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Outside the Box: Juventus rightly remember they owe it all to County

By Steve Tongue - Sunday, 4 September 2011

Of all the clubs Juventus could have invited to open their new 41,000-capacity stadium this week, an English League One side were not the most obvious choice.

With an admirable nod to their history and heritage, however, the Italians are according the privilege to Notts County, to whom they owe their famous black-and-white stripes. When they needed a new kit back in 1903 – the original pink (!) having faded too much – an Englishman playing for them arranged with a Nottingham friend for a set of County shirts to be sent over.

Thursday's date is not the most convenient for Martin Allen's team, who have a league game against Bournemouth on Saturday, but their chairman Ray Trew said they were always planning to "move heaven and earth" to make the fixture possible. The irony is that this season County have virtually dispensed with their traditional kit by employing the thinnest of black pinstripes.

Juve, the most successful club in Italian football (27 Serie A titles), moved to a new ground for the 1990 World Cup but were never happy there and have rebuilt it, dispensing with the athletics track (West Ham nb), at a cost of some £88million.

Meanwhile, Arsenal may now be less welcome opponents for a similar event in France. Lille have had an arrangement with the London club for several years to open their new stadium next summer but now that Arsène Wenger has signed the club's Korean striker Park Chu Young, some Lille supporters do not want them any more.

Shaky times on the spot.

Whether on international duty or not, Premier League players ought to have spent some time in the past week practising their penalty kicks.

Of 11 taken in the League so far, only four have been successful: by Ben Watson (Wigan), Mikel Arteta (Everton), Frank Lampard (Chelsea) and Wayne Rooney (Manchester United). But Watson also missed one, as did Arsenal's Robin van Persie, Stoke's Jon Walters, Kevin Doyle of Wolves, Luis Suarez of Liverpool, two Blackburn players, Mauro Formica and Junior Hoilett in the same game.

Last season four out of every five penalties were converted, Arsenal having the worst record with three misses out of seven as well as conceding the most (nine).

Cantona: just desserts?

Leeds United are agog to know whether Eric Cantona will be joining their official 20th anniversary dinner in October to commemorate winning the last First Division title before the Premier League began.

A hero at the time, he became a villain by signing for the arch-enemy Manchester United six months later and would therefore face an interesting reception from supporters paying £72 for a ticket to the glitzy event. "He only played 15 games, so maybe he'll just turn up for dessert," one caustic Yorkie observed.

The great man is understood to have been invited but not yet to have replied.

City are big in Japan

Twenty years on, Leeds are a long way from challenging Manchester United, who find themselves under pressure from a club much closer to home.

On a visit to the new Champions' League store in Tokyo, a reader noted Manchester City's new and expensively acquired place in the limelight, as they go head to head with their rivals in a huge display in the shop window.

FA looks to broker a deal

Following last week's item on players facing expensive lawsuits after causing an injury to an opponent, the Football Association has revealed that it is consulting insurance brokers with a view to setting up a national scheme at grass roots level.

A spokesman said: "The viability of offering sustainable 'player on player' cover as part of this scheme is one of the key areas which the FA has asked the brokers to consider."

Many smaller clubs cannot currently afford the insurance premiums demanded.

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