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Football vs. cricket

There’s a football vs. cricket discussion over at Corridor of Uncertainty. Not surprisingly, since it’s a cricket blog, everyone is saying how wonderful cricket is and how much football could learn from it.

But I still think that for moments of sheer, jaw-dropping brilliance, football is streets ahead of cricket, just because it’s less structured. Even the most memorable moments in cricket – like Warne’s famous Gatting ball – are variations on a theme. Yes, it was an extraordinarily good leg-break, but it was still rather like all his other leg-breaks. The great moments in football – from Gordon Banks, Maradona, Cruyff, Archie Gemmill, Paul Gascoigne – give you the sense of someone doing something impossible and unthought of. It’s like watching a magic trick, except invented on the spur of the moment in front of 70 000 people and with the World Cup at stake.

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Inter Milan cancel tour to England

Inter Milan have cancelled their pre-season tour to England, citing security fears. How’s this for weasel words: “The club has decided to cancel the team tour in England so as not to further stretch the already severely occupied security services”. Fuck ’em.

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Liverpool vs. TNS

The Ashes haven’t even started yet.

The first football match of the new season – Liverpool’s Champion League pre-pre-pre-pre-qualifier against Total Network Solutions – was yesterday. I watched a bit of it, but it just felt wrong. The Ashes haven’t even started yet! Has the world gone mad?

[And if you had a club called something as fabulous as Llansantffraid FC, wouldn’t it make you die a little every time you heard it referred to as Total Network Solutions? Mind you, two of the other teams in the Welsh Premier League seem to be called Connah’s Quay Nomads and Afan Lido, so perhaps Llansantffraid FC just seemed a little plain.]

But anyway, I shouldn’t be doing football blogging now, because the Ashes haven’t even started yet. Shame on me.

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Liverpool in Istanbul

Unbefuckinglievable. In the first half Milan looked so much better that it was hard to believe that the same two teams were playing in the second half. Surely Uefa are going to have to let Liverpool defend the title?

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Maradona has a gastric bypass

One of the greatest sportsmen of all time, and look at him now. It’s hard not to think of Michael Jackson, the other superstar currently in the news. And to a slightly less spectacular degree, Gazza and George Best. Will we be watching Rooney self-destruct in a few years time? Or one of the Ronaldos? Or Beckham? I guess there are plenty who don’t – for every Maradona, Best or Gazza there’s a Pele, Charlton or Lineker – but it’s a grim precedent even so.