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7 August 2009 ~

Well done to Aston Villa for winning the 2009 Peace Cup, on penalties against Juventus. In the widespread press coverage of the tournament, there was no mention of the fact that its sponsor, the Sunmoon Peace Football Foundation, is an offshoot of the Unification church, aka the Moonies. The church's leader, the Rev Sun Myung Moon, who believes himself to be the Messiah, has been barred from entering the UK following accusations that the sect was involved in brainwashing. So if any Villa players start to take on a glassy-eyed, beatific look in the opening weeks of the season, it may not be entirely down to their admiration for Martin O'Neill.

Badge of the week
After last week's phantasmagoria of colour and sensation from a rival Northern Irish club, Crusaders' more restrained offering brings us gently back to earth. There is still a helm and camail visible to launch us into a medieval reverie but we are returned to the everyday by the sober colours and seaside plastic football on the shield. It is unintentional of course, but the image in the opposite corner of the shield is surely not the most inspiring to the badge's wearer or fans. The white flag is traditionally associated with surrender – in fact Labour are to unveil it as their new logo next year to replace the red rose – and would communicate to the opposition on a subliminal level "this team is not up for the fight, they even need two white flags just to emphasise this fact". In the heat of battle, many white flags are fashioned from rudimentary materials, often underwear. Consequently, in a siege situation, with the defenders reduced to eating rats and bearings grease, it quickly became important to use the underwear of the bravest person with the best digestion just to ensure there was no ambiguity about the colour of the "flag" produced, as a slightly soiled white is not covered by the Geneva Convention. Cameron Carter

from Tom Hoyle
"Upmarket gentlemen's read Maxim this month features an interview with Madness frontman Suggs who says he's a Chelsea fan. It's terribly illuminating – just don't ask him for directions to Stamford Bridge.

Why Suggs gets a great feeling on his way to Craven Cottage, I don't know."

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Notts County home, 1989-91
There used to be a Notts County fanzine called The Thin Yellow Stripe named after the shirts the club wore when they were last promoted to the top level in 1991. County adopted black and white stripes in the 19th century, though they later wore hoops and plain white shirts. This sponsor's name would have been a good match for the supporters' mood over the last ten years but the team had several good seasons in the first half of the 1990s, playing in two successive Anglo-Italian Cup finals at Wembley and winning the second in 1995. The flying magpie badge, first worn in 1950, has now been replaced at the request of the Sven-employing owners. The new quartered design features Nottingham castle and the letter H, apparently representing Robin Hood, although it may come to stand for "Help!".

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

from Paul Quinton
"On the last weekend in April, a small group of us travelled down to London for a gig. On the way we stopped at the Beaconsfield services on the M40. That afternoon, Wolves had won a point at Barnsley, which guaranteed the championship, so I was quite pleased to see that the TV screens in the services were tuned to Sky Sports News, and I was able to catch up on the day's events. It was around this time that Newcastle's fate began to look unavoidable, and there was an interview with Alan Shearer on screen, so our little group began to discuss their fate, and the name Dennis Wise was mentioned a couple of times.

At this point, I felt a call of nature, so went to find the gents. As I stood up I came almost face to face with none other than Dennis Wise. I don't think he'd heard our discussion, as he was still a distance away from our table, but this X-Files-like encounter was a little unnerving. When I get back to my friends, and told them who was present while we'd been tailing about him, we tried talking about Kelly Brook and Catherine Zeta Jones to see if something similar would happen. Sadly Dennis Wise was as good as it got."
Ron Atkinson's Wikipedia page once contained a classic piece on vandalism, as unearthed by Taylor Parkes.

WSC Trivia ~ No 75
As part of an office clearout, we're going through a drawer full of old correspondence. Items include a note telling us of a change of address but without the subscriber's name or old address, and a subscription cheque with no letter attached giving the person's address. The latter was from someone who got into conversation with a member of WSC staff on a train journey which concluded with him saying that he'd send in a subscription. So if anyone knows a C Barrow who taught law at an adult education college around 15 years ago – tell him to drop us a line.

from Simon Smith
"I don't know what it says about me but reading last week's WSC Trivia, I thought that John Motson must have hated Garry Parker to call him a 'm/f passer'. I initially read 'm/f' as Motson shorthand for a word that wouldn't get through my or your email filters. I even had a few minutes of thinking: 'I wonder what Garry did to Motson, he seemed fairly mild mannered as a player – maybe Motson just doesn't like big noses.' Then I realised my mistake."

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Gerhard Neef, Rangers & Terry Mancini, Orient My Favourite Soccer Stars, 1969
My Favourite Soccer Stars was a series of booklets given away with five comics published by IPC magazines – Scorcher, Smash, Lion, Buster and Tiger. There were 32 cards in each set given away in batches of eight over a month. Among the several lower division and Scottish league players featured were Rangers goalkeeper Gerhard Neef and Orient defender Terry Mancini.

Gerhard "Gerry" Neef had played semi-professionally in Germany while working as a policeman. He moved to Scotland after marrying his Scottish-born girlfriend and was signed by Rangers. He went on to spend five years at Ibrox although he was only a first choice for one season, 1969-70. He returned to Germany briefly with 1.FC Nurnberg then resettled in Scotland. His daughter Melanie Neef is the former British women's number one at 400 metres and competed in World and European championships.

Like Mark Lazarus, Terry Mancini came from a boxing family in east London. After leaving Orient for QPR he became one of the first English-born players to play for the Republic of Ireland for whom he won five caps. He was also the first Irish player to be sent off in an international match, against the USSR in 1974. Mancini spent two years with Arsenal in what was probably their worst ever side, moving in part exchange for Double-winning captain Frank McLintock. The latter went on to play for the QPR team that finished League runners-up in 1975-76 while Arsenal finished 17th. Mancini owned the pub where WSC's first book, Offside, was launched but he wasn't there on the night. The man behind the bar looked like him but turned out to be his brother.

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