A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday
24 September 2010 ~

Fans of football stats will be keenly awaiting Lee Cattermole's return to action for Sunderland at Anfield tomorrow. So far this season the "fiery Teessider" has only completed one League match, having been sent off in two games and banned for the other two. Tomorrow's referee is another impetuous youngster, Stuart Attwell, who on a recent stint in the J-League showed 18 yellow cards in two games. We don't think Stuart and Lee are going to get on.

Badge of the week ~ Shatin SA, Hong Kong
Shatin – and we will ignore the coincidence that a foreign word means something a bit rude in our language – have looked to 1970s British mainstream entertainment for the inspiration of their club badge. Here, indisputably, Bruce Forsyth is seen through a front window practising his signature spotlight pose for The Generation Game in front of his wife, Anthea Redfern. You can't just come up with a pose like this, it comes through weeks and months of hidden trial and error. It was Forsyth's assertion at this period that "Life is the name of the game and I want to play the game with you. Life can be terribly tame if you don't play the game with two", a claim that lies uneasily alongside Friedrich Nietzsche's dictum, namely: "Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest." Although Forsyth's theory goes better with a Ronnie Hazlehurst tune. The message behind this club crest is obviously that practice makes perfect and also to close your curtains after dark. Cameron Carter

Rio Ferdinand's fashion shoes are being heavily discounted. With Christmas only three months away, the manufacturers should switch to Plan B – a range of plush carpet slippers incorporating that distinctive wavy mouth.

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Yeovil Town home, 1997-98
Following two seasons outside of the top tier of non-League football the Glovers marked their return to the Conference with a kit deal with Errea. The Italian firm supplied the kits to Bryan Robson's Middlesbrough but aside from that were relatively unknown in the UK.

After dabbling with green and white stripes in the early 1990s Yeovil opted for predominately green with a splash of white in 1996-97 and continued the trend with this effort – albeit in a rather unique way. The kit appeared to have been designed over a few drinks in a pub with what looked like a Yeovil Town beermat forming the centrepiece. Green and white stripes would have been acceptable but red was bizarrely added to the mix. This meant the then sponsor ADG Electrical was right below the collar, crammed in between the supplier logo and the badge. On the badge itself the gold lions on either side of the shield were so poorly portrayed they looked like teddy bears. This was compounded by the fact that the badge wasn't even stitched in, Errea opting for what amounted to a felt sticker.

Wearing this shirt Yeovil would go on to gain a respectable 11th position thanks largely to the goals of Warren Patmore and Owen Pickard. Since promotion to the Football League the club have introduced and stuck with green and white hoops and now look like a poor man's Celtic. Seb White

Buy this shirt and hundreds of others at Classic Football Shirts

from Martin Sanders

"When Sky Sports News went HD in August, it suddenly started to fall off the left hand side of my telly (it must be all of five years old and is non-HD). The picture settings seemed to be OK so a little internet research was in order to see if anyone else was having similar issues. Google quickly led me to a discussion on a Burnley forum where I was shocked to discover that you can no longer be a proper football fan if you don't take up every available TV offering. And there's me traipsing to Gillingham every other Saturday."

This week in history ~ Division One September 24, 1910


After starting with four straight wins, Sunderland dropped their first point at Woolwich. They topped the table for four months but slipped to fourth after losing 2-1 at home to new leaders Manchester United on Boxing Day and eventually finished third.

Aston Villa's opening goal in their win at Bradford was scored by 20-year-old debutant centre-forward Walter Jones, who played in their next fixture then dropped out of League football altogether. Villa took over at the top after 4-2 home win against United in the 36th fixture. Needing a draw from their final match at Liverpool, they were beaten 3-1 while United, playing in their first full season at Old Trafford, won 5-1 against Sunderland to take the title by a point.

It was a second Championship in four seasons for United's secretary-manager Ernest Mangnall, who also won an FA Cup in 1909. Surprisingly he was allowed to leave for Manchester City in 1912 after which United went into decline – they didn't win the League again until 1951-52.

