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30 October 2009 ~

It has been reported that the search for new sponsors for football competitions is becoming desperate. But while a replacement has yet to be found for Eon as backers of the FA Cup, we have heard that the Football League is confident of securing a new deal when their contract with Coca-Cola runs out next summer. After a highly competitive bidding process, the shortlist has been narrowed down to three - Lidl, Poundstretcher and Finger Lickin' Chicken.

Badge of the week ~ Academica Coimbra
There are two possibilities here: either this is a bird's eye view of a particularly notable roundabout in this Portuguese town or a standard facing view of a particularly notable tower-like structure. If we take the first option, perhaps we interpret that the region is famous for being the first in the country to introduce roundabouts that go nowhere except the same way you came in. At the time this was possibly seen as an exciting innovation, meaning one could go for a day trip in the family car, without actually reaching anywhere, thereby saving money and fuel. If we take the other option, the crest appears to commemorate a black and lightless tower. Here, perhaps, a government sentinel is posted, scanning the urban landscape for immoral activity, silent in his task except for Michael Bublé playing at a very low volume. This would be a lonely job and also a very unsatisfying one, as most immoral activity is allowed in Portugal apart from using your mother’s bathwater and winking at dogs. Whatever the correct interpretation, this is a dark, a bleak, a monochrome affair, surely representative of a team that does not go out there to entertain. Cameron Carter

Looking for a venue for your office Christmas party? Then why not drop in on the launch of Rio Ferdinand's Live The Dream Foundation. This will feature appearances by James Corden, Robbie Williams and the ubiquitous Gordon Brown, taking time off from whatever it is he does to "rub shoulders" with top soccer names. Prepare some Raith Rovers-related banter beforehand in case Big Gordy drops by at your table.

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Derry City home, 1989-91
In 1934, six years after the club formed, Derry City adopted red and white stripes in honour of their manager Billy Gillespie who had been a legendary player for Sheffield United. Despite a tumultuous history - expulsion from the Irish League (in the North) in 1972, a spell in the wilderness before admittance to the League of Ireland (in the South) in 1985 - the club have retained the red and white striped home kit for almost every season.

This 1989-91 kit reflects Derry's rising stock within the League of Ireland. It was introduced after the club claimed a historic treble and was also the strip that Derry City wore on their European Cup debut, where they faced Sven-Göran Eriksson's Benfica. The kit breaks from previous designs, a plain white sleeve with distinctive Adidas three-stripe motif replacing the unbroken striped pattern of seasons past. It also heralds a change of sponsors, from Northlands (a local charity dedicated to helping those suffering from alcoholism) to Smithwicks (a Northern Irish ale). City's current kit reflects the club's precarious financial state - recession pressure forced former sponsor Meteor Electrical into administration with the shortfall being made up by local businesses whose names currently feature on the club's shirt. Ciaran McCauley

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

from Tom Hoyle

"Here's a transcript, available on the Russian government website, of a videoconference between with Vladimir Putin, Silvio Berlusconi and their Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In just one conversation, these three men laid the foundations for solving all our strategic hydrocarbon challenges - but, for Berlusconi, it has come at the unacceptable price of hurting Spanish footballing pride."

Berlusconi Tayyip, I also embrace you and hope that you'll congratulate me on Milan's win over Real Madrid yesterday.
Erdogan Dear friends, dear Mr Putin, dear Silvio. First of all, I send you greetings from Turkey with the most sincere sentiments. And I congratulate dear Silvio on Milan's win.
Putin In a follow-up to the football topic, which Silvio touched on, I'd like to say that Russia has something to be proud of too. One of the Russian clubs, Rubin from the Republic of Tatarstan, won a critical victory over Barcelona, a team that commands a great deal of respect in the football community. The last goal was scored by a Turkish player, which we would like to thank Turkey for.
Berlusconi Aren't we complicating international relations, specifically with Spain?
Putin I intentionally said that Barcelona commands a great deal of respect. A lot of Russian fans like this team. But that's sports. This time the Russian team Rubin turned out stronger. I would like to reiterate that it was thanks in no small part to a Turkish player.
Berlusconi My congratulations, but nevertheless I will have to talk to the Spanish Prime Minister.
Erdogan As far as the Spanish Prime Minister is concerned, to my mind, there's no need to get upset. Football is a sport, and the result of a game is unpredictable.
Putin I agree. I'm sure our Spanish counterpart won't get angry with us.

from Peter Thompson
"As a Spurs fan Micky Hazard was one of my minor idols of the mid-1980s. After all, he had scored the winning goal in the 1984 UEFA Cup semi-final against Hadjuk Split while also losing a contact lens into the bargain. Once I saw him in a chip shop just outside the ground, at the head of a group of what I assumed were either reserves or players recovering from injury. Hazard ordered pie, fish and chips and the others went pretty much the same way. Even then I was amazed that a professional athlete could gorge up, while I who played table tennis on a Saturday morning would not dare. But I am not now a cabbie as I believe Micky is."

from Martyn Ruscoe
"According to Wikipedia the formerly reclusive front man of The La's is now gainfully employed in League Two."

WSC Trivia ~ No 82

Our office gets cleaned every night, or possibly early in the morning, by a team of cleaners we've never seen. They're getting a bit too eager. Last week they threw away a week's worth of newspapers collected for use in the regular Newswatch feature. Now they have come close to an act of wanton destruction. We keep a lifesize cutout figure of the WSC logo of a man running with a ball. Yesterday, a message was taped to his head: "Is this rubbish? Pls let us know." Gah. We may have to start taking him home every night.



Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Winston Bogarde, Holland Panini France 98
A common complaint about modern footballers is that they can earn a fortune for achieving very little. Dutch defender Winston Bogarde went further by being paid for doing nothing at all. Bogarde joined Ajax from Sparta Rotterdam in 1994 and a year later made his debut for Holland, going on to play at Euro 96 and the World Cup in France. By this time he had moved to Barcelona, where former Ajax coach Louis van Gaal was assembling a predominantly Dutch side.

Bogarde's career took off in a strange direction when he agreed a £40,000-a-week contract with Chelsea in the summer of 2000. Barcelona were prepared to let him go on a free transfer, which added weight to rumours that he had fallen out with some team-mates. The manager who signed him for Chelsea, Gianluca Vialli, left a few weeks later. Vialli's successor Claudio Ranieri rarely picked Bogarde who played just nine times in his first season. He then remained at Stamford Bridge for another three years without playing a single League match.

"As far as I am concerned Chelsea are committed to pay me the salary they offered me," Bogarde said in explaining why he resisted the club's attempts to sell him. "First they didn't give me a squad number, then I had to train with the youngsters. But they apparently don't know that this just makes me stronger." He left Chelsea aged 33 in 2004 and retired the following year after Ajax decided against re-signing him. Bogarde's autobiography This Black Man Bows For No One offers a lengthy defence of his decision to hold Chelsea to their contract. He now works for Surinamese charities and plays poker in his spare time.

Last week's Stickipedia suggested that Peter Shilton was the last goalkeeper to wear all-white. Some Howl readers recall seeing Neville Southall and Peter Schmeichel following suit - but they don't seem to have been on a winning team when doing so. It's a curse.

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