2014

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
12 December 2014 ~

Among the five matches chosen by the BBC and BT Sport for the live FA Cup third round games are Everton v West Ham and Arsenal v Hull. The clubs will welcome those match fees of £144,000, which will make a major contribution towards the weekly pay packet of one, or possibly even two, players.

---


Cham150Badge of the week ~ SC Cham, Switzerland
Mention the Dancing Mouse to anyone in the canton of Zug, Switzerland and their face will betray a strange and childish delight, even if they’re a dentist. This is because every child growing up in this part of the country is told the story of the Dancing Mouse and, in particular, the Dancing Mouse’s habit of dancing. The Dancing Mouse had other habits (eating excrement, scurrying around in sewers) but the one that really captured the public’s imagination was the dancing.

If you were very lucky and very good, it was said, you might discover the Dancing Mouse in the act of dancing, on a night of a wild and glowing moon, in the darkest depths of the forest. Alternatively, if you weren’t particularly lucky or good, you might discover him eating excrement by a storm drain in the commercial district. Whosever saw the Dancing Mouse in the act of dancing, it was said would encounter great good fortune and wealth or at the very least manage a small chemists.

Those who encountered him just after the dancing, however, reported him as grouchy and eager to get away. Whatever his faults, the Dancing Mouse of Zug canton represents a careless joie de vivre that is wholly reflected in SC Cham’s football and Christmas parties. Cameron Carter

---

from Phil Ball

“Good to see Athletic Bilbao contributing to the agricultural sector of the economy in the Basque Country.

Farm400

---

In the Sun’s report on the Christmas party brawl between QPR and Crystal Palace, Charlie Austin is merely an “unnamed man”. His agent should complain about that.

Austin400

Meanwhile the QPR squad need to work on their lip-synching.

---

It's amazing how a Cup draw can change the FA's views on what's "in the wider interests of football".

Wimbledon400

---

from Duncan Nisbet

“A punning start to the Mirror’s report on Arsenal’s victory at Galatasaray. Not good exactly but the effort should be acknowledged.”

Arsenal300

---

Also in the news this week
Steaua Bucharest lose their identity
José Mourinho, of all people, complains about time-wasting
Ben Foster’s scary double

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
5 December 2014 ~

The FA have unveiled their "England DNA programme". "[It's] a start point for the creation of a world-class approach to elite player development," according to a spokesperson. From what we understand it involves transplanting the DNA of German, Italian and Spanish players into English teenagers. Has to be worth a try.

---


Salal150Badge of the week ~ Umm Salal SC, Qatar
There were no European visitors to Qatar until the early 1920s, partly because of a strict immigration policy by its rulers and partly because no one from outside was sure of the correct way to pronounce Qatar. There were at least four variations on the wireless. Responding to travellers’ attempts at the checkpoint to name the country they wished to enter, the border guards had perfected through training a lip quiver denoting suppressed amusement which generally put people off a second attempt.

Thus did Qatar keep its myriad secrets. One of which was the Rocking Sand Palace of Umm Salal. Built on giant rockers of acacia wood by an eccentric sheik, who in later life pioneered the indoor balcony, the Rocking Sand Palace was admired far and wide, within Qatar, for its imperious otherness. However, when anyone actually lived in it, they found they fell asleep soon after sitting down owing to the continual rocking motion.

This debilitating habit was directly responsible for the so-called Long Weekend War of 1931 with Saudi Arabia, when the then Emir fell asleep while looking over an ultimatum from his opposite number giving Qatar two hours to remove all of their military operatives from Saudi swing ensembles. The palace is used as a symbol in the country for episodes of magnificent vision swiftly followed by the need for a nice lie down. Cameron Carter

---

from Neil Rose
“The recent news about the next Star Wars film provides a perfect way to introduce a report on Luton v Mansfield.”

---

David Moyes tries out some Spanish. A fair way to go yet.

---

Christians blast Phil Neville. They’ll be picketing his house next.