United's goal in their win at Everton was scored by Scottish inside-left Sandy Turnbull, who went on to get 18 goals, one fewer than his strike partner Enoch "Knocker" West. Both players were to be banned for allegedly fixing a match in 1915 along with team-mate Arthur Whalley and four players from Liverpool. Turnbull died during a battle in northern France in 1917 – his body was never recovered.

Bristol City finished second-bottom after losing to Everton on the final day while rivals Bury got a draw with Sheffield United and stayed up by two points. Forest were in mid-table at the halfway point, but finished bottom after losing 13 of their final 15 games. Unsurprisingly they drew the division's lowest crowd of the season, 2,500 seeing a 1-0 home defeat by Newcastle in early April. Newcastle, who lost the FA Cup final to Bradford City, were the best supported team with an average of just over 25,000.

from James Forrester
"Wikipedia provides an unusual explanation for Patrick Agyemang's good form."

In WSC 282 we surveyed our readers on their experiences of this summer's World Cup. One of the questions we asked was: "What was the biggest effort you made/lamest excuse you gave to watch a particular match – and which match?" Here are some of the responses (there are more here):

"I have to watch it in case a small plane crashes onto the pitch"
"Told my wife that I felt a spiritual connection to the Uruguayan national team and that I was compelled to support them"
"Claimed that I was curious to see what type of supporters North Korea would send"
"I needed to check out the latest Man City target. This applied to practically every game"
"Picking children up from school. At 7pm"
"Is it really awful that watching 60-plus matches caused almost no disruption to my normal routine?"

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Jim McLean Panini's Football 83
As Celtic and Rangers are both saddled with debt, the Scottish Premier League was expected to be more open than usual this season. At the time of writing, however, the Old Firm have maximum points from five league games and hold a seven-point lead over third-placed Hearts. The last team to beak the duopoly was Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen who won a third title in six seasons in 1984-85 – an era when a title race restricted to the Old Firm was a rarity. Indeed Rangers failed to even make the top three for four consecutive seasons from 1982-83 onwards. That year was also the only championship won to date by Dundee United.

Manager Jim McLean had been in charge for over a decade during which the club had won two League Cups as well as reaching their first Scottish Cup final. In WSC 3 (published in August 1986), Archie MacGregor ranked the ten SPL managers according to dourness. In a "fiercely contested battle with Alex Ferguson", Jim McLean came top: "A morose figure who prides himself on being completely devoid of a sense of humour. Refused to smile even after his team had won the Premier League... a clenched fist was all he could muster." He appears to be smiling in this photo but is in fact halfway through a sneeze.

The title-winning squad included seven players who would be capped for Scotland, including David Narey, who opened the scoring against Brazil at the 1982 World Cup. Jimmy Hill's description of his long-range shot as "a toe-poke" led to the BBC switchboard being jammed with protests from Scottish viewers. Dundee United got to the semi-finals of the European Cup the following year, beating Roma 2-0 in the first leg before losing 3-0 in a contentious return fixture which was later investigated over an alleged attempt to bribe French referee Michel Vautrot. United did go on to reach a European final, losing 2-1 Gothenburg in the 1986-87 UEFA Cup. McLean was later club chairman but stepped down in 2000 after a bundle with a TV reporter.

Contribute to the Weekly Howl
If you’ve met a footballer, seen any Wikipedia vandalism or if there’s anything else you want to get off you chest, we’d like to hear from you ~ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Related articles

The steady disappearance of sloped pitches is a sad loss to the game
From Barnet’s Underhill to the Manor Ground of Oxford via Grundy Hill and Easter Road, pitches with a slope have become part of football&rsquo...
Weekly Howl 24-05-13
A small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday24 May 2013 ~ Talking about Manchester City's plans to boost revenue...
Nationwide Conference 2002-03
Seb White looks back over the season where Gary Johnson's insatiable Yeovil Town strolled to succes The long-term significanceIn the summer of 2002...

Sign up to the WSC Weekly Howl - a small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday