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28 May 2010 ~

While they are busy dealing with the fallout from the messy departure of Lord Triesman the FA have somehow found the time to endorse a salad. The press release includes what could be a cheeky euphemism – "add it to your burnt burger and make your missus happy" – while the man who sealed the deal is rightly proud of himself: "To be associated with the top name in bagged salads is a fantastic addition to the FA's ever-expanding licensing portfolio."

Badge of the week ~ Club Deportivo Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba
To refer to person or thing as "boring" is of course inadequate. There are many shades of Boring, myriad hues, a thousand points on the spectrum. An Arrowroot biscuit is Flat and Uninspiring, Metal Machine Music by Lou Reed is revolutionarily dull, while a progress report by the Head of IT is insanely tedious (especially when there are lambs and bluebirds visible through the window who didn't have to attend). As a young club, Godoy Cruz (for that is how they are known today by people in a hurry) were named, simply, Sportivo Godoy Cruz. When they merged with another club in 1930 they became Club Deportivo Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba, which sounds extremely haughty and grand but is actually the equivalent of someone called Gemma Higginbotham getting married to Ian Butterworth and going round calling themselves Mr and Mrs Higginbotham-Butterworth like minor European royalty (and I know there's no reason why the woman should lose her name as a result of going through the traditionally patriarchal institution of marriage but they love it, these people, they love it). Anyway, the resulting club badge is a bland corporate pinstripe with one of the dullest, fussiest, most unusable acronyms in the world. The tedium bar has been raised once again. Cameron Carter

from Chris Hill

"A closer inspection of the seller of the Villa pants (in last week's Howl) reveals it is none other than Dutch former footballer Gus Uhlenbeek (probably). Check his completed items and you'll see he's sold off a load of football memorabilia, presumably from his time plying his trade in the English lower leagues. And also quite a lot of kinky Ann Summers stuff. 

Getting shirty
Notable kits of yesteryear

Wolverhampton Wanderers home, 1996-98
Wolves' unique and distinguished colours usually lend themselves to a simple shirt design. Inevitably there have been exceptions and this shirt from 1996 could indeed be described as some sort of classic.

It is based entirely on the celebrated Wanderers' wolf head symbol, which is reproduced in a distinctly mustard-coloured panel right across the chest and cut brutally into the collar. Then there are hundreds of little wolves woven into it – giving a slightly woozy effect when inspected closely. Of course, all of this creativity is completely lost when it is actually worn. The shirt is absolutely enormous (I suppose to accommodate and preserve the approximate proportions of the original symbol design) and even a muscular figure like Steve Bull would be completely lost in its tent-like majesty. What it did for the 17-year-old frail-looking Robbie Keane can only be left to the imagination.

Incredibly the shirt survived for two full seasons and now serves as an appropriate testimony to then manager Mark McGhee's stilted ambitions. Jim Heath

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

from Stephen Dale
"I attended yesterday's launch of ITV's World Cup coverage, which may have revealed the power relationships set to play out in their high-tech studio overlooking Soccer City. Adrian Chiles coped self-deprecatingly as the obvious centre of attention. Matt Smith, offsetting an expensive suit with tatty trainers, shuffled around by the tea and biscuit table free of hangers on, left with no alternative but to fall deep in conversation with Peter Drury. Andy Townsend worked the room in familiar blokey fashion, while the surprisingly tall Gareth Southgate stood bolt upright and spoke to one person at a time. Disappointingly for Gareth, none of these appeared to be Championship chairmen, poised to offer him new employment."

from David Senior
"A recent Stickipedia mentioned the various uncapped players to have been included in England World Cup squads. This led me to wonder which player has come closest to being capped without actually getting onto the field.

In 1965 Vic Mobley, a centre-half with my club, Sheffield Wednesday, was named in a team for a friendly international on the day before the match but then got injured in training and was never called up again. I think something similar happened to Billy Bonds in Ron Greenwood's early days as England manager in 1977. (The injury that ultimately ended Dean Ashton's career occurred in an England training session but he did at least get a cap.)

I have a vague recollection of a mid-1980s England match in which the uncapped Simon Stainrod, then with QPR, was warming up to come on, having taken off his tracksuit top. Then the player he was to replace scored and was subsequently kept on the field. Has anyone got closer than that – maybe having their studs checked by the linesman when the manager changed his mind?"

from Mike Bayly
"Who would have thought trucking could open up such a new and exciting world? Unfortunately the Wikipedia article omits to mention whether Alan Gilzean has any other obscure lookalikes on his firm. Perhaps a mechanic who passes for Roger Cook or a tea lady who doubles as Paul Mariner."

Buy Stirling Albion, the supporters' trust aiming to achieve 100 per cent ownership of their club have created a web-based version of Spot The Ball. In its heyday the pictures used for this tended to be black-and-white shots of a dogged aerial battle at the Baseball Ground but the Stirling one is thoroughly modern. Of the £100,000 jackpot, half will go the winner and half to the campaign fund. Play here.

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Ian Holloway, QPR Merlin Premier League 95
Reading the coverage given to Blackpool's dramatic win in the Championship play-off final you could be forgiven for thinking that the Premier League will be an entirely new experience for Ian Holloway. While he is a novice as a top-level manager, Holloway did at least have some experience there as a player in four seasons with QPR. He moved to Loftus Road in 1991 after the first of three spells with Bristol Rovers where he was seen as the key figure in their 1989-90 Division Three promotion side. At QPR he was a dogged, energetic midfielder whose primary purpose was to win the ball and give it to Ray Wilkins – a role that was more often performed by Simon Barker, though the two occasionally played together in central midfield.

Holloway returned to Rovers as player-manager in 1996 and stayed for five years during which he acquired a reputation for quotability, which was built on in subsequent spells at Plymouth and Leicester. Nonetheless, he clearly reined himself in during Blackpool's steady ascent up the Championship table, so predictions that he will be "the new Phil Brown" next season may prove to be wide of the mark.

Each manager of the Championship play-off winners since 2003-04 has left their club within the next two years. Whatever happens to Holloway during next season, he won't be short of offers to turn his experiences in the Premier League into a book. Let's hope whatever is produced is better than the one reviewed in WSC 250.

Thanks to Anthony Hobbs and Jim Gwinnell.

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