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14 May 2010 ~

David Beckham delivered England's official bid document for the 2018 World Cup to FIFA's Sepp Blatter today. It's a whopping 1,752 pages – Sepp had to bend his knees during the handover. It might sound like a lot to plough through but the FA's 2018 team have done all they can to make it easy for FIFA's executive committee. It comprises a few pages on each venue, an exciting graphic novel in which Sherlock Holmes and the Beatles coach Stonehenge's football team to an unlikely FA Cup win and around 800 pages of top quality photos of Becks and his family relaxing in many of England's most picturesque locations. What can possibly go wrong?

Badge of the week ~ Dungannon Swifts
To the inexperienced, this badge's meaning could be difficult to fathom. A bird, possibly a swallow (although it could be a bluebird with one of those leisure stripes they all seem to have these days), is gliding above a National Trust heritage site and a horseshoe-shaped B-road. The answer lies in the complicated procedure employed for road surveys used by the highways department in Northern Irish local government. When a problem with a stretch of road is reported to the department, the first response is always to note the location and code the level of severity. Green would be for a pothole, amber would be for a spilled load and red would be, say, for George Michael driving home from a slumber party.

The second stage of response would be to send out the departmental swallow or bluebird to make a fly-over reconnaissance of the area and wait for his or her report (produced through a bird translator from Parks & Leisure). Most highways departments don't use birds for this sort of work anymore as it is very hard to pin them down to permanent contracts but this one has done his job, recognising instantly that the problem with this road is that it doesn't go anywhere. On closer inspection of the club's name, however, one deduces that this bird is actually a swift, which symbolises speed. Sheffield Wednesday, on the other hand, have an owl, but the first ten yards are in the head. Cameron Carter

from Harry Pearson
"The jacket of Mark Chapman's new book says: 'In Heroes, Hairbands and Hissy Fits, Mark Chapman (Chappers to you and me) traces his love affair with football... With his trademark humour and a fair bit of ranting – he can be a bit short-tempered, and is a Manc, after all – Chappers takes on all those football irritants that really get under our skin. By turns hilarious and heartwarming, and always hard-tackling, Chappers' brilliant take on the modern game is the story of how, despite everything, football is our life'. Strangely one of the irritants Chappers doesn't address is self-mythologising radio presenters with arsey nicknames. Or Tim Lovejoy."

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

FC Porto home, 2002-03
José Mourinho's first season at FC Porto could hardly have gone better – Portuguese title, Taça de Portugal and Supertaça plus the UEFA Cup. The triumphs coincided with the adoption of this striped shirt, a throwback to the early days of the club, although the very first strip was red shirts and blue shorts. In the 1920s, Porto switched to the more familiar wide blue-and-white stripes which were to become something of a trademark.

In 2000, Kappa gave way to Nike, and in the year before Mourinho's arrival, Blackburn-like halves proved a bad luck charm in a season that brought Porto no silverware and a weedy third place in the Liga, behind Sporting and local rivals Boavista. The broad stripes were back in 2003-04 as Mourinho led Os Dragões to the Portuguese title, the Supertaça and, of course, the Champions League, this time missing out only on the Taça de Portugal.

Revigrês is a northern company that manufactures tiles and other ceramic ware. It became FC Porto's, and indeed Portugal's, first shirt sponsor in 1983, a year after Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa (still there today) became club president. From 2003-04, the sponsorship agreement was amended; Revigrês appeared only in European games, replaced by the Portugal Telecom (PT) logo domestically. Many portistas were disappointed by the change: Revigrês was seen as being part of the image of the club during the 1980s and 90s as it grew into a dominant force in the Portuguese game. It was also far more pleasing on the eye than the clashing PT logo. It appeared on shirts for the last time in 2006-07. Phil Town

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

If your pets have not yet shown any interest in the World Cup, you should consider treating them to some of the items on sale here. The squeaky dog bone claims to be "in the shape of Wayne Rooney" but that would only be the case if his bottom half ended in an enormous pair of testicles.

from Rich McDermott
"It seems to me that football reporters see it as their duty to keep alive cultural reference points that might otherwise slip out of the national consciousness. No opportunity is spurned, for example, when it comes to mentioning a certain missing peer. Here's David McVay of the Sunday Telegraph reporting on Wolves' draw with Blackburn at the end of April:

Rumours circulating in the Black Country suggested that many collectors of rare items had abandoned all hope of seeing Wolverhampton Wanderers score a goal at Molineux and instead had turned their attention to tracking down Lord Lucan.

Did the the Seventh Earl of Lucan realise as he stole away into the Belgravia night after committing murder in 1974 that he would prove to be of such durable use 36 years on? Yes, perhaps he did, the swine."

from Stephen Turner
"While Raymond Domenech has been known not to select players because of their star sign, according to Wikipedia it appears he has no such problems when it comes to looks."

Chelsea may have celebrated but the outcome of this year's Premier League is not yet clear-cut.

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Alan Foggon, Middlesbrough FKS Soccer Stars 75-76
The information with Alan Foggon's card says that he was 5ft 9ins and weighed 13 st 3lbs. In his first appearance in a sticker album, as a Newcastle player six years earlier, Foggon weighed 12 stone. This was on the heavy side given that he was a winger at the time – he had been converted to a striker by the time he joined Middlesbrough in 1972 after a brief spell with Cardiff. The subsequent weight gain might have been down to a glandular problem. More likely is that it was connected to the fact Foggon became known for frequenting pubs near Middlesbrough's ground up to an hour before kick-off on matchdays.

A popular article in the early days of WSC – Foggon The Tees by Phil Douglass – celebrated his contribution to Jack Charlton's successful Boro side of the mid-1970s in issue 25 (March 1989): "When he started to trundle no one could stop him"; "He could steam down the wing like a double-sized Stuart Ripley". Indeed, his speed when running on to a ball struck over the top of the defence by Bobby Murdoch or Graeme Souness was a key factor in Boro winning the Division Two title in 1973-74. After scoring 45 League goals in just over 100 games for Boro, Foggon, now 26, moved on to Man Utd in the summer of 1976. But his career then came off the rails. He stayed at Old Trafford for just two months during which he made only three appearances as a substitute. He then completed the north-east treble by joining Sunderland but played just seven games in a year before short spells with Southend and Hartlepool. Alan has since been reported to have followed his instincts and become a publican in County Durham.

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