Jun 04

Philosophy Football

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Philosophy Football – a Euro 2004 sports blog with some of the music/cult-theory blogzone’s prominent members as contributors. Only 3 games to go but you can read back over their previous posts – and maybe they’ll keep it going for the new season…

Just back from Glastonbury and feeling the after-effects, my brain is extremely sluggish. Reports on watching the Euros on a Greek island to follow…

Jun 04

I’m no great fan of Football 365

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I’m no great fan of Football 365: they so often seem to take the easy, laddish option. Nevertheless, I’ve been impressed with the recent series on their Mediawatch page. They’ve spotted a commentary meme, the classic “…for a big man.”

So they’re building a picture of implications about big men (scroll down to the second item). It’s a vital public service, and I’m sure their defence of the big man is nothing to do with the 365 empire being tied up with pro large chap Danny Kelly, who seems like a decent enough fellow… for a big Spurs fan.

But by now it was taking some doing not to notice a qualitative difference between the teams

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But by now it was taking some doing not to notice a qualitative difference between the teams

Jun 04

Stuck for places to watch Euro 2004?

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Stuck for places to watch Euro 2004? Finding home too sedentary and the boozer too lairy? Sick of Davies and bored of Beglin? Pained partner who’s sick of your social life suffering for soccer? Why not come down to Club FT on 30th June at the Chapel Bar in Islington. The football will be shown, the pop will be fun, the company will be good.

Jun 04

Wrestling: language falling short

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Wrestling: language falling short

Sometimes your words just don’t work. The second tier wrestler Raven, no longer in the WWE, is now one of the stars of a smaller federation. He has taken to saying “Quoth the Raven ‘Nevermore'” at the end of almost every speech he gives, which is a fair enough way of saying “You’re finished!” However, when what he has just said, as in the show I just watched, is “I’m coming for your title belt,” it does rather suggest that he thinks he has no chance of ever winning it.

The Raven match I was just watching is a six-man tag match, and there was this sense of hilarious anti-climax in the introduction of the other team: “The man-monster ABYSS! LEGEND! AND Kevin Northcutt…”

And this gives me an irresistible chance to quote again my favourite example of disconnect between what you see and what you hear in the history of sports commentary: commentator “Raven is the master of psychological warfare.” Action while he says this: Raven hits someone over the head with a steel chair. I don’t think taking the head as your target makes that psychological, really.

Jun 04

just call me statto…

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just call me statto…

(i expect this wayne rooney joke is ancient by now but it was new to me last night when my friend glyn made it and i laughed so now you can) (unless you heard it before already)

Jun 04

Whilst obviously I am keenly aware

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Whilst obviously I am keenly aware that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, there’s still a degree of heart-warming satisfaction to a story like this, especially after the good news about the fit and proper persons test DB mentioned below.

Humble Pi

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Humble Pi: Portugal v Greece remains my favourite game of Euro2004 so far (that I’ve seen). Partly that’s because it seemed a fine clash between opposing approaches; partly it’s because the underdog won; partly it was the Greeks’ fine defending; mostly it’s that I’m off to Greece tomorrow on holiday so I’d already picked them as my second team.

I watched bits of both the 98 World Cup and Euro 2000 in Greece. There was always a taverna somewhere showing a game and the atmosphere was relaxed – watching USA-Iran in 1998 in the Wave Bar on Samos, drinking wheat beer and cocktails with the harbour lights glittering on the Mediterranean, still seems to me an ideal way for a neutral to enjoy football. But the Greeks weren’t involved in either of those tournaments. By my reckoning Isabel and I get to our apartments about a half hour before Spain and Greece kick off – it’s going to be (fingers crossed) a great atmosphere.

I had a suspicion the Greeks wouldn’t be pushovers – in fact I was assuming all the tournament guides knew something I didn’t, so written off were they (with none of the minnowish glamour of Latvia, even). They’d almost beaten England in 2002, they had beaten Spain last year and they’d rarely conceded in qualifying. I had them down as getting a draw against Portugal or Spain, beating Russia and going out on goal difference: now I wouldn’t be surprised if they get the chance to try their stifling game against France. If they do I sadly won’t be in Greece to watch it, but hopefully I’ll have a good story to tell back on this blog next week.

Jun 04

Much better news

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Much better news from the Football League. It now means that the proven incompetent and the still criminally challenged won’t be able to take over clubs in the Football League (look mom, no coke!). One might say it’s a good policy to finally have after 116 years of existence, but for once, I’d say that would be churlish.

I remember having a discussion with an football administrator 3 years ago. He said that a fit-and-proper test was impractical and unworkable in law, but more than that, it was undesirable because it might stop the likes of a certain former Darlington Chairman becoming involved in football. Maybe the penny finally dropped that that wouldn’t be a bad outcome for the game.

It’s also worth placing on record the thanks that should go to Sir John Smith, who recommended such a test in the his report on the George Graham bung scandal for the FA in 1996, and the Football Task-Force who did similar in 1999. Also, Dave Conn from the Independent, who by consistently lifting the lid on the murky, tawdry and (how shall we say given many cases haven’t yet come to court?) potentially illegal dealings that go on at clubs, especially in the lower reaches, made the case for the need to police the ability of such people to become owners or Directors.

Also, congratulations to the League officials for doing this and taking a stand, and I daresay a risk too. Congratulations too, to the clubs who voted it through – the phrase ‘turkeys voting for Christmas has often been used’ to cover the reason why this would be unlikely to happen, but it has. Does this mean that the test isn’t in fact Christmas? Time will tell. And there’s still a few Turkeys amongst club chairmen, but thanks to the work we do at Supporters Direct, there’s a some fantastic people getting into of positions influence too.

Maybe it’s Euro 2004 being just around the corner, or the fact that as I type this, I can see a lovely sunny day out of the window, but I’m optimistic about football. We’re not going to hell in a handcart after all!

(Update: see what I mean?)

Jun 04

Foolishness Update

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Foolishness Update: This has come true. Even aside from Mr.Boyle’s excellent points, as a marketer I’d like to add one more: if the defining characteristic of your ‘brand’ is that its best assets defect to another ‘brand’ at the end of each year, you are onto a tradition-steeped loser trying to play this down.