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17 July 2009 ~

WSC has been sounded out about a name change, one that will reflect the exciting new direction in which English football is heading. From next month we will become The Official Manchester City Magazine. Our relaunch issue will be chock-a-block with fresh and vibrant features including stock market advice from Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan ("buy whatever you like – it's only money"), fashion tips from Carlos Tevez ("nothing says 'Summer 2009' quite like a crocheted hat") and Garry Cook's horoscope page ("You are going on a journey – just like Manchester City"). The initial print run of 20 million might sound ambitious but Rome was, in fact, built in a day. Come aboard.

Badge of the week
Szombierki Bytom are a Polish team whose club badge may not give you second thoughts about going to Spain this year but trying Poland, a lesser-trumpeted tourist destination, instead. Beauty is apparently not the chief motivation here. The image reminds me of a Sunday afternoon in November I spent in Basingstoke waiting for a bus to somewhere else I didn’t want to be. The lines and angles are harsh and unattractive while the chosen colour of municipal beige does not excite the heart. Could it be that the club feels the best design to represent them is that of an empty tower block? Is there some sort of functional social housing policy underpinning the formation of the club perhaps? Are the players solely picked from inner-city housing projects? Or is this building the headquarters of Pol-Mot Holding, market leader of automotive industry and agricultural machines, and therefore the town’s centrepiece? They really should put a nice little starling on the front or something, perk it up a little. Spain’s easier for flights anyway isn’t it? Cameron Carter

from Paul Kitchen
"I don’t know if John Terry is on his way to Man City, or if Roy Hodgson is looking for a new centre-half, but I was mildly surprised to see Sol Campbell, plus his partner (I think) and agent Sky Andrew enjoying a quiet sit down at the Chelsea Physic Garden yesterday afternoon. This little haven of tranquility, founded in 1673, has the biggest collection of medicinal plants anywhere in the world – so maybe Sol was just looking for some treatment or at some post-football options. But it is remarkably close to two Premier League grounds – and some distance from Portsmouth. Obviously I would have asked him myself, but the last time I saw Sol in person I was watching England lose a penalty shoot-out against Argentina at France 98 and somehow I’ve never got over it. Anyway, whatever it is, you heard it here first."

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Vasco da Gama away 1999-2000
The major Brazilian clubs rarely tinker with the design of their home or away shirts. Vasco da Gama’s longstanding change kit is simply a reversal of their regular white shirts with a black diagonal. The black kit featured in press photographs seen around the world in 1969 when Vasco were the club against whom Pelé scored what was claimed to be his 1000th career goal, from the penalty spot during a match at Rio’s Maracanã stadium (his official total was later reduced by a couple of hundred). The red cross badge, the symbol of a crusading order, was used as an emblem on the Portuguese ships that travelled to South America – including those of Dom Vasco da Gama after whom the club is named. Several other Brazilian clubs wear black change kits and it was a popular colour for goalkeepers everywhere, except in England where it was restricted to referees until they began to wear green in the early 1990s.

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

from Ger Power
"Collapsing walls are not an uncommon occurrence in the League of Ireland, but generally in the context of free-kicks in the last third of the field. Bray Wanderers bucked this trend last Friday. When Shamrock Rovers striker Gary Twigg celebrated his goal by leaping onto the perimeter wall, over-excited away fans caused the structure to give way. Some may have seen Bray’s home, the Carlisle Grounds, in the film Michael Collins. It played the part of the GAA stadium Croke Park, attacked by the British army. Apparently it cost the filmmakers a small fortune to bring the place up to 1920s standards."
from John Foster

"A rather handy but rarely used winger at Fulham, Andrejs Stolcers is considered in some quarters to have been as good as anyone in his day, as his Wikipedia entry makes clear."

WSC Trivia ~ No 72
As part of a preview for the 1998 World Cup we published a calendar containing some facts about each tournament. Several of these were made up, but very obviously so. Such as the entry about 1930 which claimed that the entire Romanian squad had converted to Zoroastrianism – the fire religion of ancient Persia – on their lengthy boat trip to Montevideo. However, prior to England’s match with Romania at Euro 2000, we had a call from someone at BBC radio who wondered if we knew whether any of the 1930 squad had stuck by the faith through the rest of their lives. They also mentioned that this episode had featured in a reference book about the World Cup, although we haven’t located that yet. As Romania aren’t going to qualify for South Africa 2010 we don’t expect to hear any more about this for a while. It was just a bit of fun, Zoroastrians – don’t write in.

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Frank Casper & Paul Fletcher, Burnley Wonderful World of Soccer Stars 1975-76
Frank Casper and Paul Fletcher were two of Burnley’s strikers when the club last played at the top level in 1975-76. When Casper signed from Rotherham for £40,000 in 1967 he was the first player Burnley had paid a fee for in seven years. In the intervening period the bulk of the squad comprised youth products from the north east, who had been spotted by Jack Hixon, the scout who later recommended Alan Shearer to Southampton. Hixon fell out with Burnley in the late 1960s after which their supply of teen talent gradually ran dry – although he club had a brief renaissance in the mid-70s, finishing sixth in Division One in 1973-74 and tenth the following year before going down in 1975-76. Frank Casper’s son Chris was part of the “Beckham generation” at Man Utd but his career was hampered by injuries and he retired aged 26 in 2001, later becoming manager of Bury.

Paul Fletcher joined Burnley from Bolton in 1971 and went to play more than 300 games for them while winning four England Under-23 caps. After retiring he became commercial manager of Colne Dynamos, who were the first non-League club with a full-time staff in the late 1980s before their owner pulled the plug after they won promotion to the Conference. Fletcher is now Burnley’s chief executive and the owner of a company called StadiArena which builds leisure facilities into new stands. He also plays the ukulele and is a member of the George Formby Appreciation Society. Expect to hear a lot more about that during TV coverage of matches from Turf Moor this season.

from Mark Swan
"Regarding last week’s Stickipedia, Emerson’s cousin Fabio Moreira (Fabinho) looked exactly like him, a sort of mini-me. The only surprise about him getting a contract was that he played just the one game. I was at the match against Huddersfield you mention, we won 3-0 and Fabinho was the star of the show. Everyone who was there can remember his superb performance – another Brazilian gem unearthed by Bryan Robson. And yet he never came anywhere near the first team again. Oh and Jamie Moreno’s one goal in his second spell was a rather important last-minute winner at Stoke that put our promotion back on track. I personally thought he looked a lot better on his second spell."

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