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19 November 2010 ~

As part of the final drive for 2018 World Cup votes, the hard-working president of the Football Association, Prince William, has invited members of FIFA's executive committee to his wedding. Jack Warner, Mohammed bin Hammam et al will get front-row seats alongside Prince Philip. This may not turn out for the best.

Badge of the week ~ Spielvereinigung Unterhaching
This team is probably the German equivalent of Hamilton Academicals, the name being an absolute joy to enunciate when asked which team one follows: "Which team do I support you ask? Well, let me see now – stand well back everyone, mind those champagne flutes..." The badge itself is similarly enjoyable and has a rather jolly air about it. It seems that four friends are attending a funfair and, having perhaps drunk heavily, are now piled into a dodgem car, seeking kicks. Normally the tousle-haired ruffian who runs the dodgems would rebuke the party for health and safety reasons, but it appears he has given them the benefit of the doubt here because there are four of them and there is a military flavour to their singing. We all know there is a dark side to pleasure, as anyone would discover if they attempted to prevent these hearties having their fun. As for the message the club intend to convey, it is possibly just that they like going to the fair. Or there may be a deeper meaning here, one of solidarity – Togetherness Through Drink (which was also the old Arsenal motto when Tony Adams was captain). Cameron Carter

from Peter Sherlock

"It's easy to mock nouveau football fans, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. In this forum discussion, Chelsea supporters reveal when they first got interested in 'their' club. I particularly like the Lebanese contributor who was lured away from wrestling."

Getting shirty Notable kits of yesteryear

Yugoslavia home, 1990-91
It is no exaggeration to say that the heyday of Yugoslav football came just at the moment when the state began to fall apart. In 1987 a young side bursting with potential lifted the trophy at the World Youth Championship in Chile, and just three years later many of these promising players were regulars in the senior squad that reached the quarter-finals at Italia 90.

This particular shirt, which incongruously features the Adidas logo alongside the revolutionary flaming crest of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, was the last to be worn be a united Yugoslav squad. The team comfortably qualified for the 1992 European Championship, held in Sweden. However, during the summer of 1991 the republics of Croatia and Slovenia declared independence and the ensuing conflict resulted in both the break-up of the multi-ethnic Yugoslav state and of the sports teams which had represented it. With the outbreak of war in Bosnia less than a year later, the pool of players from which the Yugoslav squad was selected was further reduced.

UN sanctions meant that what remained of the promising national team was excluded from participation at Euro 92. In a bitter irony, Denmark – Yugoslavia's last-minute replacements – went on to lift the trophy. Sanctions aside, a variation of Yugoslavia's navy blue shirt continued to grace the international stage until Serbia and Montenegro finally went their separate ways in 2006. Richard Mills

Armistice Day commemorations at football grounds caused quite a stir this year, especially at Airdrie where their matchday programme featured a photograph of German soldiers who were apparently mistaken for Australians.

This week in history ~ Premier League, November 19, 1994


Newcastle's 3-2 defeat at Wimbledon, whose captain Vinnie Jones was sent off, knocked them off the top for the first time this season. They fell out of contention after winning only one of their next nine games and finished sixth. While 15 players contributed towards their total of 67 goals, Peter Beardsley, who got their first at Wimbledon, was top scorer with 12.

Eric Cantona was one of Man Utd's scorers in their defeat of Crystal Palace. In the return fixture two months later he was banned for eight months after clashing with a spectator. United dropped to second after a draw at Arsenal the following week and remained in that position. Six players from the youth team made their debuts this season, including David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville.

Alan Shearer got Blackburn's third in their win at Ipswich and went on to be the division's leading scorer with 34 goals. Blackburn went top after a 4-0 defeat of QPR the following week. Going into the last game of the season they led Man Utd by two points. Despite losing 2-1 at Liverpool they took the title because United could only draw 1-1 at West Ham.

Paul Dickov missed a penalty for Arsenal in their 1-0 defeat at Southampton, whose goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar had just been accused of match-fixing along with John Fashanu and Wimbledon's Hans Segers. All three were eventually acquitted.

Everton had just sacked manager Mike Walker after their worst ever start to a season. His replacement Joe Royle began with a 2-0 defeat of Liverpool on Monday, November 21; victories in their next two matches, against Chelsea and Leeds, lifted them out of the bottom three. They finished 15th and went on to win the FA Cup with a goal from Paul Rideout beating Man Utd.

With Gerry Francis taking charge of his first match after replacing Ossie Ardiles, Spurs went three down at home to Villa, rallied to 3-3, then lost to a Dean Saunders goal. Villa were managerless having dismissed Ron Atkinson the previous week – Leicester's Brian Little was set to take over.

Four clubs went down because the top level was being reduced to 20 clubs. Leicester and Ipswich were doomed with months to spare and were joined on the penultimate day by Norwich, who lost eight of their last ten. Palace, two points adrift on the final day, needed to win and hope that Villa, who had a better goal difference, lost. But Villa drew while Palace were beaten 3-2 at Newcastle.

from Howard Robinson
"I've no idea if there's any truth to this line in Silvio Proto's Wikipedia entry but I really hope so."

Stickipedia A mine of information constructed from sticker cards

Didier Six, France Panini Argentina 78
The 37-year-old Robert Pires may prove an astute signing for Aston Villa. Indeed, his arrival has probably caused more excitement than that of the club's first French player 26 years ago. Goalscoring winger Didier Six had just been part of France's Euro 84-winning squad and had featured in two World Cups. He first came to international prominence playing in the Lens side that reached the UEFA Cup quarter-final in 1977-78, a run that included a 6-0 thrashing of Lazio. Then in the opening seconds of France's first match at the 1978 World Cup he was involved in what was then the fastest goal scored in the tournament (older readers may remember the terse commentary of ITV's Gerry Harrison: "Here's Didier Six... who's a bit quick").

Six left Lens for Marseille that summer but two years later a side packed with internationals was surprisingly relegated and he began to wander. After spending five years with his first side, Valenciennes, whom he left for Lens in 1977, Six never spent more than two seasons with any of his subsequent 14 clubs. The two moves he made prior to joining Villa summed up his erratic career. After two successful seasons with VfB Stuttgart, in which he scored 23 Bundesliga goals, he dropped down to the French second division for a year with Mulhouse, while retaining his place in the international squad.

Six played 16 games for Villa scoring two goals and as was his wont, moved on after a year. Graham Turner was manager at the time although it wasn't clear whose idea it had been to sign Six – as with the arrival of David Ginola in 2000 some thought that chairman Doug Ellis was the instigator of the deal. If the current Villa manager is planning to find work for more of his fellow countrymen, Ginola won't be among them – he and Houllier fell out over France's failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, when Ginola gave the ball away for Bulgaria's last-minute winner.

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