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The Week That Was

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Welcome to another edition of The Week That Was, our look at the great and the good (and the daft) from the week’s footballing news. At FSF Towers we’re all thankful that the summer silly season is drawing to a close, and that there’s some real football action to finally get our teeth into from tonight. Well, Middlesbrough v Sheffield United, anyway.

Talking of looking forward to matches, today’s European draw has thrown up the seemingly inevitable – Celtic v Arsenal in the final qualifying round of the Champions League. To the winner, the spoils, to the loser, a place in the Europa league and a massive hit to their budget. Arsenal will be favourites, but Celtic will look to make better use of their first leg home advantage than they did against Dynamo Moscow.

In the Europa League, Everton face Sigma Olomouc from the Czech Republic, Fulham face a hair-raising tie against the Russians of Amkar Perm and Aston Villa can look forward to a trip to Rapid Vienna as they all attempt to qualify for the group stages.

Off the pitch, this week finally saw the end to one of the most tedious, drawn-out transfer sagas of the summer, as Xabi Alonso finally got his move to the moneybags of Real Madrid, whose transfer spending has now topped a whopping £200m this summer. And he managed it all without needing to tweet foul-mouthed abuse at Rafa Benitez – Darren Bent take note.

But the sight (or should that be sound) of footballers putting the proverbial foot in their mouth is not new, and while Frank Lampard is a consumate professional who would never dream of swearing, he does sometimes show himself up as not being the sharpest tool in the box. This week’s pearl of wisdom from Lamps? "I’m wary of falling into the trap where people ask if you can win it, you say you can, and then expectations rise," he said of the World Cup.

Nothing wrong with that, you may think. Except he managed to follow it up, seconds later, with "Of course we can win it, though. We are playing as well as we have done for a long time and there is a real confidence and togetherness about the group." Way to go, Frank.

Apart from tedious transfer speculation or banal interviews with players ahead of the big kick off, the one thing you can guarantee in the summer is the launch of hideous new kits. Or perhaps, as was the case with Everton this week, the hideous launch of a new kit. Some marketing bigwig clearly had an idea that his underlings were too scared to shout down, and so we saw the bizarre and comical sight of a group of Maoris performing Everton’s ‘If You Know Your History’ in the style of a haka, on the pitch at Goodison.

The reason behind their performance? A tenuous link to the shirt being ‘All Black’. That might make sense, if it didn’t have lots of luminous pink horizontal stripes and trim.

We think in this case that a picture paints a thousand words. If you want to see the video, click here.

Lastly, we were all pleased to see that John Hartson has been making progress in his battle with cancer – firstly being moved off intensive care treatment earlier in the week, and now he’s spoken publicly, thanking staff and also fans for their kind words. We wish him all the best in his recovery.

And on that note, we’re off. Have a great week!

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