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2 October 2015 ~
Roy Hodgson hoped to have Jack Grealish training with England, but the request was blocked by Tim Sherwood. "We wanted to induct him into the England way," Hodgson said, which seems to involve a series of attritional wins before being shown up by a technically superior team. A lucky escape for now then.
Badge of the week ~ Al Khabourah SC, Oman
The faint image between the handshake and the football here is a large book. The founders of this club were successful hoteliers and all away teams visiting Al Khabourah traditionally had to sign a Visitors’ Book. The founders brought other service industry practises to the club, including free condiments in the canteen and complimentary biscuits in the dressing room which were not replenished to a satisfactory schedule.
The Visitors’ Book went well for the first few seasons, because these were older, gentler times. A typical entry in the late 1940s reads: “Thank you for allowing us to be beaten at this delightful venue. All of your outfield players were most attentive to us. We shall certainly be back next year!”
However, during the 1960s an element of cynicism and snide crept in, demonstrated by such entries as “I enjoyed my stay at your club, it’s a pity you’re situated in such a nondescript commercial district, otherwise we surely would have found you sooner” and “your goalkeeper is a fat pig”.
Gradually the entries deteriorated and, upon encountering the 20th crudely realised cock and balls, the club secretary removed and archived the book. Nowadays visiting teams are given a website address on which to post any comments and this seems to have done the trick of terminating all feedback entirely. Cameron Carter
"Unstoppably we burn within," says Reading's new anthem. You can take tablets for that.
from Tim Manns
“Either Porto's pitch is smaller than it should be or ITV need to check their method of estimating the distance from ball to goal.”
What was the best last minute overhead kick by a keeper in the FA Cup second qualifying round last week? This one.
A rare opportunity for a Fleetwood Mac-related headline.