Outside the Box: Portsmouth's shirt printers could make up the numbers

 

Never mind buying a 2013 calendar – on which only two of the 12 featured players remain at the club – pity any Portsmouth supporters brave enough to want their favourite player's name on a replica shirt. With another seven leaving last week (six released and one returning after a loan), there have so far been three No 17s, three No 1s, two No 9s and two No 35s this season. Pompey have already used 42 players, which will soon increase as James Keene has now returned to the club; he played twice in the Premier League for Portsmouth under Harry Redknapp at the end of 2004-05, but left for Elfsborg in 2007 and has been in Sweden ever since. The squad currently under the caretaker management of development coach Guy Whittingham numbers only 14 senior players, including Keene. Of those who went to Spain for two pre-season games under Michael Appleton (now on a third club of the season himself after switching from Blackpool to Blackburn), only goalkeeper Simon Eastwood remains. He had just signed for Bradford Park Avenue from FC Halifax Town last July when Appleton offered him a deal. After the latest departures, Eastwood, who is only on a monthly contract himself, tweeted poignantly: "Will miss all the lads who are leaving." In a masterpiece of understatement Whittingham said there were "a few spaces available in our squad". As ever at Fratton Park, the fans are the only constant. The average home attendance despite serious relegation worries is 12,391. Only Sheffield United can boast a higher League One figure and the average is little more than 6,000.

Due recognition for Giuly

Many a stadium around the world has been renamed after a noted performer, but few get to play in one that bears their name. That will be the case next season for Ludovic Giuly, the former France midfielder who was in the Barcelona team that beat Arsenal in the Champions' League final of 2006. After finishing a loan from Monaco to Lorient in June, the 36-year-old will return to his first club, Chasselay, a fourth-division team whose 5,000-capacity stadium is named after him.

In league with the enemy

The normally ubiquitous Premier League chairman and Football Association board member Sir Dave Richards may have been missing from the Football Association's 150th anniversary launch in London last week, although he was invited, but it is no surprise to find him heavily involved with another new body. The World League Association may sound like a rather sinister organisation from an early James Bond plot, but it has been founded on a similar basis to the European Clubs Association, which under Bayern Munich's Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has been standing up for the rights and interests of clubs against bodies such as Fifa and Uefa. The WLA's aims tend to sound extremely worthy, but with a sting in the tail for the latter pair; namely to "foster cooperation and unity among the World Leagues, while promoting and safeguarding their common interests and aspirations". It can be safely assumed that those interests and aspirations do not include any extra international matches. And the chairman? The aforementioned Sir Dave Richards.

Don but not forgotten

Collectors of Leeds United memorabilia will be drawn to an auction being held by Staceys of Rayleigh, Essex on 11 February, which includes the This Is Your Life book of Don Revie's appearance in April 1974 (just as the club were about to become League champions). The estimate is £800, just below those for a 1966 World Cup report book signed by the England coaching staff and all 22 players, and an "incredibly rare" complete 1970 World Cup Panini sticker book estimated at £900 to £1,000.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk; twitter.com/@stevetongue

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