“This is what we play with. Go and get it!”
That was, apparently, the entirety of the late Brian Clough’s pre-match team talk, once he’d placed a ball on a towel in the middle of the dressing room, according to an article entitled “The Humble Football: A Eulogy” on the British Council’s Football Culture website.
The simplicity and directness of Clough’s message forms the basis for the article, which is worth a read if only because it is the only piece I’ve found which focusses (like we do) on the primacy of The Ball above all else in the game. The author, Pete May, suggests that “next time you see it in action give it a cheer. It is after all, the most important spherical object in the world”.
An article on The Register entitled “Scientists learn to bend it like Beckham” suggests that the sight of our David skying a spot kick over the goal and into the stands may be numbered. “Scientists at Loughborough University have developed a system that will measure a football’s speed and spin, something they say has not been accomplished before”, reports Lucy Sherriff, and suggests that one outcome of this research may be a “perfect penalty-taking cyborg”. Strangely, she goes on to quote a colleague who claims that “in fact the most confusing ball to face, when standing in goal, is one that doesn’t spin at all”.
Well that clears that one up then.
FIFA have announced that tickets for the 2006 World Cup will go on sale on the 1st February 2005. Three million tickets… but just how many people will there be wanting to see the games? A few more than that I expect. Set your alarm on 31st January, folks. Ticket prices in Euros are as follows:
|Category 1||Category 2||Category 3||Category 4|
|Round of 16||120,00||75,00||60,00||45,00|
The tickets seem (dare I say it) quite reasonably priced by comparison to the exorbitant sums that were being charged last time in Korea and Japan. Phew… maybe we won’t need VIP tickets like last time. Despite the endless champagne and canapes, it’s actually a lot more fun to be in amongst the fans.
Edit: the original article seems to have gone, but this video shows the process
I stumbled across this article today – about getting a game together in Burundi. It reminded me so much of the children Phil and I saw all the way through Asia on our way to Korea. They would use anything to improve their football skills – we often saw children playing keep-up at the side of the road with balls made from tightly knotted herbs. Though we got no pictures of them (our driver wasn’t too keen on stopping for anything, even other traffic!) my memories are still vivid. So check out Henri’s photo-story for another example of footballing ingenuity.