---

from Phil Town

“A photo of Carlos Mozer, Brazil and Benfica central defender from the 1980s and 1990s makes an unexpected appearance as a 'Wanted' poster in German cop series Tatort.”

Mozer300

---

"It almost grew with me." Michael Owen talks cars (you may need a pot of coffee to get through to the end).

---

Also in the news this week
Massimo Cellno is disqualified from owning Leeds, for now
Meanwhile, Leeds’ Adryan seems to have ruptured himself
Free kick of the week, in Leverkusen’s win over Cologne
Nearly matched by seven-year-old Shane Kluivert, son of Patrick

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
21 November 2014 ~

Malky Mackay left Cardiff following a falling out with the club's owner Vincent Tan, after which it turned out that he had sent and received a variety of offensive text messages. The reported comments made yesterday by his latest employer, Wigan's Dave Whelan, suggests that Mackay in unlikely to have a similar bust-up in his new job.

---


Stand150Badge of the week ~ Stand United, Tanzania
When Stand United were formed in 2012, the club’s owners showed they meant business by acquiring the very latest model of team coach on the market. The Silvikrin 425 was the shiniest and fastest team coach in the whole of the country, inviting awe and wonder wherever it travelled. The coach boasted 54 seats upholstered in the team’s livery, a toilet, a courier seat and air-conditioning. As added features for this special one-off purchase, it also included a wet room and a French dancing master.

Unfortunately, the coach, though admired by all, became a bit like Stand United’s Technicolour Dream Coach, in that other teams grew envious and talked about Stand United behind their backs, plotting to deprive them of their glorious form of transport. And indeed one day, as the coach turned into the car park outside the ground of Mtibwa Sugar FC, a mob attacked, pulling the team out of the vehicle and selling them to a Pharoah (as stated on Wikipedia, citation needed). The coach itself is still used as an icon symbolising beauty and pride of possession and speeds of up to 90 mph. Cameron Carter

---

from Simon Treanor

“This was definitely the highlight of the international break.”

Low500

---

Sometimes you just can’t be bothered. Turkey’s goalkeeper Volkan Demirel, who plays for Galatasaray, reacts to barracking from fans of rival clubs by asking to be substituted before the recent Euro qualifier against Kazakstan.

---

WSC readers strongly dislike mashed potatoes according to the YouGov profile.

---

Glenn Hoddle looks uneasy as Slaven Bilic explains how flares can be brought into grounds.

---

Evesham Utd show off their extensive honours – and other assorted football mugs.

Evesham400

---

Also in the news this week
Half-time drinks affect scoreline
Tim Lovejoy still exerts an influence, apparently
Mikael Forssell trapped in house by cat

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
14 November 2014 ~

Speaking about the report into FIFA corruption, FA chairman Greg Dyke said: "The whole of the way football operates at that sort of level is suspect and has been for many years." Fans of Wimbledon, Portsmouth, Leeds and countless others might say the same about some organisations a little closer to home.

---


Delhi150aBadge of the week ~ Delhi Dynamos, India
The creators of Delhi Dynamos’ badge have ambitiously produced a three-way optical illusion. Bridge Too Far Design, the company responsible for the image, have a reputation in India for designs that, while ambitious, often fail to communicate meaning in the most direct manner. Their poster for The Indian Meat Company, for example, showing a goat in an apron hunting for a table-tennis ball was too oblique for the CEO and was withdrawn from circulation after two weeks.

It is perhaps a coincidence that one of the talents at Bridge Too Far is the grandson of the man behind the Egg Marketing Board’s 1970s poster “E For B and Charlie George”. Which absolutely no one understood. The first possible interpretation of the Dynamos image here, scanning left to right, is a reckless two-footed challenge by a competitive midfielder. Alternatively, one might see a Delhi Dynamos rocket launching from right to left. The club’s full nickname is The Tackles Or Rockets, as in: “Come Onnnn You Tackles-Or-Rockets”. Cameron Carter

---

from Paul Olsen
“Surprising information from Bob Mills’ column in the Metro this week. Neither Peter Harris nor Tom Finney will have been pleased to be overlooked for England in favour of a young up-and-coming actor.”

