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8 May 2009 ~

Roman Abramovich
is said to be furious with Didier Drogba for his sweary outburst on TV after Chelsea's controversial exit from the Champions League. According to the Daily Mail Abramovich is angry that "the image of his club has taken another battering". But what exactly is Chelsea's image? After all, they are a club that has been propelled to the top level of European football by the unlimited funds of their owner, one of the new breed of "businessmen" to emerge following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The players' overweening sense of entitlement, as demonstrated several times before, surely comes from playing for a club that operates outside any normal financial constraints.

Badge of the week
Dunfermline Athletic have a pleasingly Gothic club badge that plays on one's childhood fears while also pushing at the accepted boundaries of architectural design. We are lost here in the Enchanted Wood, among the ancient twisted trees that seem to claw at our sensible knitwear as we pass. All of a sudden, and with memories of our previous life fading, we break into a clearing to encounter a mysterious building that does not appear on the Royal Mail’s post code gazetteer. "Who dwells within?" we ask ourselves, and "Why is there never any network coverage in the Enchanted Wood?" And of course all this time we feel a presence we cannot hear or see. This is the state of mind that Dunfermline's badge plunges us into, weaned as we have been on the florid cruelty of the fairy-tale narrative. As a post script, however, one is forced to ask what architectural Frankenstein designed a structure that is precisely half medieval tower, half modernist steel-and-glass. At least there are no neighbours to complain. Cameron Carter

If you happen to be in London Colney next Friday morning why not drop by at the University College London Athletic Ground where Aidy Boothroyd will be holding a public training session for the England squad ahead of their forthcoming international matches against Norway and Germany. That's the England Writers team whose members include the new Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, who broke his hand in a match against Germany a few weeks ago. We'd have to confess to not having heard of many of these writers. It's nonetheless heartening to see that the notoriously sporty Jeffrey Archer is not involved in any capacity.

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Stoke City home, 1983-85
If a buyer is found for this shirt, it may well be a Port Vale fan with a cruel sense of humour. For this is the garment worn by Stoke during the trauma of 1984-85 when they set a Division One record low points total of just 17 from 42 games. The side included several well known names including England winger Mark Chamberlain, Northern Ireland's Sammy McIlroy and Alan Hudson, who had just returned to the club with whom he won his two England caps in 1975. But they couldn't score – Ian Painter was the top marksman with six goals (including four penalties) – and they endured two separate runs of ten defeats in a row. The unflattering pinstripe looks like a training bib worn over a plain red shirt and may have contributed to the plunging morale. It was dropped after this season.

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

from Ben Cox
"During Aston Villa v Hull on bank holiday Monday, Sky's commentator Alan Parry mentioned the last time the two teams met in the League, a 5-0 victory for the home team in the Second Division in 1988. He then congratulated his co-commentator, Andy Gray, for being on the scoresheet that day and Gray smugly took the credit. Except it wasn't him – it was Andy Gray the English midfielder. Parry then named another scorer that day, fellow Sky pundit Alan McInally. If Gray was unsure whether it was him at first, this would have confirmed it as I don't think the two ever played together. Of course, Gray said nothing to correct Parry – did he really not know, or is this an example of the striker's art of claiming every goal possible, even from a game he didn't play in?"

This week in history ~ Division Four, May 7, 1988


Wolves clinched the championship with their 2-0 win at Leyton Orient. Steve Bull was top scorer with 34 goals. He played for England a year later – only the second time in 30 years that a third-level player had been capped (Peter Taylor at Palace in 1976 being the previous case). Wolves reached the second tier by the end of the following season and haven't been lower than that since.

Alan Curtis scored for Cardiff at Burnley – he had played for Swansea in Division One six years earlier. Despite the team's success, gates were low at Ninian Park although this season's average of 4,389 was one thousand up on the previous year. Cardiff dropped back into Division Four two years later.

Torquay had been in the third automatic promotion slot on the final day but dropped to fifth after losing to Scunthorpe while Bolton, playing their only season at the fourth level, won at Wrexham. Wanderers' player-manager Phil Neal played at left-back in the promotion-clinching match.

One of Hereford's two goalscorers in their win at Hartlepool was striker Phil Stant, playing in his first full season after leaving the army, where he had spent four years after a brief spell at Reading. Noted for a bustling style that often left him red-faced with effort, Stant went on to feature for a further ten clubs, retiring aged 38 in 2001.

Terry Yorath's Swansea, who sneaked into a play-off place with their last-day victory against Darlington, clinched promotion with a 3-3 draw at Torquay in the two-legged final which gave them a 5-4 aggregate win. Their side included former Man Utd midfielder Alan Davies who committed suicide aged 31 in 1992.

Relegated Newport set a Division Four record with their 33rd defeat of the season, 1-0 to Rochdale. Their final line-up included keeper Paul Bradshaw, who had played in Division One with Wolves, and defender Darren Peacock, later with QPR and Newcastle. The club were expelled from the Conference due to bankruptcy in March 1989 and reformed as Newport AFC in the Hellenic League for 1989-90. They changed their name back to "County" ten years later.

from Chris Fyfe
"Before it was amended, Sean Kilgannon's Wikipedia entry was brutally to the point."

WSC Trivia ~ N0 64
The first footballer to be interviewed in WSC was Tony Galvin, whom we arranged to meet at Spurs' training ground in Hertfordshire. He was generous with his time, offered an insight into what fellow Spurs players thought of football zines ("they're bit wary of people taking the mickey out of them") and even gave us a lift back to the station. The interview appeared in WSC 5 (December 1986) but was spoiled somewhat by our using a big picture of Tony's team-mate Paul Miller by mistake. Well, they were both tall with dark hair.

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Antonin Panenka, Czechoslovakia Panini Euro 80
As Dimitar Berbatov may now be aware, it's all very well to appear casual about taking a penalty but you had better score. Berbatov's missed kick in the FA Cup semi-final shootout wasn't the first time that a player has looked a fool in such circumstances. Nor was it the most pressurised occasion in which a soft dink has been attempted. The king of the dinkers is Antonin Panenka whose winning spot-kick for Czechoslovakia in the 1976 European Championship final may be the greatest penalty ever. Panenka simply waited for German keeper Sepp Maier to rush forward and lofted the ball over him – here he is discussing it (subtitled in Norwegian for those who don't understand Czech).

The epitome of the midfield stroller, Panenka's Euro 76 medal was the only thing he won while playing in Czechoslovakia where he spent his career with modest Bohemians Prague – they became league champions for the first time three years after he'd left for Rapid Vienna. He played his last major game, aged 35, for Rapid in the 1985 European Cup-Winners Cup final against Everton. Panenka is now president of Bohemians 1905, a breakaway team set up by fans when the club nearly went bankrupt in 2005. (Confusingly, the "official" Bohemians were promoted to the first division in 2008, by-passing the supporters' team who dropped down in the second.) Nice moustache.

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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

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