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30 July 2010 ~

An unforeseen effect of England's failure at the World Cup is that several thousand gold-plated iPods signed by Frank Lampard are to be melted down. "We may have over-ordered," said a spokesman for the manufacturers, Goldgenie. "But that's no reflection on Frank's popularity." Au contraire.

Badge of the week
After the horror of last week's "fun" badge from Canada, we spread our net further – to the fabled land of China, in fact – to find a badge with real cojones (cojones is a Spanish word meaning "someone who knows only one word of a language and uses it constantly"). This is a brilliant badge. Not only do we have a tiger but it is a big tiger with its own agenda, sprawling outside the confines of the badge perimeter, looking for trouble. He is probably the sort of tiger who goes looking for trouble anyway but he is definitely angered here because someone has set fire to his nest. Some tigers you find on badges are holding a sword sheepishly or apparently performing a step dance at a bus stop, but this one is proper business. This image represents the difference between a great badge and a poor badge, the same difference between a call-to-arms and a business card. Excellent work, Guangzhou Evergrande. Cameron Carter

from Matt Grapes
"Although Cameron Carter is quite right to mock the truly awful Montreal Impact badge I think he may have missed a point. Montreal play against other Canadian teams so they can't all go for the moose/mountie or beaver/lumberjack option. Of course as a proud Québécois, Francophone city the fleur de lys was chosen to reflect the French heritage of Montreal. So perhaps if the moose was wearing a beret, blockading a port or refusing to train at a World Cup he'd be on to a winner?"

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Swindon Town home, 1991-92
In mid-July, Swindon Town revealed their new strip. For those of you who missed it – which I find hard to believe – it's basically the one Middlesbrough wore last season. It wasn't always this way. There was a time when the launch of a new kit was met with surprise and hope and mild nausea.

In the summer of 1991, Swindon were still recovering from an enforced demotion the previous year, the result of being found guilty of financial irregularities. Sensing the need to move on, the club unveiled a new badge, which looked like it had been lifted from the letterhead of a local air conditioning manufacturer, and a new kit which incorporated green piping to the traditional red strip. Nothing says progression like green piping. The shirt was manufactured by a company called "Diamond Leisure" (although the label on mine read "Posh Leisure") and was unblemished with a sponsor until Burmah Oil, whose head offices were in the town, stepped in.

The shirt was worn during one of Swindon's most successful periods, as player-manager Glenn Hoddle led the team to promotion to the Premier League, playing the kind of attractive passing football seldom seen at the County Ground before or since (not by Swindon anyway).

The away shirt featured a challenging green and white "potato print" pattern. In this pre-internet era, fans had little say in kit design and were at the mercy of self-indulgent designers apparently intent on showcasing their children's finger paintings. Yes, it looked like an infant had puked Play-Doh into a book of wallpaper samples, but at least it was original. We knew Bernie Slaven hadn't been sweating in it for a year. David Squires

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

Older Howl readers may know that Roger Moore's outfits in the 1970s action series The Persuaders were credited to The Total Look of Debenhams. From now on, Ashley Cole and team-mates will be kitted out aprés match by The Total Look of Chelsea as concocted by Dolce & Gabbana – they've even got their own "blue leather trolley-case". A point omitted from the article is that failure to abide by the dress code will be punishable by death.

If there really was an official World Cup song, surely it wouldn't have been entrusted to 1960s relic Jess Conrad, as Wikipedia would have us believe. That's unless he provided part of the soundtrack to Sepp Blatter's carefree Alpine youth.

from Stephen Thacker
"In the excitement of the signing of Sol Campbell, the Newcastle Evening Chronicle let slip that: 'Sources close to the new Toon defender say he is keen to pursue his off-the-field interest in architecture in the area.' But Sol has recently married Fiona Barrett, interior designer and grand daughter of the founder of the Barrett Homes dynasty. Maybe Newcastle's latest defensive colossus will simply be spending more time nosing around the bland family housing estates of the Tyne Valley."

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Tony Coleman, Manchester City Wonderful World of Soccer Stars, 1968-69
Manchester City have spent upwards of £100 million this summer in the hope of cracking the top four. A key player in the last City team to win the League cost them just £12,350. That was the fee they paid to Doncaster Rovers in March 1967 for left-winger Tony Coleman. The player once described by City's assistant manager Malcolm Allison as "a parole officer's nightmare" had already acquired a reputation for waywardness. At the age of 21, Coleman had been with four League clubs and had two spells in non-League, where he supplemented his income by working on an ice cream van. He made an immediate impact at City, however, scoring eight goals in 38 games in his first full season as they took the title by two points from Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Coleman's erratic nature had been highlighted in an FA Cup third round tie with Reading. City were being held 0-0 at home when they won a penalty a few minutes from time. Regular taker Francis Lee placed the ball on the spot and walked back to take the kick, at which point Coleman hared in and blasted the ball over the bar, before explaining to a furious Lee that he "just felt like it". City won the replay 7-0.

The following year, Coleman, who always ran with his shirt cuffs held tightly in his hands, starred in City's FA Cup run which ended with their beating Leicester 1-0 in the final. By the start of 1969-70 season, however, his fondness for partying led to him being put up for sale. Coleman spent the next two seasons in the First Division with Sheffield Wednesday and Blackpool, both of whom were relegated, then moved to South Africa's whites-only National Football League. On returning to the UK in 1974, still only 27, he had three years in the lower divisions with Southport and Stockport then drifted back into non-League. He is now living in Australia and recently put his FA Cup winner's medal up for sale. City fan Mark E Smith once said that if he was ever to write a song about a specific footballer, Tony Coleman would be the obvious choice.

from Mike Ticher
"I hope it's true that Alan Mayes did not 'bear any scars' from Chelsea's barren run in 1981-82, as last week's Howl said. After ten games of his spell there, having scored four goals, he was already nervously admitting to the club programme that 'no player likes getting "stick" from the crowd'. I can't remember any Chelsea player getting more moronic abuse from spotty teenagers, even though he ended up scoring a respectable 24 goals in 76 games (including this one at QPR on Boxing Day 1981) in one of the worst Chelsea teams of all time. Sorry, Alan, that was me."

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