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18 September 2009 ~

The sight of a steward's chair landing beside the gloating Emmanuel Adebayor at Eastlands last week may have given some clubs an idea. As several Man City matches this year will involve their players being barracked on returning to former teams – Lescott at Everton, Barry at Villa, Bellamy everywhere – there must be scope for a range of anti-Man City merchandise designed to be hurled at the appropriate moment. Foam-based items only, of course. We don't want anyone to be hurt, physically or emotionally.

Badge of the week
FC Lorient are a French club based in Brittany whose badge design is irritatingly child-friendly. If your town has a big fishing tradition there are several ways you can mark this: a trawler ploughing through high waves perhaps, the ancient god Poseidon rearing up from the sea bed or a pub fight. And yet Lorient's artist has elected to draw a big-eyed fish with a CBBC smile that suggests it has just outwitted a malevolent character called Sharky. There is no reason to pander to the younger fan in this way. Children should learn quickly the realities of maritime life: it is only ten per cent cuteness under the sea and 90 per cent killing fields. The background colour of fresh-turd-caramel is an unorthodox choice also and makes this a badge one might think twice about kissing during a goal celebration. Lorient should perhaps get a bit more gritty and naturalistic about the world because you cannot be competitive in the French first division dreaming about smiley fish with the gift of speech. Cameron Carter

from Fraser Kirkwood
"A colleague of mine popped in for a pint at Edgworth cricket club in Bolton on transfer deadline day. He was mildly surprised to find former Real Madrid full-back Michel Salgado playing pool. Big Sam had planted him there until the paperwork came through for his transfer. Turns out you can barely get a mobile phone signal where the cricket club is and 'Allardici' was wary of predatory agents."

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Chelsea away, 1987-89
Chelsea fans who bought a programme for the match against Liverpool on May 3, 1986, were surprised to find a picture on the cover of Keith Dublin sporting an unusual green shirt. Inside they discovered it wasn't green at all, but "jade". The new colour was a key part of "the Chelsea Collection". Making their own clothes was designed to free Chelsea from the financial tyranny (as Ken Bates told it) of their previous kit manufacturer, Le Coq Sportif. "We expect many of our supporters to buy, and possibly prefer, the striking jade away strip," the editors confidently predicted. They didn't, although the colour survived for a couple of seasons in this slightly more elegant Umbro version.

It also featured prominently in the very 1980s streetwear, periodically illustrated by embarrassed players and bouffant-haired lovelies, and introducing fans to the mysteries of "expantex", "cotton pique", "design feature placquets" and "panel yolks". The fact that Chelsea plunged from notional title contenders in 1986 to a disastrous relegation in 1987-88 (although an equally unloved red was used as an away kit at times that season) did not help make the jade era more popular. Mike Ticher

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

from Barry Thornton
"I'm not an Arsenal fan so can offer no reasonable explanation for having dipped into a friend's copy of Gunners Lists. My reward was to stumble upon Henry Winter's 'Ten Songs That Remind Me Of Arsenal', which may be the most Partridge-esque work yet produced by any of our esteemed sportswriters. The list includes:

'Nothing Compares 2 U (Sinead O'Connor): Thierry Henry – incomparable and untouchable in his striking pomp'
'Hold The Line (Toto): Tony Adams – no one organised the back line and offside trap better'
'Leader of the Pack (The Shangri-Las): Patrick Vieira – a great warrior and captain'
'Rock Around The Clock (Bill Haley): the Arsenal fans – Highbury is gone but the clock ticks on'
'This Charming Man (The Smiths): Arsène Wenger – intelligent and polite, a true gentleman in a sport shorn of them'"

from Mike Innes
"'Spend every day with your favorite players!!' exhorts the online shop of Japan's Omiya Ardija. Because now, for a mere ¥3000 (about £20), you can – and not by the time-consuming and perhaps creepy means of hanging round the club's famously under-equipped training ground either. Launched at the end of August was a series of 'player tapestries' – big bits of tarpaulin, evidently, that you're supposed to hang in your bedroom and chat to, or berate, as appropriate."

