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5 November 2010 ~

We're old-fashioned enough to think that BT should focus on providing a good phone service and not mess about with "content" of any kind. Like this, a new football "fanzine" featuring some very unlikely quotes from man of the moment Gareth Bale, an interview with "Manchester United legend Michael Owen" and a screamingly trite "thought of the day" about Cristiano Ronaldo. Never mind this rubbish, just get your broadband working properly.

Badge of the week ~ KS Kastrioti Krujë, Albania
Part badge, part optical illusion, this badge raises many questions in the alert mind. Firstly, are we looking at a man with a shocking red afro who, with a delicacy perhaps surprising in a person so outwardly flamboyant, is holding his cannabis cigarette behind his shoulder in order that the fumes escape through an open window, thus not causing irritation to any straights and breadheads in the room. Or is that garish red wallpaper behind him and is he a man with a normal sized lower head, but a smaller and pointier crown, which fits creepily into a child's Robin Hood play-hat? Or is this a giant casually passing a clifftop, on the very edge of which stands a lighthouse? One imagines the lighthouse-keepers are making themselves small at this moment. But this is not a straightforward single image and acts upon the eye and the brain as an inkblot test. I, for instance, see three Canada geese flying over a violated grave. But that's what Edgar Allen Poe on your iPod does to you. Cameron Carter

from Ken Gall
"Headline of the season so far from the Dundee Courier."

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

West Bromwich Albion home, 1991-92
At the end of 1990-91, West Bromwich Albion fans began to associate broad blue-and-white striped shirts less with the glorious era of Regis and Cunningham and more with humiliation at the hands of Woking and relegation from the old Division Two.

The 1991-92 top, despite bearing the name of the artificial entity that is Sandwell, recalled, with its thinner stripes, the times of Jeff Astle. With this shirt, and Don Goodman leading the attack, surely not even the presence of "Barmy" Bobby Gould in the Hawthorns dugout could prevent an immediate promotion from Division Three.

Noticeably large numbers of Baggies fans were proudly sporting the shirt as their side began the season with a carefree 6-3 win over Exeter City. It couldn't last: Goodman left, results got worse, Gould got barmier. By the time of their final match, at Shrewsbury, Albion had no chance of even a play-off place. The shirt, therefore, ended up with as many bad associations as its predecessor. Yet its simple elegance is difficult to deny. More significantly, another Hawthorns hero, "Super" Bob Taylor, made his debut in it.

The following season, Albion ditched conventional stripes in favour of unsightly barcodes. That was an unwise move but ditching Gould in favour of Ossie Ardiles wasn't. With Taylor scoring goals for fun, the play-offs were reached and promotion achieved. James Baxter

  from Keith Turner
"If the tailors Apsley think that the current West Ham squad are a 'fitting partnership' it must mean that their suits are aimed at people who are expecting to downsize soon."

from Brad Woodhouse
"As a season-ticket holder at Aston Villa I received an email inviting me to complete the Premier League's national fan survey. Fair enough, I thought, although this will probably only enable them to spout consultant-speak about how they are delivering year-on-year increases in customer satisfaction and what have you. But working through the questions gives you an insight into what our flagship domestic league championship has become. Highlights include:

• Please confirm the Club you support. If you support more than one Club, please select the team that you would consider to be your 'main Club'.

• Thinking about each of the following, please say whether you are spending more money, less money, or the same amount of money on these things compared with 12 months ago.

• In the last 12 months, as a consequence of the recession have you...?
Had your house repossessed?

I remember when football was following your club for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon. Now the people who run the league want to know your grooming habits and how macroecononmic factors are affecting your living arrangements. Football's going to explode, isn't it?"

from John Spiller
"Is Kingsley Black really renowned for his cooked meats, as Wikipedia claims?"

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Jody Morris, Chelsea Merlin FA Premier League 2001
Young English players know what to expect when they sign for Chelsea – in between watching League Cup ties from the bench, they will gain plenty of experience in the lower divisions before being released in their early 20s without having played a game in the Premier League. But the club's poor record at bringing through local players predates the Abramovich era. Prior to John Terry, Jody Morris was the last local product to make the grade. Morris was slightly over-hyped after his early appearances aged 17 in 1995-96 due to being almost the only English player in the team – and because he looked and behaved a lot like Dennis Wise, but turned out to be not nearly as good.

Morris made over 100 appearances for Chelsea spread across seven seasons, which included scoring the final goal in the 5-0 rout of Man Utd, followed up with a silly trombone celebration. He was also part of the September 11 incident involving several young Chelsea players, which almost resulted in Frank Sinclair claiming the prize for most bizarre death of a footballer (crushed by bowling pin collector after launching himself headfirst down the alley).

Morris was involved in further off-field episodes during erratic spells with Leeds, Rotherham and Millwall but has spent the last three years performing consistently in the Premier League – in Scotland with St Johnstone. Now aged 31, he'll be thinking about an autobiography soon, surely to be called From Sinner to Saint.

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