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6 August 2010 ~
You'll have heard the joke that the England World Cup squad returned to a rapturous reception – they flew into Glasgow airport. It could be that someone has taken this seriously judging by the placement of the advert below for the forthcoming Wembley international on the website of the Scottish Daily Record.
Badge of the week
This is an interesting one. Eschewing the conventions of badge shape, Miedz Legnica from Poland go for a swirling psychodrama of a badge, the only concession to tradition being the inclusion of the club name. There are three interpretations possible here. Firstly, we see a multi-coloured eye, challenging us with its livid glare, penetrating deep inside us to the truth in our hot, corroded centre (I never touched the old lady, she fell naturally, it was an accident and I was always going to inherit her money anyway). Or, secondly, this is a never-ending vortex of psychosis, a bottomless valley of alienation and identity-loss into which someone has chucked a golf club. Or else we are privy to the introduction of modern abstract art to the ultra-conservative discipline of club badge design. Here the bold, whipped colours represent a summer's day in Legnica in which one did not receive a single text. For God's sake don't look too deeply into those plunging circles, you may return to your previous life only gradually and with a different laugh. Cameron Carter
from Gavin Barber
"Soccer Superstar by Jess Conrad may not have been the official theme of the 2010 World Cup, as some scamp on Wikipedia claimed, but it is a real – and hilariously bad – record. You can hear it here. It's frequently played by Danny Baker on his Radio 5 Live show as well."
Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear
Leicester City home, 1992-94
Followers of the scrag end of the "baggy" movement may remember hyped Camden hedonists Flowered Up and in particular their dancer Barry Mooncult, a bald man given to wearing a large latex flower around his neck. Given that band's celebrated debauchery anthem Weekender also came out in 1992, it's not too reckless a leap of imagination to believe the Leicester badge unveiled that year, based on the traditional city crest with a fox's head apparently emerging through the stem, was subliminally influenced by the petals-as-Elizabethan-ruff image.
The L-shaped manufacturer's logo denotes this is a product of Fox Leisure, launched the same year as the club's early entry into the all-encompassing lifestyle market with all the branded bedspreads and aftershave that suggests. It was another brainwave from chief executive Barrie Pierpoint, who also relaunched reserve team games as "Family Night Football" and converted mirthful breakfast TV chef Rustie Lee into a City fan as his idea of bringing the club star name glamour. Pierpoint eventually left after an attempted boardroom coup that nearly forced Martin O'Neill out of the club at the height of his success, after which Fox Leisure was quietly closed.
The shirt was tied in with Brian Little, who took the club to three straight second-level play-off finals, the third of which was an inelegant but savoured win over Derby thanks to two goals by Steve Walsh. It also saw the emergence of Julian Joachim, as exciting a prospect as anyone at the club could ever remember. Responsible among many spectacular feats for a Match of the Day Goal of the Season runner-up, Joachim was widely written about as part of the bright future awaiting a post-Graham Taylor international side. Now 35, for most of 2009-10 he turned out for Quorn in the Northern Premier League Division One South. John Bostock, Jack Wilshere – let this serve as a warning. Simon Tyers
Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts
from Aidan Taylor
"I'm a nurse and run a hospital cardiac clinic, which basically tests to see if people have angina. One day I picked up the first patient's details and read 'Terence Gibson' and thought the name rang a bell. Indeed it was the diminutive former Wimbledon striker, now sans 'tache and perm but recognisable all the same.
Shortly after reassuring him it was unlikely there would be anything wrong with the heart of a former professional athlete, I was informing him that indeed it looked as if he had some serious narrowing in the arteries around there. He subsequently went on to have not a triple, or even quadruple but a quintuple bypass. He is now in fine fettle and helps my colleague run five-a-side football sessions for recovering cardiac patients."
from Joe Tyler
"I thought that the Wikipedia entry for Dynamo Moscow defender Denis Kolodin would be of note to you. Particularly this part."
from Matt Nation
"St Pauli midfielder Fabian Boll is apparently the only top-flight professional in leading western European leagues to have another job (he does a 20-hour week as a policeman). There's a bit of St Pauli (the district, not the football team) which, twice a year, on May 1 and after the street party in the summer, attracts the sort of people who like throwing things through windows and making bonfires in the middle of the road. When the police turn up, it is widely believed that Boll always gets sent in first, in the hope that people will stop chucking and burning things and start pawing him, asking for his autograph and posing for photos after swapping headgear with him. It never works, as most of people don't recognise him. I think they should send him in wearing a brown and white shirt and short trousers. That would do the trick."
Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards
Alex Sabella, Leeds United Panini Football 81
Alejandro Sabella, coach of recent Copa Libertadores champions Estudiantes, is favourite to succeed Diego Maradona as manager of Argentina. It wouldn't be the first time that the two have been associated. In the summer of 1978, with the Football League having lifted its ban on foreign players, Sheffield United manager Harry Haslam set off on a shopping trip to Argentina. His first target was Argentinos Juniors' 17-year-old striker Maradona, who made his international debut the previous year but had been left out of his country's 1978 World Cup-winning squad.
Maradona was interested in the move but his club were opposed to letting him go. Instead, Haslam bought 23-year-old midfielder Sabella from River Plate. While the uncapped Sabella didn't match the Football League's requirement that foreign signings should be "proven internationals" he had at least been a regular with River Plate for a couple of years – albeit at a time when several of their squad were away with the national team.
On arriving at Bramall Lane he received the ticker-tape reception that had been a feature of the 1978 World Cup and was a big success, playing 76 games in his two full seasons. Sheffield United didn't prosper, though, and were relegated from the Second Division in Sabella's first season.
Sabella went on to be voted into the PFA's Third Division team for 1979-80 after which he spent one patchy season with a declining Leeds before returning home. He went on to be capped for Argentina while winning two national titles with Estudiantes and has now been in management for over 20 years. His interest in coaching was apparent in his first season in England when he used a cruet set to explain to an interviewer how Sheffield United had just been outfoxed tactically by Wrexham.
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