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10 January 2014 ~

So that's successive 5-0 and 6-0 defeats for West Ham – the kind of consistency you only get from having the 13th highest-paid manager in the world.

Nakhon150Badge of the week ~ Nakhon Pathom United FC, Thailand
As the image on the club crest suggests, Nakhon Pathom is a futuristically designed city in Thailand, imagined and constructed in the mid-20th century to herald a new way for humans to live in large social groups. For a start, the city was subterranean, the entrance being at the base of a high tower constructed in the image of a Prussian infantry helmet. The reason for this is unclear, although the tower's designer was in bed with flu and existing on a diet of gin rickeys and plum duff at the time the plans were sent out.

Inside the proposed city there were many innovations: hawking was permitted in residential areas, although peddling was still frowned upon (the courts were jammed with cases complicated by defendants claiming they thought they were hawking when they were peddling). Animals ran free and had no owners, although you could ask the same dog around for dinner twice.

All work was done by machines, including children's parties, which left humans free to idle on musical instruments and play Kiss Chase. The city centre was, on most evenings, full of people brushing each others' hair. The city went quickly bust and a large part of it was rented out as a fake commercial centre for the use of adulterers and charlatans. Nakhon Pathom use the image to warn their fans against expecting a brighter future, the visual equivalent of West Ham's I'm Forever Blowing BubblesCameron Carter


from Ian Gouldson

"The economy can't be in trouble if people are prepared to pay £195 to find out what Phil Tufnell thinks about football."


from Mark Stephens
"In the moments after his goal against Southampton on December 29, Everton's Seamus Coleman acquired an interesting middle name."



Michael Owen misinterprets a tweet, possibly not for the last time.



from Keith Round

"As befits someone prone to fiddling with his hairstyle, Tim Sherwood has a wide range of Corinthian figures, but none looks anything like him. This one seems to be amalgam of various 1980s popstars."



Also in the news this week
Referee annoyed after Swansea attack breaks down
Rousing message put up in the Macclesfield dressing room ahead of their Cup tie with Sheff Wed
The burden of being a West Ham fan…
…which won't feel any lighter after Roger Johnson's debut


Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Newcastle01-03Newcastle home, 2001-2003

Here's a shirt that'll be remembered more for when it was worn than for what it was: a rather ugly effort whose clunky NTL logo, all purples and greens, took away from the simplicity of the classic black and white stripes. Gone were the days of the Brown Ale sponsor and the granddad collar, and not yet here the mustard/banana vintage of 2009-10.

Fortunately, the players who played in it were not so underwhelming. Alan Shearer was still banging them in. Gary Speed was his dynamic best in the centre, complemented by bright young things Kieron Dyer and Hugo Viana. Nolberto Solano and Laurent Robert on the wings terrified opposition defences and, given their free-kick pedigree, goalkeepers. And a back five including Shay Given and, erm, Titus Bramble meant that, for once, Newcastle were doing all right at the other end.

So too the manager, local hero Bobby Robson, guiding the club to fourth and third place respectively in 2001-02 and 2002-03 as they fought in vain for the Premier League title. But it was the Champions League campaign coinciding with the last year of NTL's sponsorship that was most special. (Much like NTL, Graeme Souness ensured that Newcastle also suffered a near terminal decline from the mid-2000s.) After losing their first three games in Group E to Dynamo Kiev, Feyenoord and Juventus, Newcastle miraculously won the next three, a last-minute Craig Bellamy goal in Rotterdam ensuring their passage through to the second group stage. They'd managed to make a boring kit resplendent.

The next phase was not so successful, heavy defeats coming at the hands of Inter and Barcelona as Newcastle failed to qualify. But the shirt will remain notable, if only because it was the one worn by Shola Ameobi as he scored a lovely side-footed goal at the Nou Camp. Kieran Dodds

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