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Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain, Wales, 13 July 2005 | We are not sure what to term the renaming of Llansantffraid FC several years ago as Total Network Solutions. The word might begin with "g" and rhyme with "screed." TNS owner Mike Harris

Is this one of the "recognised quality processes"?
sank £250,000 into a moribund side in 1997 with the understanding that—beyond bearing the new sponsor's name on its kit—the team would adopt the company name as its own. True, the team has flourished, advancing to the Welsh Premier League, winning the league and—in its crowning achievement this evening—playing European champions Liverpool at Anfield in the first leg of a Champions League qualifier. TNS lost 3–0; the second leg is on 19 July. But one quickly loses appreciation for the community-building gesture when reading the gobbledygook from TNS HQ (see the hilarious treatment by Rhodri Marsden, "You Don't Have to Talk Balls to Work Here. But It Helps . . . ," The Independent [U.K.]). TNS states the mission on its website: "Total Network Solutions is the leading provider of Converged Communications, Professional and Managed Services to the Enterprise, Public Sector and Service Provider markets delivering Innovative Lifecycle solutions resolving Business Issues through the use of recognised quality processes." Translation: They set up computer networks. The company is located, not in Wales, but across the border in Oswestry, Shropshire. They have effected a merger with Oswestry Town FC with plans to move to a larger ground there. The sterile atmosphere at the parent company—"like a million small businesses on British industrial estates," Marsden writes, "and not unlike the office of Wernham Hogg, the fictitious Slough-based paper suppliers where Ricky Gervais's The Office was set"—contrasts with the fascinating history of Oswestry Town, dating to 1860. Past players include Thomas Owen, believed to be the father of World War I poet Wilfred Owen, and Herbert Roberts, who played center-half for Herbert Chapman's Arsenal in the 1920s. The new reality in Llansantffraid is well captured by Sky TV presenters who, on occasions of TNS victory, say "they'll be dancing in the streets of Total Network Solutions tonight."

  • Swansea, Wales, and Isandlwana, South Africa | 15 August 2003 . . . Lest a perfectly good pitch go to waste, a Swansea University student is raising funds to move an astroturf field to a primary school in the Click for Isandlwana informationKwaZulu-Natal province ("Anna's Ambitious Pitch—Swansea to South Africa," News Wales). Anna Lane has approached the Royal Navy for help in transport, along with Zulu chiefs for permission to move the pitch there. The village, on 22 January 1879, was the site of a key engagement in the Anglo-Zulu War. "Tents were being struck, oxen hitched to wagons," according to one account. "At 12 o'clock the camp was attacked by 24,000–25,000 Zulu warriors, using the tactics of the horns of the buffalo. The Zulus . . . surrounded the camp[,] annihilating 1,329 British soldiers." | back to top