Finney400

---

from Nick Dunmore

“I’m reading Stuart Pearce's autobiography (Psycho) at the moment, and the entry for his wife is a spectacular and illuminating account of their marriage.”

Pearce400

---

Non League Dogsbecause dogs like watching football too.

Dogs300

---

Also in the news this week
A fifty-yard own goal in the Bundesliga
Zlatan fools a PSG physio

Jimmy Bullard all set to eat grubs

A startling offer from Wembley

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
7 November 2014 ~

Since being suggested as England's candidate to be FIFA vice-president, Rio Ferdinand has been banned for three matches by the FA for an offensive tweet. Now he will have more free time to concentrate on lobbying for his vital new role.

---


CuracaoBadge of the week ~ Curacao
The national team of Curacao is represented traditionally by the Pregnant Women’s Floating Choir of Curacao. A very important institution on the island, it was, arguably, the first floating choir in the Caribbean. The choir was formed in 1848, the year that Curacao’s military dictator banned choirs as they were breeding grounds for dissent and malicious gossip, not to mention the fact that he was irritated by how wide they opened their mouths when singing in public, and it became immediately illegal to assemble for the purpose of singing, punishable by one year in prison or 24 hours with a song-and-dance man.

And yet the people wanted to sing – they had to sing – partly to praise God and His creation and partly to avoid talking to each other. Then one day, while the military dictator was relaxing in his private chambers, he heard drifting to him through the twilight the harmonious strains of a well-known folk song, clearly performed by a small group of people.



Furious, he ordered the offenders to be arrested, but his secret police immediately ran into legal difficulties making the arrest when they encountered three pregnant women on a jolly-boat. Not being on land, the women were safe from prosecution and when they continued to sing with their mouths not ostentatiously wide open, they won over the dictator and he repudiated the ban. From that day, the Pregnant Women’s Floating Choir has represented the potential strength of the people through organisation, especially with the backing of sound legal advice. Cameron Carter

---

from John Dewhirst
“From a travelling stall in Lister Park, Bradford in August. We can assume that it’s not been to Norfolk.”

Nowrich400

---

If you are in need a customised Vauxhall van, David James is selling his to help clear a bankruptcy.

---

from Paul Sandham
"I don’t know what’s more surprising about the Anderson fridge magnet on sale on Ebay – that it’s described as a ‘top selling product’ or that two people have actually bought one.”

---

Cristiano Ronaldo and his underpants cake. This will be flying off the shelves at Christmas.

RonPants400

---

The new Indian Super League generates worldwide attention – for the worst shot of the year.

---

Also in the news this week
A ghost goal in Belgium

Leon Osman: rapper

How to describe a boring game

Liverpool fans do the plane banner thing

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
31 October 2014 ~

It's the Manchester derby this weekend. United, in eighth place, go to City, who are hoping to avoid a third successive defeat. It's just like the 1980s again.

---


ASC150Badge of the week ~ ASC Montsinéry-Tonnegrande, French Guiana
On the Montsinéry-Tonnegrande border, many years ago, a new settler arrived bringing with him in one suitcase all his worldly possessions. His other-worldly possessions, an angel’s tear and a dry-cleaning ticket once in the possession of Baudelaire, were in a lock-up in Le Havre.

Nearing the newly created mining settlement where he hoped to make his fortune, the traveller found a tumultuous river barring his way. Recklessly entering the river, he was immediately swept downstream for ten miles, finally drifting to a halt in thick rushes outside the next village where, philosophically accepting his lot, he set up in business as a drifting instructor. Meanwhile his suitcase was pulled out by an inhabitant of the mining settlement upstream, triggering the first ever luggage auction.

