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10 July 2009 ~

According to today's Guardian, several figures from the world of football had phone calls recorded by investigators working for the News of the World. We were appalled to discover that WSC is not among those targeted. We would like to point out that we have scintillating chats on a range of topics daily and hope that our omission will be rectified in the next round of eavesdropping.

Badge of the week
KVC Westerlo are a Belgian club whose crest intriguingly combines medieval fortress with European folk legend with plastic football. A lot of teams have footballs or castles on their badges, of course, but what Westerlo have done is add an idiosyncratic touch in the bottom right to prick the interest of club crest tourists. It is possible that a knight is caught here in the act of slaying his opponent from horseback, the victim's last earthly thought being, in all probability: "I should have bought a horse, why did I always try to cut corners?" An alternative explanation is that the figure on horseback is a travelling textiles salesman who is in the habit of cutting off lengths of material for impulse buyers while riding round the medieval countryside touting for trade. From his position in the image, perhaps the customer here is having trouble retrieving small change from the depths of his jerkin pocket. This would be because the customer was not necessarily expecting to buy anything but had seen the Textiles Knight galloping through and hailed him on a whim to purchase a last-minute anniversary present. So the figure on the ground is either losing out on the battlefield to a bloke whose horse curtsies, or just buying any old thing for his wife on their special day. Either way I’m afraid he does not cut a very heroic figure. Cameron Carter

If you're looking for a game to go to next weekend, the world's largest football supporters' tournament is taking place at Bodington Hall, Leeds, beginning on July 24. More information here.

from Lee Cooper
"With regard to Josh Widdicombe's story about Wes Brown's pub visit in last week's Howl, I can testify to the truth of his claims. I was in the pub that night watching the game with a group of United-supporting southerners and it was very strange to see a professional player walk in on a number of levels. Firstly, it's a sticky-floored cesspit renowned more as a fertile breeding ground for chlamydia than as your typical footballer hangout. Secondly, you'd really have thought that a footballer on 30k a week would have had a TV at home. Needless to say, I found the whole experience pretty puzzling. That was until a few weeks later when I went out to a Wednesday student night in Manchester put on at Piccadilly 21s by the University Athletics Union. Once again, an absolute hole of a place (I was only there as a member of the football team – excuses, excuses) and not somewhere that you'd expect to see a Premier League footballer. Lo and behold, propping up the bar were Blackburn players David Dunn and Garry Flitcroft. This was around the same time that Flitcroft was involved in the injunctive proceedings to stop his name being outed in the press for having extramarital affairs. Anyway, the pair were getting hammered on £1 bottles of alcopops and chatting up women. Flitcroft – not exactly keeping his head down – was seen with some 6ft tall lass a year above me studying law. She had one of the biggest foreheads that I've ever seen."

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Everton home 1985-86
Everton's new shirt for this season is based on the design they wore when winning the FA Cup in 1984 and the League title a year later. It's unlikely, however, that they will ever revive the strip they had in 1985-86. Aside from the fact that it has unhappy memories for supporters – the team were runners-up in League and FA Cup – the design was hugely unpopular from the outset. Shirts with a chest bib in a different colour were briefly in vogue but this represented the first major alteration to Everton's plain blue shirts since 1929-30 when they switched to light blue for a year – and were promptly relegated for the first time in their history. The only major change to the team's strip since then was in 1958-59 when they adopted the white socks that have been worn for almost every season since.

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

from Glyn Marsh
"Ashington's Portland Park, once a Football League ground where 11,837 people saw Aston Villa play in 1924, is in the process of being turned into a supermarket – although it hasn't been finished yet and there are still signs up for the stadium. For over a year now, the team have played at a tiny ground in a nearby park, which seems to me to be a disgrace. A while ago someone wrote in WSC that it was high time that supermarkets began to be knocked down and replaced by football stadiums. I'm inclined to think that England will remain a second-class football nation until this policy is put into practice. They wouldn't have to be huge venues either – just four distinctive stands with at least one gable end and a weather vane featuring Father Time."
from Simon Clarke

"Former Grimsby striker Michael Reddy had an unusual finish to his career if an old version of his Wikipedia article is to be believed."

WSC Trivia ~ No 71
A long time ago a reader lent us his Esso 1970 World Cup coin collection – 30 silver likenesses of the players in contention for a place in the England squad for Mexico. Some of the representations are spot-on – but Francis Lee is a dead ringer for Stuart It's A Knockout Hall while Peter Bonetti could be mistaken for Virginia Wolff. Anyhow, the owner of the collection said he'd drop by to retrieve it at some point but that was at least 15 years ago. We've moved offices twice since and keep it on display on the top of a bookshelf. We're beginning to suspect, like Hachiko, that its owner may never come back.

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Emerson, Middlesbrough Merlin Premier League 97 and Jaime Moreno, Middlesbrough Merlin Premier League 96
It can be difficult to settle in to a new environment if you're a long way from home and don't speak the local language. So it was thoughtful of Middlesbrough to pay for relatives of Jaime Moreno and Emerson to come over to help them settle in. In Emerson's case they went further and gave his cousin, Fabinho, a contract. He had spent three years in Portugal with as many clubs but only played five first-team games. So it wasn't altogether a surprise that he got just the one run-out for Boro, in a League game at home to Huddersfield in October 1997. There were three players called Emerson capped by Brazil during this period but the Middlesbrough midfielder wasn't among them. Nonetheless, he had been a regular for Porto before moving to the Riverside, and went on to spend six years in La Liga after leaving Boro midway through 1997-98. He retired aged 36 in 2008 after a season in Cyprus.

Jaime Moreno arrived at Boro after playing for Bolivia in the 1994 World Cup finals. A striker, he scored only one goal in 20 games before leaving for DC United in 1996. He is still playing for the same club with whom he has won four MLS championships. Boro gave him a second chance with a brief loan spell in 1997 but that produced only one more goal in five games. However his cousin, Javier, settled on Teesside where he married a local girl and started a family. He now runs a pizza takeaway business in Stockton.

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