A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
4 September 2009 ~


You will have noticed that Chelsea's punishment for poaching Lens teenager Gael Kakuta was handed down by FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber. It's time that the fine work of this important body gained wider recognition. We have them to thank for intervening in a sticky dispute with the Post Office about overseas mailing a few years ago. A terse call from Sepp Blatter in the middle of the night was all it took. They're firm but fair.

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Badge of the week
A badge with a bit of mystery here from Armenia. Armenia itself is full of mystery – for example, where is it? And do they sing in English for Eurovision? At first sight, this crest appears to depict a mythical creature with the body of a lion and a fully-formed peregrine falcon for its head. It wouldn't have been a very effective mythical creature because the main strength of the lion is its ferocious bite and the peregrine falcon is famed for its swooping speed, something which would be decreased by 400lbs of adult lion dangling beneath it. It is also unclear why it is carrying a soiled nappy on an axe handle. Definitely a mysterious place, Armenia. But then we look more closely and see that in fact it is a normal lion with head tossed back, baying at the heavens (possibly because a tourist has left a soiled nappy and an axe handle in the jungle). The thinking behind this image is probably that a lion in itself is quite intimidating to the opposition, but a lion demanding who's left this crap in his clearing is just that little bit more edgy. Cameron Carter

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from Nick Williams
"With reference to the recent WSC article on poor subtitling, last Sunday I was watching Aston Villa v Fulham on Match of the Day 2 with the subtitles on when the commentator mentioned that Dempsey got in front of Agbonlahor to get his header in. The subtitles, however, stated with some authority that 'Dempsey got in front of a pommel horse...'. It's not even a good guess. If you weren't sure you heard 'Agbonlahor', why would you guess the Fulham forward had been jostling for position in the box with a piece of gym equipment? These people are nuts."

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Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Palermo home, 2005-06
As anyone with an old Subbuteo catalogue will know, Palermo were once the only team in Europe to play in pink – excluding those whose white shirts were mistakenly chucked in the wash with a red towel. The club originally wore red and blue halves in imitation of Genoa, the most successful team in the early days of Italian football. But they decided on a change because several other clubs had the same idea; their first set of pink (rosa) shirts were imported from England in 1907. Everton had "salmon" shirts for one season in 1890-91 and brought them back in a change kit with blue stripes in the early 1990s. Portsmouth wore the colour for a decade after being founded in 1898 and have also revived it as a second strip. More recently, Oldham were kitted out in luminous pink for one match, against Leeds in February 2009, as part of a fundraising effort for a local hospital.

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

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Last week's Howl suggested that Robbie Savage's column in the Daily Mirror is the worst by a current or former player. But we were overlooking Neil "Razor" Ruddock's efforts for the free London Paper, tattered copies of which are strewn daily across buses and trains throughout the capital. This is Neil's take on the unsettled David Bentley: "I don't know Bentley personally but maybe he got too cocky for his own good after his £15 million move from Blackburn last year. Harry Redknapp is no mug and wouldn't be letting the player go if he felt he could do the business for him. So something has obviously happened." Yes, that'll be it. 

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Philosophy Football have produced a new T-shirt in tribute to Bobby Robson. There's £5 off for WSC readers and all profits from this shirt will be donated to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation cancer charity.

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Touching the stars
Playing with or against footballers, or indeed a celebrity of any kind

Mention Newcastle and QPR defender Darren Peacock and many people would think only of that bloke who wore his hair in bunches and had a somewhat cavalier approach to working life. However, those of us closer to him knew him differently: communicative, always willing to pass on tricks of the trade and, most importantly, as a man who was as good as his word. I first ran into Darren when he was a rampaging centre-forward in Bristol youth football. As tall, as muscular and as quick then as he would ever be again, he'd already attracted the attention of Newport County scouts the length and breadth of the county. Commissioned to man-mark him one day, I heeded my manager's advice to "let him know I was there" and clattered into the back of him with the full force of my 5ft 6ins, eight-stone frame. After riding the blow with the sort of gesture most people would use to remove dandruff from their shoulders, he looked down and, in an almost brotherly manner, growled: "Do that again and I'll have you."

Intoxicated by the manager's other lies, about barks being inferior to bites and bigger men falling harder, I offered a repeat performance at the next best opportunity. After a while, with the ball at the other end of the pitch, I received a blow to the jaw that felt like it had been dealt using a tea-chest full of encyclopaedias. Seconds later, a voice from above gently hissed that I shouldn't say he hadn't warned me. Mindlessly kicking a bloke twice your size gets you a smack in the mouth; I found that out only because Darren Peacock was good enough to give up his spare time to teach me. However, when I used to watch him on television, flapping and floundering away against the real big boys, I couldn't help thinking that, just maybe, he picked up a trick or two from me that day too. Matt Nation

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from Andy Fraser
"A strange addition to the Wikipedia page of Wigan's Honduran international Hendry Thomas. Judging by this, you'd have him in your midfield but probably not accept a lift home afterwards."



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WSC Trivia ~ No 79
"We are delighted to inform you that When Saturday Comes magazine has been nominated by millions of football fans for the category Best Football magazine (offline/online)." So says the invitation to attend the first International Football Awards. These are to be staged at a hotel in central London later this month, having been put back from earlier in the year due to the work involved in processing those millions of votes. Among the glitterati presenting prizes are Bobby Davro, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, Cannon & Ball, Linford Christie and Peter Jones from Dragons' Den. Quite a turnout. We won't be going due to prior hair-washing and toenail-clipping commitments but good luck to all the magazines nominated – especially Shoot! which closed down over a year ago.

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Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Jürgen Croy, GDR Panini München 74
David James may have hoped for a move during the transfer window but at least he is likely to be kept busy in goal for Portsmouth over the next few months. And being in regular action behind a suspect defence may yet propel him back into the England squad.

Having a national team goalkeeper play for a modest team was once official policy in East Germany. Jürgen Croy was the third most capped player in GDR history, making 94 appearances in 14 years from 1967. He spent his entire career with the local team in his home town of Zwickau – initially called Motor, they were renamed Sachsenring after the car manufacturers who made the Trabant among others. They won the GDR cup twice with Croy but finished in the bottom half of the table for the majority of his time there. There were suggestions that he should join some of his international team-mates at one of the more successful clubs, but the GDR federation decided that he was best employed hurling himself about for Sachsenring Zwickau. Croy did win several other awards however – he was GDR footballer of the year three times and selected as the best-looking player at the 1974 World Cup by a West German womens' magazine.

from Derek Walker
"Last week's Stickipedia feature with Michael Robinson & Sammy Lee reminded me of one of the more entertaining Focus On features in Shoot! in the early 1980s. Robinson appeared keen to be recognised as some sort of footballing jester and many of his answers to the banal questions were a touch more interesting than the standard 'Steak and chips/Ford Granada' offering from most players of the era. None more so than when he was asked what his pre-match meal was and he responded with 'Sammy Lee'. If Osasuna were aware of this unusual preference, this would explain their signing of both players not too long after."

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