The winning bidder took home three lots of Frenchman’s clothing and was known thereafter as “Le Francais” and also “Monsieur Le Vêtements”. From that day, Montsinéry-Tonnegrande became the world centre of luggage auctions and, by extension, fist fights. Cameron Carter

---

from Steve Morgan
“Checking out mug shots of Premier League referees on their official website, I was drawn to this picture of Stuart Attwell, giver of the infamous 'ghost goal' in the game between Reading and Watford in 2007. Is this a spooky portent of some horrid karmic fate awaiting him on All Souls' Eve, or have people at the Premier League got more of a sense of humour than we thought?”

---

“It is possible that this page may have been edited by Fraser himself.” Wikipedia suspects excessive self-promotion.

---

Sign of the times at Old Trafford.

Dogs400

---

Also in the news this week
Goalline clearance of the season so far
CSKA Sofia coach claims to have been knocked out by a snowball
Pep Guardiola is rebuffed

---

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

Forest v FCZ 67Nottingham Forest v FC Zurich Inter-Cities Fairs’ Cup, second round, first leg, October 31, 1967
European football was still a novelty to most teams, and this was just Forest’s third tie on the continental stage – they’d lost to Valencia in 1961 in the ICFC (soon to be rechristened as the less unwieldy UEFA Cup), but hammered Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0 on aggregate in the first round of this year’s competition. “The manner in which we set about defeating Frankfurt in the last round here in Nottingham is the kind of performance we must put up here tonight,” explains the programme’s opening column, back in the days when football writers went to quaintly delicate lengths to express themselves.

But their opponents from the City of Gnomes were no slouches, featuring the greatest Swiss player of all time, Jakob “Kobi” Kuhn, and fresh from having knocked out Barcelona 3-2 over two games. Although Forest edged the first leg 2-1 with goals from Henry Newton and a penalty from Ian Storey-Moore, a single Christian Winiger goal in the return leg at the Letzigrund two weeks later sealed it for the Swiss. They went on to beat Sporting in the third round, but fell to Dundee at the quarter-final stage. That Dundee lost to eventual winners Leeds reflects not just the competition’s strength at that time, but a more egalitarian balance in domestic football across Europe.

The magazine makes a touching (but ham-fisted) stab at hospitality with a welcoming note in German to the visitors, and lays on a programme of music that must have magically transported the City Ground faithful from a dark, autumnal east Midlands evening to the peaks and lakes of the spectacular Alps. Numbers included To the Spitzing Lake, There is a House on the Mountain, At Dux My Beautiful Valley, and Nazi Gold Stored Beneath Our Streets (I may have made one of these up).  

The programme editors were obviously literary predecessors of Milan Kundera, who later wrote that a man who chooses to be blind towards coincidence in his daily life “thereby deprives his life of a dimension of beauty”. Why else would they devote a paragraph to telling us: “Coincidence is in the fact that the draw for the first round of the Inter-City Fairs Cup was made in Frankfurt and we were drawn to meet them in the first round. The Second Round draw was made in Zurich and we were paired with that city’s club.” Who needs the valley at Dux when you’ve got administratively generated beauty like that?

Targeting the fan demographic “The new Nottingham Forest souvenir carpet, a beautiful production, can now be obtained. It depicts Robin Hood and the Coat of Arms, with players in Forest colours.” £5 19s. 6d. Why has no Premier League team copied this brilliant merchandising idea?

Result Forest 2 (Newton, Storey-Moore) FCZ 1 (Künzli)
Crowd 32,896
Forest Grummitt, Hindley, Winfield, Hennessey, McKinlay, Newton, Lyons, Barnwell, Baker, Wignall, Storey-Moore
FC Zürich Grob, Münch, Kyburz, Leimgruber, Neumann, Trivellin, Winiger, Martinelli, Künzli, Kuhn, Meyer
Ian Plenderleith

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
30 October 2014 ~

This time of year is packed with traditions: people complaining about colder weather, Halloween, the clocks going back. Football's equivalent to these hardy perennials involves Neil Warnock getting into trouble with the authorities. Sure enough, Neil has just received his first misconduct charge of the season. It's like he's never been away.

