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24 July 2009 ~

In WSC 42 (August 1990) a Notts County fan, Julian McDougall, complained that no one disliked his club. Especially not the Forest fans who turned up to support their local rivals at a Wembley play-off final against Tranmere, telling him "It's good for Nottingham, mate". "What do you have to believe in," he wrote, "when the club whose demise you most want to see celebrate your promotion with you?" This may be about to change with the appointment of Sven-Göran Eriksson as County's director of football with a five-year plan to reach the Premier League. We suspected that this was an enormous hoax by the entire national media, possibly connected to a reality show or a one-off edition of Jim'll Fix It. But it really does seem to have happened. And if there's been a better name for an investment fund than Munto Finance, we've not heard it. There are so many ways in which this could go wrong that it doesn't bear thinking about. So, good luck to everyone involved, with the possible exception of Munto Finance.

Badge of the week
Honved, for whom the late Ferenc Puskas played, have a brilliant badge, full of lions, stripes and general joie de vivre. Where last week we had a Polish team with a beige tower-block as their totem, this week we have a lion who is quite obviously high-hand dancing at an all-night illegal rave. All that is missing here is a whistle in the lion's mouth because this is in no way an intimidating lion, a hungry lion or a dangerous, wounded lion. This is a lion who has been dancing for three hours under red strobes and has goofily embraced several other lions he has never met before. He is not even predatory in a sexual sense because his head is full of the love of lion-kind which crosses gender divides and is borne not of base animal appetite. I am scared of lions myself yet I would quite happily stumble over, place my hand on his furry shoulder and shout something inarticulately friendly in his ear while he just smiles and smiles and continues his fevered dance. Great lion. Great badge. Cameron Carter

Among all the things going on in football the most popular thread on the WSC message board discusses this season's new strips. And it's not just about Newcastle (although they do of course receive a generous mention).

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

The UK sportswear firm Admiral produced strips for many of the teams in the North American Soccer League in the late 1970s, but at least one of their designers wasn't a football fan. Motherwell's distinctive amber and maroon combination may have inspired this Philadelphia Fury shirt. However, the original version of the kit included a pocket in the shorts which had to be removed before it was manufactured. A previous team in Philadelphia, the Atoms, had been NASL champions in 1973 with a side including future Liverpool manager Roy Evans. But they folded two years later and their successors, the Fury, only lasted three years from their launch in 1978. In their inaugural season the Fury were captained by Alan Ball who didn't seem to be impressed by Philadelphia, telling Shoot! that it was "a bit like Leeds". Unless of course he liked Leeds.

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

from Ian Goddard
"Some years ago, when Rangers were coming towards the end of their run of nine league titles in a row, I was out for a night in the quality Glasgow nightclub The Garage. I was slightly confused when a large group of young women seemed to gather near where I was standing and appeared to be excited by this fact too. I was jostled among them until I was pushed into a short, but very stocky, gentleman. It was none other than Ally McCoist, looking dapper in the full Rangers blazer and tie. He was out celebrating their recent Championship success with the similarly attired ex-Rangers bit player, Derek McInnes. I mentioned to super Ally that he knew my cousin (I couldn't think of anything more original) and upon realising that I wasn't female, he passed me over to his companion. McInnes turned out to be a thoroughly decent bloke and bought me a drink and we had a good chat. I didn't see them for the rest of the night until I was in the Canton Express over the road at about 4am. McCoist came in and said 'Hi' before helping himself to one of my chips and sitting down at a table of young ladies. His wingman trudged in after him looking a bit fed up. Super Ally didn't let this stop him leaving the place with a blonde lady – but I'm certain he was just making sure she got home safely."
from Gary Parkinson

"Someone, possibly a Hamilton fan, is not impressed with James McCarthy's representatives according to Wikipedia."

WSC Trivia ~ No 73
Like tiling a bathroom or playing crazy golf, writing poetry is hard to do really well. This has never deterred the thousands of amateur poets who have been published in vanity magazines with titles like Weft or Tabula. Some write poems about football and send them to WSC, often with covering notes that suggest they take themselves very seriously indeed. We don't think that poems suit WSC for much the same reason that we don't publish crosswords. In any case, we've yet to be sent anything good. There may be a correspondence course that advises budding football poets to try reworking cliches or chants. This would explain why we see plenty of variations on "It really was/A game of two halves"; "A matter of life and death?/No, more important that that" and "We can see you/Sneaking out". There's far too much self-expression going on.

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Leo Clijsters, KV Mechelen Panini Belgium 89 & Sergei Baltacha, USSR Panini World Cup 82
Two international central defenders who fathered tennis-playing daughters – but the dads have more in common than their girls. Leo Clijsters was Belgian footballer of the year in 1988, in the middle of a successful era for his club KV Mechelen. They won the Belgian Cup in 1987, the European Cup-Winners Cup the next season and then the Belgian league title in 1988-89. A relatively late developer who didn't play in the Belgian first division until he was 25, Clijsters went on to win 40 caps; he died of cancer in January 2009. His daughter Kim, born in 1983, won the US Open in 2005 and was runner-up in the French Open as well as being ranked number one women's singles player.

Sergei Baltacha won four Soviet league titles with Dynamo Kiev and the 1986 Cup-Winners Cup. He was also in the USSR side that finished second at Euro 88. Baltacha subsequently played for Ipswich – where he was often picked out of of position in midfield – then for St Johnstone. He was later a manager in Scotland with Inverness Caley and now teaches PE at a London school. His daughter Elena makes the news once a year when she plays in the early rounds of Wimbledon. She is the current British number two but has yet to be ranked in the world's top 100.

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