October 14, 2011 § 3 Comments
The first recorded use of the word “stonewall” in relation to a penalty dates to the early 1890s, and can be found in the august pages of the Hinckley & Bosworth Argus, in a match report on the unsuccessful defence of the Sibson Senior Shield by Sheepy Magna Town. The Smagmen, as they were known locally, went down 5-2 in the final, having been controversially denied a spot-kick early in the second half with the scores level at two apiece. Town’s centre-forward, Colin Barometre, burst into the opposing penalty area and appeared to be tripped by an opponent. As sport editor George Pennywroth noted:
It was a stonewall decision; as clear as penalty as anybody present will have or could ever hope to see. So evident was the offence that the defender began to apologise profusely to the prone Barometre before realising that play had continued. A general air of confusion pervaded the ground, but failed to perturb Mr Cossetry, who was supremely confident in his own mistake. To compound the injustice, Pinwall scored minutes later from an incorrectly awarded throw-in.
August 11, 2011 § Leave a Comment
One of the unintended consequences of the recent civil unrest in London was the opening of a tiny wormhole in Whitechapel High Street, just outside JD Sports, as a result of a teenager attempting to steal a pair of shoes he was already wearing. This tiny rip in the space-time continuum closed almost immediately, but not before one page of a film magazine fell through, apparently from the date December 12, 2039. The only complete review is reproduced below …
Documentary review: The Man Who Killed Football (The Man Who Brought It Back To Life), dir. N. Spooner. Five stars.
In all of the history of football, it is difficult to call to mind a player quite as brilliant, ridiculous, nonsensical, and glorious, as Tiago Manuel Dias Correira, hailed in Portugal as The Hammer of The Gods, lamented in Manchester as The One That Got Away, revered in Barcelona as The Wizard (and feared in Madrid as He Who Must Not Be Named), but known to all the world, and probably the Martians too, as Bébé. « Read the rest of this entry »
August 3, 2011 § Leave a Comment
It was a long hot day and we had nothing to do.
Whenever we used to tell El Tel that we were bored, he would look past our shoulders and go all distant, and say something like “Children, when you’re my age, you’ll miss those long hot days with nothing to do the way you’ll miss your teeth.” We didn’t really know what he meant, since he had all his teeth, and none of us had ever seen him do anything except sit in his rocking chair, singing strange songs to himself.
“Have you never heard Al Bowlly? I don’t need your photograph …” « Read the rest of this entry »
June 29, 2011 § 1 Comment
More lies. Obviously.
Studio voice Good morning, Madames et Monsieurs! Good morning, and welcome to The Stuff of Champions! And here’s your host, everyone’s favourite alliterative former Arsenal defender turned scout turned television personality … Gilles Grimandi!
And today’s special guest, the one and only … Monsieur! Raymond! Domenech! « Read the rest of this entry »
June 16, 2011 § 1 Comment
More lies. This time, with apologies to Edgar Allan Poe
Late last night, an evening dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over Charles Hughes’ quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore —
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone crisply rapping, rapping at my wooden door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my wooden door —
Only this and nothing more.” « Read the rest of this entry »
June 15, 2011 § 8 Comments
All of what follows is a lie. But you knew that.
Alan Shearer is buried up to the neck in a vegetable patch. Only his head is visible, and that partly, as a rhubarb leaf obscures his right eye. A pigeon pecks the ground nearby.
He blows the rhubarb leaf out of his eyes.
French-Tunisian, I said. Came through at Clairefontaine, then Lyon, then Marseille, I said. Favourite food, borscht. Favourite song, ‘Making Plans For Nigel’. Favourite flavour Skittle, orange. Occasionally has a recurring dream about paperclips that hum. Hates Playdoh.
It appears he is talking to the pigeon. The leaf falls down again. « Read the rest of this entry »
June 14, 2011 § 1 Comment
Everything that follows is a lie. But you knew that.
McLeish Turned out nice again
Hughes is silent.
McL Aye. Cracking day. Look, is that a sandpiper?
Hughes is silent.
McL I think it is, you know. Fancy that. A sandpiper. All the way out here.
Hughes It’s a pigeon. « Read the rest of this entry »
May 27, 2011 § 19 Comments
Football is a dialogic pastime, and a game closely resembles a conversation. It is, looked at one way, an argument between two teams, which either ends in a handshake and acknowledged parity (a draw), or with one side destroying the others proposals (scoring more goals), and claiming the disputational prize (the win). « Read the rest of this entry »
March 30, 2011 § 4 Comments
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February 3, 2011 § 1 Comment
So. That was the transfer window that was. Now that the fax machines have powered down with a contented sigh, and the microscopic seeds of radiation have nestled comfortably into the grey matter of agents, it’s time to reflect on one aspect of this strange and weird transfer business. Eloquent explanations have been provided elsewhere of the problems with the window itself, or the surrounding circus; but what of the very grist to the mill: the transfer rumour, those strange and fickle will-o’-the-wisps that haunt the football’s sticky marshes, tempting stumbling travellers onto imagined horizons. « Read the rest of this entry »