---
Gostivar150Badge of the week ~ KF Gostivar, Macedonia
The summerhouse played an important part in 19th and 20th century Macedonian culture. The most famous fictional detective from Macedonia, Bogdan Adrijan Illianovic Petkov (known simply to his wife, friends and colleagues as Bogdan Adrijan Illianovic) begins his first case as a detective when he encounters a body in a summerhouse. Petkov’s special idiosyncrasy is a partiality for urinating outdoors, hence he is the first at a house party to find the victim.

Many Macedonians will be able to recite the following piece of dialogue from memory:

Petkov: "There is a body in the summerhouse!"

Dmitri: "Are you sure?"

Petkov: "I have never been so sure of anything in my life."

Alicia: "What about when you said the moon had fallen from the sky?"

Petkov: "I don’t know why you’ve brought that up. And at a social gathering."

In actual fact it’s the first three lines of the dialogue that are the most famous but the point is that summerhouses were places of drama, romance and intrigue in Macedonia for several generations, until replaced in this role by McDonald's car parks. Cameron Carter

---

A Halloween story a week early in east Lancashire.

---

from Sam Smith

“Is it just me, or is this a curiously Biblical headline from the BBC Sport website?”

Monk160

---

Simon Anders

“It has been said that Ed Woodward was muttering something sweary about a waste of money during the West Brom v Man Utd game, but I think it’s ‘where’s the pudding?’ – a reflection of his disappointment with the half-time catering at The Hawthorns.”

---

from Steve Morgan

“It's going to be a real dogfight to avoid relegation from the Championship this season, if this league table from the Evening Standard of October 20 is anything to go by. There's virtually nothing to choose between the bottom seven sides, in fact.”

Table400

---

Also in the news this week
An ominous shirt sponsor
Referee fails to spot a judo throw
Roma’s Rudi García doesn’t want his picture taken

---

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

AccStan99Accrington Stanley home, 1998-99
After a season of mediocrity on the field and managerial instability off it, Stanley looked forward to a fresh start in 1998-99. New manager, new shirt, new sponsor, new badge, surely a new assault on promotion to the Conference? Securing a big company such as Asda as shirt sponsors seemed like a coup, and although no one had heard of manufacturers Crown Sports, their repetition of their corporate logo down the sleeves aped Man City's Kappa kit of the same time.

The abandonment of the town crest badge and motto met with mixed reaction; although the new one mimicked Aldershot's, the Latin proclaimed “Behold I will rise again”. In truth, we had not seen “Industry and Prudence Conquer” as promised by the old badge, but neither did we rise again. The team finished bottom of the Unibond Premier League, and were relegated for the first time since re-forming. The club reverted to the old badge the following year. Crown Sports disappeared whence it came. Asda vanished from the shirts. And, behold, we rose again, being promoted back as champions; we were to reach the Football League six years later. Ian Plumbley

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
17 October 2014 ~

The report commissioned by FIFA into alleged corruption in the World Cup bidding process is being delayed. "I now have the task of drawing up this appropriate form for publication," said Ethics Committee chair Hans-Joachim Eckert. It's rumoured that this will involve one sheet of paper saying "We are not guilty" in several dozen languages.

---
Zakho150Badge of the week ~ Zakho FC, Iraq
There was a dearth of graphic designers in Iraq at the time that Zakho FC were formed. Five years earlier, Saddam Hussein had ruled that anyone who created pictures for pleasure or profit was just as dangerous as an artist and almost as annoying as an interpretive dancer.

You could, of course, find graphic designers if you knew the right people. Introductions were made between them and potential clients through middlemen in flats rented for the purpose, although this became harder after the Wedding Invitation purges of 1981, when one of Saddam's nephews received an over-designed invitation to his friend's wedding and reported the incident to his uncle. As a direct result, over 1,000 people simply disappeared. On the positive side, 200 people suddenly appeared, at a beach barbecue. So it wasn't all gloom and doom.

