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8 October 2010 ~

Outraged Premier League managers have rushed to the defence of Bolivian president Evo Morales who escaped without even a yellow card for this retaliatory foul. Sam Allardyce joined Tony Pulis in pointing out that Morales's opponent had already got away with several rash attacks on Bolivarian socialist principles, while Mick McCarthy was typically succinct: "He's just not that type of president."

Badge of the week
You have no idea how many club badges in the new world exhibit this kind of non-specifically upbeat image. A football lobbed on top of an urgent, swirling graphic denoting speed of movement and the high probability of pre-match girly dancing. Most top Australian clubs' names include a suffix that appears to be aimed at engaging the interest of a sulking infant: Brisbane Roar, Newcastle Utd Jets, Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory – you get the general idea. While many European clubs choose as their mascots cuddly, anthropomorphised animals, Australian clubs tend to employ plain-clothes academics with motivational leanings. North Queensland's mascot, for example, is Aiden "Managing Change" McBride, a life coach who majored in Psychometric Team-Building Techniques at the University of Warramboo. Few, of those who witnessed the spectacle, could ever forget the half-time penalty shootout between McBride and Brisbane's mascot, Brad Lardner, an Information Media Bandicoot, during which Lardner fell over the giant foam ball and bruised his pelvic girdle. You can instantly tell from North Queensland's badge that this is a Can-Do, Stand-Up, Go-To kind of club. There's so much positivity in the image alone it may induce a mild headache in introverts. Cameron Carter

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Swansea City home, 1995-96
The sponsorship of Swansea's 1995-96 shirt by such a well-known brand had happened almost by accident – they had previously been sponsored by Action service stations who were bought out by Gulf Oil. Made by Le Coq Sportif, the home shirt claimed to be sympathetic to the club's historic white and black colours. As long as you ignored the sleeves, of course. The vertical black lines were slimming which was a bonus, not just for those supporters brought up on Vetch Field pasties but also for player-manager Jan Molby who was a big chap even then.

In late February 1996 Molby became the boss of a club that, having enjoyed a five-year period of stability and relative success under Frank Burrows, had already seen three managers that season. These included the notorious Kevin Cullis, who took over in early February as part of an ill-fated buy out. It soon transpired that neither Cullis nor the people buying the club had a clue about football; the takeover deal collapsed and Cullis was on his way after two games in charge.

Despite Molby introducing an attractive style of football and using his connections to bring in players such as Lee Chapman, relegation was almost inevitable. While the manager stayed beyond the end of the season, neither shirt nor sponsor was seen ever again. Paul Ashley-Jones

from Tom Lines
"Booking turns for the social club is one of the oldest ways of generating off-field income for lower league clubs. But in among the comedians, club singers and ex-footballers, one upcoming big-name act at Walsall's Banks's Stadium recently caught my eye. Given the fact that we're currently bottom of League One, some cynics have already suggested that he's been brought in to read our season the last rites."

from Martin Kershaw
"Someone has been at Sheffield Wednesday's Wikipedia page in reference to our tax issues.

Finance director Bob Grierson became known for his inability to answer fairly straightforward questions about the accounts at various AGMs. "TIME TO GO" has been adopted as the unofficial slogan of the people who want the board out on the Owlstalk forum."

from Lewis George
"Are the black-and-white glimpses of fans jumping around brandishing rattles that presage Match of the Day's Coming Up section an admission by the programme that there was football before 1992? Or, in the way Christians explain away fossils as a test of faith by God, could these archive pictures have been unearthed purely to show how preposterous and impossible an idea pre-Premier League football is?"

This week in history ~ Division One, October 8, 1977


Newly-promoted Forest had gone top after a midweek defeat of Ipswich four days previously and never relinquished the position. After two 1-0 defeats at Leeds and Chelsea in November they were unbeaten for the rest of the season. They used just 16 players, although only one, winger John Robertson, was an ever-present. Manager Brian Clough remained unusually low key throughout, leaving assistant Peter Taylor to handle all the TV interviews.

Kenny Dalglish and "supersub" David Fairclough, making a rare first team start, scored in Liverpool's defeat of Chelsea. The defending champions finished second, seven points behind Forest while retaining the European Cup by beating Bruges 1-0 in the Wembley final.

Manchester City had been runners-up in 1976-77 when they won their last trophy to date, the League Cup. They led the table briefly but fell away to fifth. Manager Tony Book was made assistant to the returning Malcolm Allison in 1979 while two of City's young stars, winger Peter Barnes – one of the scorers against Arsenal – and midfielder Gary Owen, were surprisingly allowed to go to West Brom.

Bob Latchford got four of Everton's five at QPR and went on to be the first top-level striker in six seasons to score 30 league goals, for which he won a £10,000 prize from the Daily Express. He reached the target with two in a 6-0 defeat of Chelsea on the final day as his side finished third.

Former Leeds defender Norman Hunter scored Bristol City's third goal against his old club. City had returned to the top level after a 65-year absence in 1976. Nearly bankrupt on relegation in 1980, they became the first team to be go down from Division One to Division Four in successive seasons.

Newcastle's 2-1 home defeat by Tommy Docherty's Derby was their ninth straight loss. They didn't win any of their last 19 games and finished on 22 points. But they weren't bottom – Leicester were below them on goal difference. It was to be the only season in top-level management for former Arsenal double-winning captain Frank McLintock who was sacked once Leicester's relegation was sealed in April. West Ham also went down after 20 years in Division One following a 2-0 home defeat by Liverpool in their last match.

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Kevin Davies, Chesterfield Panini Football League 95
Kevin Davies looked about 12 when he began his career with Chesterfield – an impression strengthened by this shirt looking like a top bought for him by his mum. If he plays against Montenegro next week at the age of 33 he'll be the oldest England debutant in 59 years. The last 33-year-old to get a first call-up was Fulham central defender Jim Taylor, against Argentina in 1951. Since then Leicester winger Steve Guppy is the only forward player to receive a first cap after turning 30. The oldest in the Premier League era were both 31-year-old defenders – Steve Bould of Arsenal in 1994 and Charlton's Chris Powell nine years ago.

In 1997 Chesterfield became one of eight sides from the third division to reach the FA Cup semi-final, with Davies having scored a hat-trick in a fourth round win at one of his future clubs, Bolton. Chesterfield scored a last-minute equaliser to draw 3-3 with Middlesbrough in the semi but they ought to have won, having a goal wrongly ruled out when they were 2-1 up; Boro won the replay 3-0. Davies moved on to Southampton that summer then had a poor spell with the Blackburn side that were relegated in 1999 before returning to the Dell. He is now in his eighth season with Bolton and has a style commonly described as "bustling". While he currently holds the record for most fouls committed in the Premier League, Bolton supporters would point out that he is frequently on the receiving end too. Brace yourselves, Montenegro.

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