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

I'm not sure if this really counts as "playing with or against footballers", but I thought I'd tell you about it anyway. In the mid to late 1990s, myself and a few mates would spend every Wednesday night at the Griffin pub in Swithland, just outside Leicester. The landlord at the time was Alan Birchenall, a bit of a Leicester City hero. There was always a quiz on a Wednesday. Usually one of the quiz teams consisted of Simon Grayson (then much-maligned Leicester City right-back), Steve Walsh (club captain) and a couple of hangers-on.

Every now and again they would bring along their secret pub quiz weapons such as Ian Marshall and Julian Joachim. They always came last, no matter who they smuggled in with them. The only time they didn't win the booby prize was when they had Pontus Kaamark, who despite being Swedish spoke and understood English better than all of them combined. Even though they were not exactly blessed in the intelligence department, they were always very friendly, which is a shame as this story would be much better if they were arrogant obnoxious tosspots who stole everybody's girlfriends.

We also sometimes used to go to a pub quiz on a Sunday night at the Coach and Horses in Markfield, where again we'd always win. This was a favoured haunt of Gerry Taggart and Neil Lennon, but they never entered the quiz as they were too busy drinking lots of Guinness and talking to young ladies. Neil Lennon did steal my girlfriend but that's another story. Perhaps the Howl could start a new theme entitled "Footballer stole my girlfriend"? Rob Fray

WSC Trivia ~ No 80
Back by popular demand, more or less, here are more excerpts from the Noticeboard section of WSC:

WSC 34 Our more eagle-eyed subscribers may have noticed that some November WSCs carried the date and number of October's issue. No? Well, we nearly didn't notice either. Apologies for the error which was of course not our fault. We blame society.

WSC 38 Has anyone heard about a former Bradford City player of the 1970s who is now a woman? A couple of correspondents have referred to this. (We know it isn't Cec Podd, mind you.)

WSC 41 John Pamnent is keen to find out when and where the chant of "You're worse than Crystal Palace" originated. He heard it in the unlikely surroundings of the Qemal Stafa Stadium in Tirana, Albania during a match between Partizani and Flamurtari on April 29. It was directed at Flamurtari after they had gone 1-0 down.

WSC 47 Cambridge United fanatic exiled in Dagenham requires Essex/London-based fellow supporter to drive him to home (and away?) fixtures. Petrol, admission, Poll Tax, anything else paid in exchange. Phone Luke on [ ]. Please let phone ring three times, ring off, then ring again immediately to get an answer.

WSC 63 James McGuire and his friend Sid want to compile a book of football songs. As they can only think of about seven, six of which involve Queen of the South, they need your help. Write to: [ ]

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Fabio Capello, SPAL Panini Calciatori 1965-66
As a teenager Fabio Capello had hoped to become an airline pilot but settled instead for life as a professional footballer with his local club. SPAL (Società Polisportiva Ars Et Labor) from Ferrara were promoted to Serie A in 1951-52 and spent 16 of the next 17 seasons there, fifth place in 1959-60 being their best finish; they are currently in the third-level Lega Pro 1.

Capello had three years with Roma after leaving SPAL in 1967, then went on to win three titles in six seasons with Juventus plus one more in four years at AC Milan. First capped by Italy in 1972 he scored in their first-ever win against England the following year, 2-0 in Turin. A few months later he got the only goal in the return friendly at Wembley. He has recently described this as his "greatest moment as a player" but that might just be with his current audience in mind. His penultimate cap came in another 2-0 win against England, in a World Cup qualifier in November 1976. He claims that his current coaching job will be his last but, like Sven, he may find Notts County difficult to turn down.

Exciting news about Colin Beesley who featured in the first-ever Stickipedia. Colin's niece Victoria has been in touch to say that he now coaches a successful over-40s team and works for the local council. But the bombshell is that the "Colin Beesley" depicted in that 1969-70 Wonderful World of Soccer Stars album is definitely not him. Imagine how mortifying the mix-up must have been for both Colin and non-Colin. So who is the mystery man? Anyone?

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