Zarkho FC, like most institutions of this dark era, simply used an old postcard for their crest. It's quite a nice idea if you think about it. If British clubs used old postcards, Southend could have a picture of their pier, Derby could have one of the Peak District and Spurs could have a street shot of Chester's Chicken on Tottenham High Road. Cameron Carter

---

from Phil Town

"Santos striker Leandro Damião finds a novel way to try to get a penalty."

---

Franck Ribéry launches the official Bayern Munich cookbook.

---

Taunting gestures can rebound on you, as Layvin Kurzawa of France Under-21s found out when opponents Sweden scored a late winner in a Euro play-off.

---

Also in the news this week
Bolton hat ban
Gareth Southgate is moderately triumphant
Mayhem in Belgrade after an Albanian flag is flown across the pitch

---

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

EnglandvFinland84England v Finland World Cup Qualifier, Group 3, October 17, 1984
It's little wonder that a cerebral football genius like Bobby Robson held the top coaching position in the country. "We have to take every game as it comes," he wrote in his programme notes to this Mexico 86 qualifying campaign opener, "because you can only pick up your points one match at a time." This is the real reason that Brian Clough never got the England job. "How many points for a win, Brian?" FA chairman Bert Millichip asked him at the interview. Clough famously replied: "Well, Bert, I'd guess it's a dozen or two, right?"  

Despite his insistence on taking one match at a time, Robson nonetheless set a "reasonable target" of 12 points out of a possible 16 to qualify ahead of Finland, Romania, Turkey and Northern Ireland, and that's exactly how many England ended up with. This 5-0 win was followed by an 8-0 shellacking of Turkey in Istanbul a month later. Mark Hateley scored two of his eventual nine international goals tonight, while Kenny Sansom notched his sole England goal in 86 appearances. But although Robson wrote that "I do not envisage many changes occurring between now and 1986", Hateley and his strike partner Tony Woodcock had been usurped by Gary Lineker and Peter Beardsley by the time the team finally found their form in Mexico (Woodcock didn't even make the squad).

Manager Robson felt, meanwhile, that his captain Bryan Robson and Ray Wilkins "would walk into any side in the world". Absolutely true in the case of Wilkins, who rarely moved beyond walking pace throughout his professional career. Again, it was only once Robson (injured) and the lacklustre Wilkins (sent off) were forced out of the team in Mexico that England start playing. Robson didn't so much build a relatively successful young team as have it thrust upon him.  

The programme is a solid, if unspectacular, read from an age when articles thankfully focused on little else but the game and the opponents. A comprehensive guide to Finnish football by Jack Rollin stumbles only when he points out that "ironically their ‘finishing' let them down in a number of games". Two of Finland's part-timers, meanwhile, were janitors, yet Rollin somehow resists the temptation to wonder if they sweep up at the back and lock up the Finnish goal. Just as well, given the result.

Targeting the fan demographic "Kick off with Kansallis. When it comes to international banking, there is one Finnish team that always wins." Now with a branch in the City of London! You can barely begin to imagine how thrilled the Wembley faithful were to read this news.

Result England 5 (Hateley 2, Woodcock, Sansom, Robson) Finland 0
Crowd 47,234
England Shilton, Wright, Sansom, Butcher, Duxbury (Stevens), Robson (Chamberlain), Williams, Wilkins, Barnes, Hateley, Woodcock
Finland Huttunen, Lahtinen, Haaskivi (Turunen), Petaja, Ikalainen, Ukkonen, Rautiainen. Pekonen, Hautsonen, Kymalainen, Valvee (Hjelm)
Ian Plenderleith

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
10 October 2014 ~

After their byelection defeat to UKIP in Clacton last night good news is on the horizon for the Tories. Sol Campbell says he is ready to talk to them to help win the "black vote". "If I am a consultant for the government then you can do your stuff but not be left with nowhere to manoeuvure," he said. We've no idea what that means – he's talking like a politician already.

---
Nicolaas150Badge of the week ~ FC San Nicolaas Juniors, Aruba
Saint Nicholas, unofficially canonised in the Middle Ages, is the patron saint of Christmas and storm drains. Everyone knows of course that he is the patron saint of Christmas because, as a young man, he would secretly leave gifts outside poor people's homes – not necessarily what they wanted, but it's so difficult to buy for people isn't it, and this was as true then as it is now.

