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30 April 2010 ~

Fabio Capello has not yet said how he will make the official announcement of his World Cup squad. All that has been revealed so far is that it won't be a showbiz jamboree involving DJ Spoony at the Cafe Royal, as in 2006. However, there is a strong rumour that Fabio will reveal his list exclusively to his favourite media source. We can't say any more except that you should keep checking regularly on wsc.co.uk at the start of June. (Very hush hush, this.)

Badge of the week ~ Vörös Lobogó
Vörös Lobogó was one of the names that MTK Budapest were required to adopt during the 1950s. What badge-fanciers will recognise immediately about this specimen is the vivacity and mobility of the piece. One is put in mind of Turner's Rain, Steam and Speed, such is the dramatic flurry of movement here. Clearly, Vörös Lobogó's message concerned the care needed when pulling one's blinds at eventide. Too tentative a touch and the blind won't budge, leaving neighbours with the option to ogle you as they pass. A hefty yank, on the other hand, and the whole caboodle will come off the wall – as it has done in the image – leaving the perpetrator frozen on the point of tears with weary frustration. Even the competent halfway-house tug will often result in the thing ruckling down significantly further on one side than the other, demanding ten minutes of intricate cord work before a workable equilibrium is reached. This writhing, living image really grabs the viewer and rams home an important social message. For pity's sake leave yourself ten minutes prior to retiring for the night before closing the blinds, because it won't happen on the first pull. Cameron Carter

How best to celebrate Newcastle's Championship triumph? One option would be to snap up a "stainless steel chronograph" that provides "the reassuring feel of quality on your wrist". A snip at £159.

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Peterborough United home, 1992-93
To many Peterborough fans this shirt represents the high point of the last 30 years. Promotion from Division Four in 1990-91 was followed by play-off victory at Wembley the following year with an ex-player as manager and a mixture of journeymen in the team. We also had a local sponsor in the Peterborough-based Thomas Cook and a kit made by Posh Leisure, a company set up by the club. Derby and Leicester were both beaten away in 1992-93 on the way to 11th place in Division One, still our highest-ever finish. Sadly, the energy and team spirit we showed in those three years wore out during the following season as we finished bottom of Division One. Several managers were then hired and fired before the arrival of the infamous Barry Fry in 1996.

Posh have had plain blue shirts since trying an Argentina-style striped kit to coincide with the 1978 World Cup finals. There have been variations on a theme with larger dollops of white on the sleeves and bib but, if you ignore the red vomit away shirt in the late 1990s, the team have kept their sartorial pride throughout. We propped up the Championship again in 2009-10 but in an internationally branded shirt – the days of the local supplier seemingly gone for good. Darren Fletcher

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

Surprising news about Kevin Kyle, who recently came close to joining the current Russian league leaders and alleged sheep worriers:

"Previously Spartak Nalchik were the epitome of mid-table mediocrity. The only time they hit the headlines last season was amid controversy when they faced Spartak Moscow and were confronted by a banner suggesting an over-fondness for the sheep which are traditionally farmed in Caucasus.

That sparked a row which led to the president of Kabardino-Balkaria fuming that this bit of sporting banter had insulted not just the players, officials and supporters of the team, but the entire population of the republic.

But the first signs of a sporting surge emerged in the close season. Followers of British football won't remember much of occasional Scottish international striker Kevin Kyle – an awkward, angular battering ram of a forward who showed whole-hearted effort in spells with Sunderland, Coventry, Hartlepool and Kilmarnock.

Nonetheless, attempting to lure him to Nalchik represented a new level of ambition for a side which had previously built its squads around local talent, plus the occasional stray youngster from South America. Kyle even turned out in a couple of trial matches before saying no, claiming he didn't want to move his family and wouldn't play in Russia for $100,000 (£65,000) a week."

from James Waterson
"Further to the searching Q&A with Andrei Arshavin in last week's Howl, it's always nice to see players from lower down the leagues reveal a bit of themselves in player profiles."

from Andy Fraser
"Looks like someone's been at Neville Southall's Wiki page."

from Andrew Thomas
"In response to Stuart Saint's Ketsbaia-on-Wikipedia spot, I can confirm that – while I haven't been editing his entry – I have sung his name to the tune of Sex on Fire at the top of my voice in a pub, much to the surprise of a number of Kings of Leon fans. Sadly, they'd never heard of him and my drunken attempts to explain who he was only made things more confusing.

I'm told it went something like: 'Footballer. Newcastle. Bald. Kicked an advert. From Georgia, or something. Not the one in America. Is that where the Kings of Leon are from? Why did they shave their beards off?' The encounter only reinforced my belief that the Kings of Leon, and all their fans, are rubbish."

There was a time when a televised Aston Villa game would invariably involve an appearance from one of their best-known supporters, violinist Nigel Kennedy who was marketed as "the bad boy of classical music". Nigel's faux-blokey mannerisms have been off our screens for a while as he's been living in Poland. But he'll back at the end of May with a musical score to accompany a screening of the 1973 World Cup qualifier between England and his current home. Nigel may well pop up before the big day to declare that it's going to be "proper mental". In the meantime, his people are making quite a big claim on his behalf: "Kennedy, whose live sessions on the electric violin have the intensity of guitar hero Jimi Hendrix performances, is the music world's biggest football fan. He said: 'Musicians are musicians, but football takes place in front of tens of thousands of people.'" That's so true.

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Vic Halom, Sunderland Wonderful World of Soccer Stars 1973-74
It has long been assumed that professional footballers tend to vote Conservative. In 1972, author Hunter Davies conducted a survey of political opinions among Spurs players for his book The Glory Game and found just three Labour supporters. Of these, only Steve Perryman seemed to consider himself to be a Socialist on principle. The other two, Cyril Knowles and Ralph Coates, put their affiliation down to growing up in working class communities in the north-east. Davies repeated the survey among players shortlisted for England's 1982 World Cup squad and found two Labour voters – Perryman again and Graham Rix – with one other exception among the ardent Tories, Glenn Hoddle, who said he voted Liberal.

The Liberal Democrats' surge in the 2010 election campaign might involve their picking up some of the football vote. But only one former player that we know of has been actively involved with the Liberal party in recent times. That was Vic Halom, the centre-forward in Sunderland's 1973 FA Cup-winning team, who stood as the party's candidate in Sunderland North in the 1992 General Election. Halom didn't derive much benefit from having been a popular player at Roker Park in the 1970s – he came a distant third in the solid Labour seat. But given the uncertainty surrounding the formation of the next government don't be surprised to see Vic given a floating role in Nick Clegg's first cabinet.

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