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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.
Badge 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.
Get with the programme A past match played this week in history
England 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
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)