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26 June 2009 ~
Michael Jackson's demise means that he'll miss seeing his favourite team Exeter City playing in League One next season. In WSC 185 (July 2002) we commented on Uri Geller's involvement in the club, prompting the following response:
I am writing with regard to your article titled Bend it like Uri (WSC 185) discussing Exeter City. I feel that I ought to offer a reply, as I find your ironic piece slightly disturbing. I do accept that it must have been written with all good intentions, despite the sarcasm and scornful undertones, yet for me this issue is far from a joke. Having recently assumed the role of co-chairman of the club, it was with immense pride and pleasure that I set about my new tenure. Not only is it a major coup for a Third Division outfit to have a world-renowned figure at the helm, but also my unswerving loyalty and commitment to the Grecians will remain one hundred per cent. My love for the club stems from my son Daniel's (now co-vice chairman) well-documented passion for City, and to suggest that there are ulterior motives is simply ludicrous. My aim is to help turn Exeter City around, to reach a stable financial footing, to attract sponsorship, extra investment and support, to raise the club's profile in the local community and to have a successful team on the pitch. Recently the football club had the incredible honour of welcoming pop mega star Michael Jackson and mystifier David Blaine, as we hosted an event to raise money for the club and notably for several worthwhile charities. The world's media turned out in number and thousands of adoring fans screamed and cried tears of joy. Disadvantaged children experienced a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet their idol and the satisfaction, the delight that I felt couldn't be put into words. John Russell (co-chairman), Mike Lewis (co-vice chair man), Daniel and I are entirely serious about the club achieving success, and what can be so devious about that?
Uri Geller, Sonning, Berkshire
Badge of the week
This week's badge takes up the baton of soulless mediocrity and runs with it in beige chinos. Although hailing from a country where you can legally edge through the Doors of Perception at one of those marijuana cafés, Heerlen elected to brand themselves with something resembling a road sign with no point to make. It is as if the region is governed by a military junta that has decreed all forms of image are frivolous at best, criminally decadent at worst. Possibly the children in Heerlen's infant schools are asked to take back their painting of Daddy and describe him in prose instead. One imagines Rapid to have been a less-than-flamboyant side on the pitch, playing the percentage balls and working by a statistical analysis of opposition goals conceded from defensive errors in the final third. Fortunately for lovers of beauty everywhere, Heerlen disappeared in a 1960s merger with another team into a new butterfly-like creature that probably has a nice picture on its crest. In future, when old windbags say to you "The 60s were great, everything was shining and born anew", just show them this pioneeringly boring badge and send them back to their park bench. Cameron Carter
from William Hogg
"The 'doodle' in the badge in last week's Howl is a Breton triskell. En Avant Guingamp (shortly to debut in the Europa League as French Cup winners) are of course from Brittany."
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Wycombe Wanderers 1992-93
Quartered shirts were common among early football teams but in the 20th century they came to be worn almost exclusively by amateur clubs, with Bristol Rovers the only notable exception. The light-blue and dark-blue combination generally reflected connections to Oxford and Cambridge University, as was the case with similar kits worn by Bishop Auckland and the French club Le Havre. But Wycombe's founders had no Oxbridge links – it's said that their colours came from local heraldry. They had worn halves and stripes before adopting quartered shirts in the mid-1930s. This strip represented a return to tradition, the club having worn plain blue shirts for more than 20 years up to 1990. The design has been tweaked several times since with the two colours being swapped around and light-blue shorts replacing dark-blue. The club's strip for 2009-10 is almost identical to this kit, in which Wycombe won the non-League double of Conference title and FA Trophy.
Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts
from Simon Cogan
"Just over ten years ago, I stood with a group of Scotland supporters outside the Weser Stadion, Bremen, where the team has just beaten Germany 1-0 in a friendly, and witnessed some bizarre behaviour by a former Scotland international. Alan McInally had been commentating on the game and now stood chatting to us while constantly glancing over at one of the stadium's exit doors. The German team coach was parked near ours and a steady stream of their players emerged to cross the coach park. McInally, who had played for Bayern Munich several years earlier, offered a discreet nod and smile to each player. But none of them returned his greeting, so each smile and nod came to seem like a facial tic as he quickly turned back to us and carried on chatting as though nothing had happened. At least none of them brought out pens as though expecting to him to offer up a programme to sign."
Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Steven Gerrard are among the ten shortlisted nominees for the 2009 Golden Foot awards. This takes place "under the high patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco" (which is the same as regular patronage except that he's taller) and is given each year to one international player aged 29 or over. The winner also gets to leave an imprint of his feet on the promenade at Monte Carlo. Debate about the voting has been intense because, as the organisers put it rather chillingly: "Football passion has no limits and, most of all, has no end." Vote now!
from Hasit Shah
"Wikipedia suggests why Glen Johnson was keen to go north instead of heading back to London."
WSC Trivia ~ No 69
WSC has joined Twitter. Someone had already nabbed the name WSC so we're WSC_magazine. We'll be using it to flag up new content on the website, reader offers and so on. Rather than things like: "That shouty woman is discussing personal issues on her mobile outside our door again. Does she not realise we can hear?" Or: "The polite tramp who stands by the bus stop and calls everyone 'Captain' is now wearing a Bon Jovi tour jacket." There'll be none of that.
Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards
Andranik Eskandarian, Iran Panini Argentina 78 and Ahmed Rahdi, Iraq Panini Mexico 86
Full-back Andranik Eskandarian made his mark at the 1978 World Cup by scoring the own goal through which Scotland took the lead in their group match against Iran, which finished in a 1-1 draw. He had a good tournament aside from that and left Teheran club Taj for New York Cosmos later that summer. Eskandarian, an ethnic Armenian, never returned to Iran after the revolution that overthrew the Shah in early 1979; he took out American citizenship five years later. His son Alecko, born in New Jersey in 1982, is a striker who scored twice for DC United in their MLS final victory over Kansas City Wizards in 2004. He has since been capped by the US.
Ahmed Rahdi was Iraq's star forward when they qualified for the 1986 World Cup. At the time he was playing for Al Rashid, a Baghdad club set up three years earlier by Saddam Hussein's son Uday, who was also head of the Iraqi FA. Al Rashid went on to win three successive league titles but Uday turned down approaches for their players from foreign clubs. Rahdi was denied a transfer to Nacional of Uruguay in 1988 but five years later he was allowed to join a club in Qatar while several team-mates moved to other teams in the Middle East. Uday took a cut of each player's salary, as much as 60 per cent in some cases. Al Rashid, now known as Al Karkh, were relegated to the second division in 2006.
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