A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
1 May 2009 ~


Roy Keane
got off to a winning start as Ipswich manger at Cardiff last week. Following his surprise appointment, he demanded that his players match the standards he himself set. So Ipswich fans can expect a spate of revenge tackles and players storming out when they don't get their way.

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Badge of the week
Fortuna Sittard play in the Eerste Divisie (bit of Dutch for you there) and appear to have a much more imaginative outlook than most teams. Their badge tells a story of classical antiquity that has one yearning to know more about the mysterious woman in evening dress with the horn. As if she were not alluring enough wandering around in a snow-white asymmetric ditsy, she is carrying a giant football as if to say: "I am the type of girl who likes wandering about with my hair streaming in the breeze and I also like a game of football. And I also have a conch." I cannot think of many heterosexual men who would not warm to this figure pronto. To my mind, the wheel in the background is a superfluous addition, cluttering up the picture somewhat. It could of course denote something in the woman's historical background that has left sadness forever in her eyes, like a freak accident at Horse Driving trials prior to the 1980 Olympics. She is an absolute enigma, beautiful and fascinating. The only criticism of her possibly is that she could declutter. Cameron Carter

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from Graham Menzies
"It's well known that there was a gaffe in the presentations made to the two FA Cup finalists in 1992 with Sunderland, beaten 2-0 by Liverpool, being given the winners' medals. Their striker John Byrne was interviewed on TV directly afterwards declaring that he wasn't going to give 'his' medal back, upon which he ran off with it down the players' tunnel. So was the swap ever done? I'm reminded of the story of Mike McLeod, who finished third in the 10,000 metres at the 1984 Olympics but was upgraded when the silver medallist, Martti Vainio of Finland, failed a drugs test. But Vainio refused to return his medal and McLeod was never give a replacement. There may be a Liverpool player from that final who has a gap in the big display case in his lounge where a 1992 Cup winners' medal should be. If there is, I hope it's Mark Wright (never cared for him)."

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Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Wrexham goalkeeper 1978-79
As squad numbers weren't used by Football League clubs for another 20 years, this Adidas goalkeeper's shirt is likely to have been worn by 19-year-old Eddie Niedzwiecki as he sat on the subs' bench for Wrexham's European Cup-Winners Cup tie against NK Rijeka of the then Yugoslavia. Wrexham lost the first match 3-0 but nearly clawed back the deficit with a 2-0 victory at the Racecourse Ground. Their first-choice keeper at the time was Dai Davies who had Division One experience with Everton and later returned there with Swansea. Eddie Niedzwiecki became Wrexham's number one in 1981-82 before moving to Chelsea and is currently on the coaching staff at Man City.

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

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from Lee Gale
"About a month ago, me and my two toddler sons were on our usual 9.30am nature trail to the shops in Wimbledon when we came across a man in the street with his hands on his head, looking distressed. He made a bee-line for me and asked: 'Is there a locksmith nearby?' I nodded: 'About a 15-minute walk from here at the other side of the train station.' He explained that he didn't know the area well, had just moved to the millionaires' pile the next road along, and was locked out of his house. Oddly, he then blurted out: 'I'm Mark Dennis, the assistant manager at Brentford football club!'

I studied him carefully. He did look incredibly like Mark Dennis, the ex-Southampton and Birmingham City left-back, with a hangover. To prove his identity, I asked him to name the England Under-21 games he'd played in. I knew one of them was against the USSR away in Moscow because I used to write all these facts down in a notepad. 'Err,' he said, 'Spain... Portugal... Russia...' So I gave him a tenner. He said he'd memorise my address (not a good sign – 'I jog past your street,' he said), promised to pay me back £40, which was a bit strange, and said he'd also give me four free tickets to a Brentford game – which I didn't really want, because I haven't the time and I'm a Donny fan anyway. The return of the tenner was all I required and possibly sincere thanks for being so trusting.

Back home, I Googled 'Mark Dennis Brentford assistant manager' and nothing came up. Can anyone help? Is Mark Dennis bankrupt and pretending to be a Brentford employee, pouncing on men in their mid- to late-30s who’d remember his face from their Panini albums? And do you think I’ll ever get my £10 back?"

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from Mark Stephens
"The Wikipedia entry for ex-Forest and Villa midfielder Garry Parker includes news of a mysterious and under-publicised sportswriters' poll."



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WSC Trivia ~ N0 63
The previous WSC office was on the ground floor of a business centre, near a main road. So we'd often get unwanted visitors ringing the doorbell. "Here's a bargain, chief," said a middle-aged man one day, holding up a pair of scissors in a shrink-wrapped pack and an alarm clock. "We're selling these for charity." He doesn't seem to have a box with him, just these two items. We don't need any. He's not put off. "I'll let you have them cheap." Nope. We hear him move on to next door. "Here's a bargain, love..." Doorbell, two weeks later. It's same man. "Scrap metal, chief?" Not sure if he's buying or selling. We decline. "Fair dos." On to next door. Is this the enterprise culture? If so, we’re not doing it right.

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Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Tasmania Berlin Bundesliga 1965-66
It's fitting that this team photo seems to have been taken when some of the players weren't ready. Tasmania Berlin remain the worst, albeit unluckiest, team ever to play at the top level in a major European league. West Berlin's top club, Hertha, had been forcibly relegated at the end of 1964-65 for making illegal payments to players. But the authorities wanted to keep a team from the city in the national football league to emphasise that it was still part of West Germany after the construction of the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Regionalliga was then one of the five second divisions which sent teams into a promotion mini-league. With Berlin champions Tennis Borussia having already failed in the play-offs, a Bundesliga place was offered to runners-up Spandauer SV who declined, then to third-placed Tasmania who accepted. They had been a successful side for several years and had taken part in the 1964 play-offs in which they'd beaten Bayern Munich. Now, however, they had less than six weeks in which to assemble a competitive team. It started well with a crowd of 81,000 in the Olympic Stadium to see victory over Karlsruhe. But the team, which contained only one established player, veteran ex-international midfielder Horst Szymaniak, was clearly out of its depth. They won only one more game, in the penultimate round of matches, and set a series of Bundesliga records that are unlikely ever to be broken including the lowest home crowd (827 v Mönchengladbach) the most losses (28 out of 34) and the most goals conceded (108). Tasmania recovered quite well from this humiliation and were among the top clubs in the Berlin Regionalliga for several years before going bankrupt in 1973. A successor club, now called SV Tasmania-Gropiusstadt 1973, currently play in the seventh level Landesliga Staffel 1.

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League table courtesy of statto.com: the place to go for football stats & odds comparison – English & Scottish stats from 1871 plus European & International

Thanks to John Stephens and Paul Joyce

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