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7 May 2010 ~

As the General Election has proved inconclusive, the dour Scot, Bumface and the other one are set for several days of complex negotiations. But none of them have any real experience of high-level deal-making. So why not call in someone who has proved time and again that he can wrap up any type of deal and, just as importantly, can get his mates in the press to acclaim him in whatever he does. Step forward Harry "Kingmaker" Redknapp, the one man who can save Britain.

Badge of the week ~ Tulevik Viljandi
Of course, often one is tempted to be negative about a club's badge. So many are deeply tedious, so deeply, deadly, dessicatingly dull and lacking in any point of interest whatsoever that it is fortunate they are not viewed in the bath as one might slip under the water to drown and live forever in Death. It might be easier to throw your club's initials onto a background of the team's colours, but it is not diverting for the neutral, the thrill-seeker, the art lover. It is as if Andy Warhol never existed. Tulevik Viljandi are to be applauded, therefore, for the introduction of Immediacy and Verve to their badge through the medium of perspective. Here, a football bulges thrillingly against the back of a net, summoning us to the moment, the present, the Now. A blue sky beyond beckons one into the world of Tulevik Viljandi, where goals are scored quite often in a nice sunny climate and in 3D like Avatar. All it actually takes to provide such aesthetic joy is a bit of thought on the part of the designer and the courage to go spherical. Cameron Carter

from Paul Pomonis
"I've just realised that Greece's World Cup group brings together four countries – Argentina, Nigeria and South Korea being the others – that have had the dubious pleasure of receiving financial medicine from the IMF in the past decade or so. It took six years from the Olympics for Greece to go bankrupt, how long will it take for the UK do you think?"

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Parma home, 1998-99
AC Parma were never crowned champions of Europe or even Italy, but in the 1990s they were as formidable an opponent as you could hope to avoid in a knockout competition. In the final year of the decade they pulled off a Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup double in this suitably upbeat number.

Parma had breezed into Serie A nine years earlier in a white strip whose yellow and blue piping had replaced the stark black cross motif historically associated with the team. Before long they were regulars in cup finals at home and abroad, and their expensive foreign signings sported some brash, eye-catching kits before they finally struck the right note of sunny confidence with this jersey, featuring good old-fashioned hoops in rich shades.

The logo of club sponsors Parmalat was prominent throughout the years of success that they had bankrolled. Fabio Cannavaro, Juan Sebastián Verón, Hernán Crespo and company wore these shirts when demolishing Marseille in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. But only four years later that black cross would return centre stage on advertising-free shirts, seemingly in mourning at the club's fortunes in the wake of its dairy benefactor's scandalous collapse in what is still the biggest bankruptcy in European history. Duncan Young

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

from Christopher Hartman
"It pains me to say it but we might be entering the final stage of John Motson's career. He is becoming slower by the week at picking up what's happened in front of him and appears constantly surprised, like a kitten with its first bumblebee, at the evidence provided by the action replays. During a recent Spurs game he was heard to say: 'Defoe... tugged a bit there... brought down a bit there... free-kick is it?' It turned out to be, yes, a free-kick, because Jermain Defoe was quite clearly brought down a bit on the edge of the box.

A couple of weeks later and it is like he is amiably muttering to me directly as an old friend of the family: (chuckle) 'He rather scuffed it, didn't he,' and 'That was an interesting block wasn't it?'. This is both an endearing development and a worrying one because if he is going to take his commentary into the arena of thinking aloud, we could soon be discovering what lurks at the back of John Motson's mind. And I don't think I'm ready for that. (I'm still recovering from the Frank Bough scandal and that must have been a quarter of a century ago.)"

from Dan Nicholls
"Is there not a little irony about the juxtaposition of the top two news items seen on the BBC website on Thursday? Life is swings and roundabouts and football too..."

Bad enough that someone should have got themselves a large tattoo to commemorate Man City's qualification for next season's Champions League. Far worse that it declares them to be the winners. (And yes, he does look like Steven Ireland.)

from Darragh Farrell
"On checking my alma mater's Wikipedia page, I see that the Welsh department has some notable alumni."

WSC Trivia ~ No 88
The new issue of WSC is being assembled amid the chaos of an office move – we're in the same building but in bigger rooms. The various dusty items discovered underneath desks and in filing cabinets include a Corinthian figure of David Ginola (with beard), a small digeridoo, a letter from the secretary of South Liverpool FC saying "Thanks for including our worst ever season in your esteemed periodical!" and a cassette tape containing full radio commentary from a 1972 World Cup qualifier between Bulgaria and Northern Ireland – thank God that's turned up.

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Fulham FC Panini Football League 96
Some of the 15,000 Fulham fans who will travel to Hamburg see their team's Europa League final against Atlético Madrid will have been among the 2,534 who saw a 2-2 draw with Darlington on March 5, 1996. Fulham trailed 2-0 at half time but fought back for a point with goals from forward Nick Cusack and 20-year-old sub Michael Mison. That result left the club, then managed by Ian Branfoot, one place off the bottom in what is now League Two. They rallied with four wins in their last nine games pushing up them to 17th, but it was still by far their worst ever season.

During the bleak years of near-bankruptcy the "Fulham Football Club" sign across the top of the Riverside Stand lost it's first "F" so visitors appeared to be welcomed to "Ulham". Weary fans prophesied that the club would never haul itself out of the mire until the "F" was restored. In fact, the team's revival happened first. Coach Micky Adams was promoted to manager in March 1996 and took the largely unchanged team up to Division Three straight away. Adams was then jettisoned by the club's new owner Mohammed Fayed who then brought in Ray Wilkins as team manager, with Kevin Keegan given a title more suited to a cruise ship as "chief operating officer".

Fayed's subsequent boast that Fulham would become "the Manchester United of the South" never came to pass. But they may soon have a European trophy, which is more than their neighbours in west London have managed since they were taken over by a much wealthier owner.

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