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27 November 2009 ~

John Terry has hired a PR company to get commercial work in the build-up to the World Cup. They say "John is available to create effective brand awareness and endorse products globally". We may need someone with a nice big voice to sell WSC outside key tourist spots in central London, but he has to promise not to cry if he doesn't shift his consignment.

Badge of the week
There are quite a few dull badges around – those with just the club name on the team colours, maybe a star thrown in if you're lucky – but few rivalled that of Stiinta Cluj (now known as Universitatea Cluj) for energy-sapping tedium. Having considered all the options open to them with which to represent their city, the club opted for their name on beige. They attempted to make the whole thing a little racier by having the Cluj part run downwards in visual opposition to the horizontal Stiinta but really this is not taking us much further forward in terms of stimulation. In fact it's a bit like Dave Pearce referring to himself as "Dangerous" Dave Pearce because he used to cue up dance music on the radio in a baseball cap. On closer inspection, it's not even interesting enough to be a pure beige; the dominant colour here is that of a dog turd when the subject has been fed predominantly on a diet of pasta and cottage cheese. If Stiinta Cluj were a bit more daring they would have gone the whole hog and use an old Council Planning Application Notice as their crest. If you're going to be drab and lacklustre, why not really throw yourself into it? Cameron Carter

from Ian Beecham
"I'm all in favour of footballers doing things together for charity if it helps to build team spirit. This seems to be the case at Burnley who are going along nicely in the league while their players attempt to grow moustaches as part of the 'Movember' cancer awareness campaign. Steve Caldwell's tache-growing attempt was mentioned in the Sun's report on the game with Villa ('he is taking plenty of "lip stick" from pals') which included a rather odd quote: 'It's about 56 days of not shaving but it's bum fluff! I won't be getting attached to it – I'll just get a cat and have it lick it off!' Is that the sort of thing that cats do in Burnley? Could he not just use a razor? It just sounds a bit unseemly, even decadent."

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Southampton home, 1980-83
Southampton's home shirts have always featured variations of red and white. After sashes, quarters and halves were discarded, along with the "St Mary's" part of the club's name, it was regular stripes exclusively from 1896 onwards. Then, after the FA Cup win in 1976, the word went round that a new shirt would be unveiled at Wembley for the Charity Shield match against Liverpool. This was created by Admiral and consisted of thick and thin stripes which might best be described as "jazzy" and saw the club through the next four seasons, including promotion to Division One in 1978.

Traditionalists who were alarmed by candy stripes were outraged at the next change, introduced in 1980 by Patrick. It would be stretching the point to argue that the main design theme had been maintained via one very wide white stripe. Any complaints were forgotten, though, as this shirt coincided with the arrival of Kevin Keegan and the club's most successful period – they were top of the League for seven weeks in 1982. In total the shirt was worn for five seasons, carrying the Rank Xerox logo for the first three, then Air Florida and finally Draper Tools. Tim Manns

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

from Gavin Willacy
Re the Preston shirt featured last week. Martin Atherton forgets that the acid wallpaper design was dumped in the play-offs. We finally got to Wembley for the first time since 1964 only to get hammered by Martin O'Neill's Wycombe Wanderers. It was a strange day. Manager John Beck dropped our stalwart centre-back Stuart Hicks on the way to the stadium and stuck youth teamer Jamie Squires in alongside David Moyes to mark Simon Garner. We also wore a brand new yellow, navy blue and white striped kit. Rather nice it was too. We wore it the following season when the team featured a certain D Beckham on loan. I still wear my version with Beckham 4 on the back to August away games every now and then.

This week in history ~ Premier League, November 28, 1992


With the decisive third goal scored by midfielder Daryl Sutch, Norwich inflicted Aston Villa's first defeat in 13 games. Mike Walker's side were top until February when a 3-0 defeat at Southampton pushed them down to third, where they finished. They were relegated two seasons later and have only spent one season in the Premier League since.

Villa, managed by Ron Atkinson, also had a spell at the top in the spring but ended as runners-up, ten points behind champions Man Utd. This was the first season for their strike partnership of Dean Saunders and Dalian Atkinson, which lasted until 1995 when Atkinson left for Fenerbahce.

The decisive moment in Man Utd's season came two days before these fixtures when they spent £1.2 million on Eric Cantona from reigning champions Leeds. He was to score nine goals in 21 games. Mark Hughes, who got the winner at Arsenal, was top scorer with 15. Peter Schmeichel and Steve Bruce were ever-presents in a side in which another five players missed either one or two games.

Nigel Clough scored Forest's goal in their defeat by Southampton. They finished bottom, their cause not having been helped by selling Teddy Sheringham to Spurs in late August. That deal, later mentioned in a court case between Terry Venables and Alan Sugar, popularised "bung" as a football expression. Brian Clough retired at the end of the season while Roy Keane left for Man Utd.

Oldham were five points behind 17th-placed Palace with three games left but stayed up on goal difference after a trio of victories, culminating in a 4-3 defeat of Southampton on the final day. Palace were relegated at Highbury where their former player Ian Wright scored in a 3-0 win.

Alan Shearer scored Blackburn's goal in their defeat of QPR; they were to finish fourth and fifth respectively. QPR's Les Ferdinand was second top scorer with 20 League goals, two behind Sheringham.

from Stuart Jones
"Antoine Sibierski's Wikipedia entry describes the long-standing bond between himself and Fabien Barthez."

To promote their new football credit cards MBNA commissioned a poll "which looks at the lengths football fans go to when supporting their teams". There will be plenty about this in the press as it's packed with the usual stories of fans who have "shrines" to their clubs at home. Among the case histories, however, there's Lee, a Man City supporter who says: "I have missed many important family occasions including my sister-in-law's fiancé's stag weekend and countless birthdays. I even bought my original Maine Road season ticket seats so that, on the very few occasions I am unable to make it to a game, I can recreate the ground in my lounge." Is it possible, do you think, that Lee might be having them on?

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Julian Joachim Merlin's Premier League 1995 & Trevor Benjamin Merlin's Premier League 2001
Even though he's not a first choice for his club, Emile Heskey seems set to be included in England's 2010 World Cup squad. Meanwhile, his former partner at Leicester and the player bought to replace him are both trundling on in non-League football. Julian Joachim won nine Under-21 caps while at Leicester City for whom he made his League debut aged 18 in 1992. After five years at Villa he dropped into the Championship with Coventry and Leeds then slipped down to League Two with his hometown club Boston Utd. After spells at Darlington and Kings Lynn, he's now back in Leicestershire with Quorn FC of the Northern Premier Division One South. According to his Wikipedia entry Julian's middle name is Jostin but we're prepared to trust our musty old reference books that claim it's Kevin.

Trevor Benjamin was also capped by England at Under-21 level in 2001 shortly after joining Leicester from Cambridge Utd. New manager Peter Taylor tried to reshape the team he inherited from Martin O'Neill but Benjamin was one of several signings that failed to come off and the club were relegated. He spent a further three seasons at Leicester during which he was regularly sent out on loan while also picking up a couple of full caps for Jamaica. Still only 30, Benjamin has now played for 24 different teams including 16 in the League – a record for an outfield player. This season alone he appeared for three non-League clubs, with Woking his latest port of call. Still, if it wasn't for the fact that he opted for Jamaica in 2002, he'd be about fourth in line for the England World Cup squad in the event of Emile picking up an injury.

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