Saint Nicholas's association with storm drains is more recent and involves a story of a young boy who lived on the Caribbean island of Aruba and had only one gold coin to spend on his old mother for Christmas. Unfortunately, on his way to the island's shop (Bartholomew's General Stores, Dentist and Casino) he dropped the coin and watched in horror as it rolled erratically towards a storm drain. Unable to retrieve it, the boy wept quietly where he knelt. An old man stopped on seeing the distraught child and spoke to him thus: "Pull yourself together. It's embarrassing. You must be nearly 14. Embarrassing."

The boy stopped weeping, rose to his feet and that very afternoon started his own door-to-door insurance business, selling policies to the older, more fearful island inhabitants that covered them in the event of an attack by Russia. He was a millionaire by the time he was 20 and is a personal friend of Elton John. Cameron Carter

---

from Keith Blackwell

"Good to see that a keeper is held to be blameless in a 22-0 defeat but I'm prepared to guess that he got his angles wrong for at least one of them."

---

from Stuart Findlay
"Spotted these wet wipes in my mate's local South Korean convenience store recently. Manchester Utd's bid for world domination continues…"

ManUtdWet400

---

October 8 was a slow news day in Liverpool.

---

Who says British players lack technique?

---

from Andrew Holme
"From the blurb for the London Sports Writing Festival. Is this Jimmy Bullard's title now? A little presumptuous if so."

Bullard400

---

Also in the news this week
Newcastle fans and the language of defeat
Mourinho gets an overdue shove
Radamel Falcao has a talking parrot

A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
3 October 2014 ~

Hull City owner Assem Allam says he will not spend any more money on the club unless the FA allow him to change their name to Hull Tigers. If this threat doesn't work he will refuse to eat his dinner and then hold his breath until he passes out. That'll teach them.

---
RubinBadge of the week ~ FK Rubin Kazan, Russia
The Chicken Dragon features in a Russian tale that is repeated in anthologies with certain minor variations, but generally features a woodcutter who is so poor he cannot afford an axe and is forced to chop down trees using only a sharpened stick. Naturally his output drops and other woodcutters overtake him until he is forced to sell his two young daughters to a childless baron, although there were those in the area who felt he might have sold one of his horses or some furniture and possessions first or maybe just missed a few Friday night hog roasts.

When the Chicken Dragon hears about the affair he flies into a rage and the sky is darkened by his enormous wings as he hovers over the baron's house. The baron does not fear the monstrous figure above him because he has his own personal fire-extinguishing team who live on his property and a ready supply of water. Instead he taunts the Chicken Dragon by laughing at him and showing him the back of his knees (a terrible insult in the region).

The Chicken Dragon surprises everyone by dropping a massive egg on the arrogant nobleman, killing him instantly (most had forgotten the chicken-based capabilities of the creature because only his legs were a chicken's and no one really looked at those). To this day in Russia, the Chicken Dragon is a cultural signifier of Justice and Annoyance At Being Laughed At. Cameron Carter

---

From Danny Last
"Can someone reset Crewe Alexandra's conveyor belt of talent? Have they really lost 78 games this season?"

Crewe300

---

From Chris Hill
"Not that many footballers have had songs dedicated to them. But Brazilian Robson Ponte clearly impressed during his time in Germany, prompting techno producer Reinhard Voigt to pen this (slightly repetitive) tribute."

---

Oldham's Connor Brown was only born in 1991 but it's still a surprise that he thinks Steve Bruce captained England in the 1966 World Cup.

Oldham450

---

This may be the most excited anyone has got about the Finnish third division lately. FC Santa Claus (from Lapland) seal promotion with an injury-time goal.

---

Also in the news this week
Roy blanks José
Sol Campbell, angry mansion-dweller
Man City tempt fate ahead of their Champions League match with Roma

Sign up to the WSC Weekly Howl - a small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday