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5 June 2009 ~

It used to be said that players issued a "come and get me plea" when they wanted a move to a certain team. Ex-Villa defender Gary Cahill is clearly angling for a return to his former club. This would be the obvious explanation for why he "scythed down" his old team-mate Gareth Barry in an England practice match in Kazakhstan and refused to apologise. A range of Gary Cahill merchandise goes on sale in the Villa club shop on Monday.

Badge of the week
This is the trouble when you ask a temp to do something quickly. Clearly, at the time of devising a new crest to rebrand Deportivo Alavés with something that might represent the history and aspirations of the town and its people, there was a lot of sickness and annual leave in the office and the young lad from the agency was asked to come up with something. Perhaps not a big football fan himself, he has searched for the word "flag" in clip art and then clocked off for lunch. We must then assume that he found full-time employment elsewhere and his five minutes of work was subsequently mistaken as the finished product. As a consequence the Alavés club crest looks like the winning entry for a Blue Peter competition in the 6-11 age group. Which only makes it harder for the inspirational half-time team talk when 3-0 down in a relegation six-pointer: "Go out there and play for the badge. You have a fluttery little clip-art street flag on your chest – always remember that" (sound of team clip-clopping back out, unsynchronised shouting and thumping of dressing-room door). It simply wouldn't wash. On the other hand, "You are fit to wear the badge" would be an entirely appropriate chant from the terraces on a bad day. Cameron Carter

If Bryan Robson wasn't already employed as a global ambassador by Man Utd it's possible that his old mate Steve Bruce might find some work for him at Sunderland. After all, as his autobiography Robbo explains, he played a major role in Bruce moving from Norwich to Man Utd in 1988: "When we had problems with injuries in the middle of our defence, the boss decided he needed to bring in another centre-half. I like to think I helped him find his man. I used to go through the players' marks in the People newspaper and I said to the gaffer: 'That lad at Norwich, Bruce, always seems to get star ratings, has anyone looked at him?'" That's the sort of common sense you can't pick up at fancy FA coaching courses..

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Crystal Palace home 1990-91
Crystal Palace used to wear the claret and light-blue combination that is almost unique to English football – Trabzonspor of Turkey are the only notable overseas team to have adopted it. Palace had persisted with these colours in various styles, including pinstripes and halves, for most of their history until 1973-74. At that point manager Malcolm Allison suggested they adopt a red-and-blue striped shirt based on Barcelona's strip. The new look didn't help – the club went down to Division Three that year – and was quickly jettisoned in favour of white shirts with a red-and-blue diagonal, derived from Barça's away kit of the time (although that had involved yellow shirts). The stripes returned to Palace in the late 1980s and have been worn ever since, with a few tweaks including an unpopular move to hooped sleeves in 2003-04. This broad-striped shirt was worn by the Palace team that finished in their highest ever League position, third in the old Division One in 1990-91. That was the sort of thing that happened in the last century.

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

from Kevin Borras
"I reneged on my promise to stop sending in amusing cup competition names a while ago so I don't feel too bad about submitting one last one. How about: The Cambrian Tyres Aberystwyth & District League Len & Julia Newman Memorial Trophy. One can only imagine the look on the engraver’s face when he was given that to do."
from Terry Clifford

"José Mourinho seems to lead a full and varied private life according to Wikipedia. If Frank Lampard is looking for a new cause to support, there's a fine suggestion right here."

from Josh Widdicombe
"Just prior to Christmas in the late 1990s I returned from school to be greeted by the strange news that my older sister, whose interest in football had previously only stretched to an appreciation of Jamie Redknapp, was currently at Newton Abbot racecourse on the Plymouth Argyle Christmas jolly. Having headed into Newton for some last-minute present buying that morning she had dropped into a cafe for a bacon sandwich and met 20 lads dressed in 'hilarious bad taste' fancy dress and bagged herself an invite to the races.

It now turned out that she needed picking up and, tagging along with my mum, I soon found myself walking into a hotel bar to be greeted by my sister and 20 or so boozed-up lower-league footballers. They say never meet your heroes, and they are right. I was a 15-year-old boy with some quite pedestrian GCSE grades just around the corner, but at times I felt like Tom Paulin trying to find some intellectual common ground with Danny Dyer.

One incident remains in my mind. For me Paul Wotton's 394 games for the club will always come second in my memory to the vision of him, stood on a chair, trousers down, performing the 'would you like me to lapdance for you?' scene from I'm Alan Partridge to a bar of bemused drinkers. Say what you will about Steve Coogan, but not everyone has his comic timing."

WSC Archive
Tony Adams was linked with the Celtic job this week (by Tony Adams). His managerial track record could be described as patchy at best. Four years ago we looked at his time in charge of Wycombe Wanderers.

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Paul Cannell and Richard Dinnis, Newcastle Utd Panini Football 78
Some younger readers of Shoot! may not have grasped a joke made by Jasper Carrott in a 1977 edition of the magazine. "Newcastle fans are wondering," he wrote, "why the Paul Cannell they sold Malcolm Macdonald." This unkind reference to a young Newcastle striker came during a disastrous season for the club that saw them relegated from the old Division One with just 22 points from 42 games. Twenty-three-year-old Paul Cannell had scored 12 goals in the previous season as Newcastle finished fifth, their highest league position since 1950-51.

The club achieved this without the prolific Macdonald, their top goalscorer for the previous five years, who was sold to Arsenal in the summer of 1976 after falling out with manager Gordon Lee. Lee left for Everton a few months later but he too seemed to have been adequately replaced. The team were seventh when Lee departed but climbed two places in the 20 games overseen by his former assistant Richard Dinnis. Newcastle beat Leeds 3-2 in their opening match of 1977-78, but then lost ten league games in a row. Dinnis was sacked, after a three-match unbeaten run, in early November.

A former PE instructor and amateur footballer, Dinnis had been popular with the players who threatened to strike if he wasn't appointed as Lee's successor. After he was sacked, however, some claimed that they couldn't take him seriously as a boss after he asked to be called "Dicky" and held team meetings sat on the floor in his office. Parallels may yet be drawn with Ricky Sbragia. Dinnis went on to coach at Blackburn and Middlesbrough and was manager of Barrow. Paul Cannell didn't score in any of his nine appearances and was released in January 1978. After three seasons in the US, he went to play for Mansfield and Berwick Rangers. Newcastle were to spend six years in the Second Division where they were finally revitalised by the arrival of Kevin Keegan.

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