, now it simply resembles a cupcake, which is, in truth, easier to reproduce in the digital age and possibly more manageable an image for Chinese wage-slaves to render for the low-end replica kit market. What the club have forgotten to consider here is that a tower, deprived of its height, is no longer a tower. It is a hut. And a hut, generally speaking in iconography, lacks the wow factor. Despite these changes, the badge still lacks full modernity. Surely the year 1878 is a bit last millennium. Expect that to disappear next time. Cameron Carter
from Craig Leslie
"Never thought I would see anyone less able to kick a football than my old nursery school teacher Mrs Simpkins, but Will Smith has outdone her here."
No vandalism on this Wikipedia page, just a great name (though possibly not a great footballer).
Let's hope Michael's BT punditry can continue this high level of insight into the football world.
from Robert Brown
"Finally a proper use for my old Havant & Waterlooville shirt – it's going to help me get to sleep at night (I hope)."
from Alan Chadwick
"Despite their mostly dire season, I am delighted to see my club Stoke City move up a place in the league table of global football brands. But I don't understand why they only rate three stars out of five for 'emotional attachment'. There was plenty of emotion on display in the crowd during that torrid home defeat to Villa in April."
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Hartlepool United home, 1997-99
Before the days of glossy Nike kits and multi-national sponsors we had this – a fabulously no-nonsense design at the end of tumultuous decade for Hartlepool. With the simplistic appearance of an off-the-shelf Sunday league strip, it was released without a manufacturer's logo and was one of the last in a long line to carry the name of the local Camerons brewery.
Having safely negotiated two takeovers, along with a series of horrendous mid-1990s kit designs, the return to solid royal blue-and-white did not initially mark an upturn in fortunes for the club. Pools ended the 1997-98 season in the relative security of 17th place, but an eight-game winless run the following year saw Mick Tait's side sliding towards the Conference.
By mid-January Tait was sacked and Chris Turner was brought in to replace him. Despite being bottom at Easter, Turner's men recovered to finish in 22nd place, three points clear of Scarborough who were famously relegated by goalkeeper Jimmy Glass's injury-time winner for Carlisle. The revival was to continue the following season, with Pools rising all the way to the play-offs before missing out to arch rivals Darlington.
With its unfussy trim and supermarket-carrier-bag material, the shirt is a timely reminder of the club's brush with demotion from the Football League prior to the boom years of the new millennium. When Pools take to the field in League Two next season, they are sure to be wearing something much more elegant, if not quite so endearing. Tom Acey