Wednesday 16 June 2010

Falling Asleep to the Vuvuzela

You know that scene in the film Bend it like Beckham where the dad tries to explain the offside rule to mum using salt pots and….

That was me, last night - except I used stones and bowls and a battery for the ball (Minnie’s idea) and I was trying to convince three people that it was important.

I think they were just taking the Mickey; none of them were listening as I slid the stones across the carpet.

A few years ago i met an American in a coffee shop in Seattle and, although he might have been a little drunk – it wasn’t clear, but he was wearing a faint whiff of early morning alcohol - he had a suggestion that would, if implemented, render such explanations unnecessary.

Before you all shout –yeah, get rid of it – bear in mind that most academics of the game consider it the most important rule change ever.

Martin who lives down the road and is currently leading our world cup fantasy league by 6 points, something that will continue to rankle until I get in front, gave me a copy of “Inverting the Pyramid- the History of Football Tactics” for Christmas and I must say that if you are looking for a book to send you to asleep at night time, you will be hard pressed to find one better.

Some of the chapter titles are intriguing: How Fascism Destroyed the Coffee House, After the Angels and Fly Me to the Moon immediately stand out, but on the whole you would have to be a lot more passionate about diagrams scribbled in a dug out than I am to stay awake.

However I did get far enough to learn that it was the change of the written laws in 1866 that ushered in a sort-of offside rule and radically changed the game from a bunch of players standing one behind the other and running forward with their heads down to something like what happens today when they look up and pass the ball.

It’s just a shame the French team wont speak to each other, let alone pass the ball.

(Incidentally, today a Frenchman explained that this was “normal.”)

The book is not the only thing that has sent me to sleep recently; the first half of South Africa against Mexico (though that may have been a result of a long drive to get home before kick off), parts of Argentina versus Nigeria and the first 45 minutes of Serbia against Ghana have all contributed to my much needed beauty sleep.

In fact if it wasn’t raining so much at the moment and if it wasn’t for the German team I would probably have switched off.


Except, you never know do you?

And tonight, it’s Brazil.

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