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25 September 2009 ~

Sol Campbell
's abrupt departure from Notts County has ruined the club's plans for a whole series of bonding exercises. According to reports, before the start of every training session Sol would look each team-mate in the eye and shake them by the hand. The next stage would have been for them to march into Sherwood forest, build a bivouac and wrestle a moose (imported for the occasion by Munto Finance).

Badge of the week
It is about time the heavy metal fraternity had their own team. I bet it's quite intimidating entering the away dressing-room, what with the low lighting, the walls shuddering to a tune by Slipknot or perhaps Defecation, and the stench of good honest hair sweat assailing the nostrils. But then Metalist Kharkiv's badge disappointingly doesn't bear a grinning skull or an upside-down crucifix, but opts instead for less obvious imagery. In the top left we have a football approaching a slip road – we can only hope no one is bounding after the ball into such a perilous environment. Over in the top right a lovely bouquet of flowers appears to have been wrapped in sausages, which could send the message that beauty and practicality may go in hand-in-hand. Once you've put your flowers in a vase, then you fry the sausages. A nice way to spend a half hour. The two serpents poledancing imply that while understanding the ordinary joys of sausages and flowers, they are also open to getting their freak on after dark. A confusing set of images here which may serve the purpose of unsettling the opposition. I'm certainly unsettled and I live miles away. Cameron Carter

from Fraser Kirkwood
"Last week, I got a haircut from Abdoulaye Faye's brother, who works at a barbers in Bolton. His technique was short, sharp and brutal, so no surprises there. £6.90 was a good price though."

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Saudi Arabia, 1978-80
Like the other Gulf states, the Saudis began to import football expertise from Brazil during the 1980s. While some of the national managers were European, Brazilian coaching methods were credited with producing teams that qualified for four successive World Cups from 1994. Prior to that, trust had been placed in the famously versatile Jimmy Hill who was appointed as a football advisor in the late 1970s. During the Hill era, teams prepared by English coaches had a couple of unsuccessful tilts at World Cup qualification and an English company, Admiral, supplied the kit – the double stripe being one of their best known designs at the time. Imagine a whole team kitted out like this losing to Libya while Jimmy Hill winces and shifts uncomfortably in his grandstand seat. Wales had a variation on the same strip during this period and it was later worn at two 1980s World Cups by Belgium.

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

This week in history ~ Division One, September 25, 1897


Sheffield United went on to become the fifth club to win the Championship and the first from Yorkshire. They had been runners-up the previous season and were second again in 1899-1900, but haven't finished higher than fourth since. The scorer against Newcastle, left-winger Fred Priest, got one of the goals when United beat Derby 4-1 in the 1899 FA Cup final.

That was Derby's second successive final defeat. In the 1898 match, watched by 62,000 at Crystal Palace, they lost 3-1 to Forest, two of whose goals were scored by the flamboyant-sounding centre-forward Arthur Capes.

Liverpool recorded their first win in a Merseyside derby at the fifth attempt. Striker Dan Cunliffe, who scored their first goal, only had one season at Anfield and spent the rest of his career in Division Two with New Brighton Tower. The return fixture three weeks later, won 3-0 by Everton, drew the League's biggest crowd of the season, 37,500.

Defending champions Villa were the only other team to top the table but they fell away after a run of three successive defeats in January and finished sixth. Striker Fred Wheldon scored twice in the defeat by Blackburn and went on to be the division's top scorer with 26 goals. He became the first player to turn out for all three League clubs with a Birmingham postcode, having joined Villa from Small Heath (later Birmingham City) before moving on to West Brom.

Blackburn had lost their first three matches before beating Villa and finished second from bottom. Together with bottom-placed Stoke they had to play "test matches" in April against the top two in Division Two, Burnley and Newcastle. But these games didn't count for anything when it was decided in the summer to expand the division to 18 clubs.

from Stuart Stratford

"A Wikipedia explanation of the issues that make Adrian Durham of Talksport the widely respected broadcaster that he is."

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

I was playing in the Southern Olympian League a few years back with a moderately successful team, but we were perpetually short of goalkeepers. One of our players with connections in the media got to know Blue Peter presenter John Leslie, who'd had trials for Scottish teams in his youth as a goalie. The TV front man was duly persuaded to turn out for us on a grey afternoon in Ealing. In the changing room we joked about him opening his kit bag and saying: "Here's a save I made earlier." He was also living with Catherine Zeta-Jones at the time, and so we alluded to that in shameful ways typical of young men in their 20s. All before he arrived, of course. When he turned up, we went all shy. Then we proceeded to play crap, losing 3-2 and our unbeaten record at the same time. Leslie pulled off one great save, but was otherwise as unimpressive as the rest of us. He didn't ask to play again. And we were left regretting how he'd go home and not put in a good word for any of us with Catherine Z-J. Tsk, her loss. Ian Plenderleith

WSC Trivia ~ No 81

The classified adverts in the back of WSC can exert an enormous influence on people's lives. One such advertiser received this message just the other day: "Back in 1996, my father purchased a set of computer disks from you (through When Saturday Comes magazine). The disks contained a set of football (soccer) clipart. My dad has asked me to contact you through Facebook to see if there is any way we can purchase another set of that clip art – or if you have any new sets available." See? Friends for life now.

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Chic Charnley, St Mirren Panini Players Collection, 1992
"Chazza is Scotland's answer to Gazza" says the text with this picture of the St Mirren midfielder, although it's not clear whether this is intended to be a compliment. James "Chic" Charnley is renowned in Scotland, where he spent most of a playing career that included 17 red cards and several sackings. Charnley was released by his first league club St Mirren in 1982 and claimed to be disillusioned with football after quitting his second team, Ayr United, two years later. He then spent nearly three years working on a North Sea oil rig, in the process making far more money than he would have picked up as a First Division footballer. Charnley played for another three clubs before returning to St Mirren in 1991, but the team he is most closely associated with is Partick Thistle whom he joined four times. It was while training with Thistle that he was assaulted by two men, one of whom was brandishing a samurai sword. After a tussle, Charnley grabbed the sword and chased away his assailants but never explained the cause of the dispute.

At the age of 31 Charnley got a chance to play for his boyhood team, Celtic, in a pre-season testimonial for Mark Hughes at Old Trafford, during which he was photographed nutmegging a miffed-looking Eric Cantona. He was expected to sign for Celtic but the move fell through when manager Lou Macari was sacked shortly afterwards. Charnley played his final Scottish Premier League season with Hibernian at the age of 35 in 1997-98 and retired five years later after a final spell at Partick. As might be expected, he ran a pub subsequently – but not for long.

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