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19 June 2009 ~

Good news for a well-known football club who have hit hard times. They are about to receive massive financial backing from a mystery investor, which may also involve a famous former player coming back in a management role. This is not Newcastle but Southampton, where Kevin Keegan has had talks with the Pinnacle Group about a return to the club for whom he played in the early 1980s. What could possibly go wrong?

Badge of the week
En Avant Guingamp are a French club who have abandoned the traditional visual approach to designing a badge in favour, apparently, of writing a letter. There is the slightest concession to the pictorial form in the top left corner where someone has been doodling while on the phone to the gas company, but the major part of this badge is literary. Those of you who find the result less than arresting may at least get some interest value from the fact that the text is in three different fonts. Those among you who can name the fonts may like to have a long hard look at yourselves. Incidentally, En Avant is your actual French for "Onwards" or "Forwards". The equivalent of their name would be something like the Dutch Team, Go Ahead Eagles. This manner of naming clubs is a bit off and will presumably not come into vogue here. "Let’s Do It Huddersfield", for example, would not inspire anything but embarrassed shuffling of the feet. Cameron Carter

from Ben Casey
"During a rain-break in the England v West Indies World Twenty20 game on Monday, I was surprised to see Neil Warnock in the concourse underneath the stands as spectators took cover from the elements. I say surprised because you would expect him to be tucked away in a corporate box given his status in society, but more so because he was hobbling around on crutches. This didn't prevent various shaven-headed men (presumably Crystal Palace fans) going up to him to shake his hand, and poor Neil did look a bit unsteady given the combination of crutches and a mostly drunk crowd. He's smaller than I thought."

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Nantes home 1980-82
French clubs started to carry shirt advertising in 1971. Nantes had one of the longest-running sponsorship deals, with the radio station Europe 1, and one of the biggest logos. An earlier version, stitched on rather than printed, was even larger than this. The narrow pinstripe and two-colour V collar were a standard feature on Adidas shirts from the early 1980s (and was worn by Nantes for longer than the two years listed here). Like Norwich, Nantes' yellow shirts led to their being nicknamed the Canaries; they only switched to green shorts in the 1970s having worn either black or white previously. When Nantes were on their way to championship in 1982-83, the players agreed not to shave until the title was won which led to their looking like castaways in the end of season photo.

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

On the subject of shirts, there is a competition to design the official T-shirt of the England team for the Homeless World Cup which will be taking place in Milan in September. The design must be sent in jpeg format, no bigger than 2mb, to the judges' website. The competition closes on Friday July 10.
from Marcus Haydon

"Real Madrid's young Hungarian striker Adam Szalai appears to have an unusual non-football talent according to Wikipedia."

WSC Trivia ~ No 68
WSC is published by When Saturday Comes Ltd, but when we bought the company off the shelf it was called Mooncombat Ltd. Had WSC launched in the mid-1960s we could have published a magazine called Moon Combat, about the adventures of a group of talented teens – including a boffin, a headstrong one and a sassy alien – who investigate mysteries throughout the solar system. A silver Frisbee would have been given away with the first issue. We might still do it but this isn't the right time.

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Barcelona Atlétic & Castilla Panini Futbol 83
Rafa Benítez was widely criticised a couple of years ago for suggesting that Premier League reserve teams should be allowed to play in the Football League. This has been common practice in Spain for over 50 years with professional clubs' nursery sides allowed as far as the second level. This system now seems to have had its heyday as the only such team in the Segunda División last season, Sevilla II, were relegated – although their place may yet be taken by Villarreal reserves who have a third level play-off next week. Nonetheless, in past decades the set-up clearly worked to the benefit of the major clubs in that they held on to players who might otherwise have been first-team regulars elsewhere.

The Barcelona Atlétic squad of 1982-83 provided a prime example in midfielder Ramon Caldere. He stayed with the reserves until he was 25 but was capped by Spain within a year of moving up to the senior side and went on to play in the 1986 World Cup. Two of Caldere's team-mates this season, strikers Paco Clos and Juan Carlos Rojo, joined him playing for Barcelona's title-winning side of 1984-85 coached by Terry Venables.

In 1979-80 Castilla overcame four first division clubs on their way to the Spanish cup final where they were beaten 6-1 by Real's seniors. Of the team that lost in the final only midfielder Ricardo Gallego became a regular with Real but most of the side moved to other first division teams. As Real had also won the league that year, Castilla entered the 1980-81 Cup-Winners Cup and staged their first round match against West Ham at the Bernabeu. Crowd trouble led to the second leg being held at an empty Upton Park with West Ham winning 6-4 on aggregate.

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