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Category: England

Lettuce Play Football

More news from home — it looks like our local co-op is making a bit of a meal of its vegetable branding. Icebergs in the icebox?

World Cup lettuce
Strange goings on in the fridge

Inside the head of Peter Crouch

This video by spizzenergi (anyone remember Where’s Captain Kirk?) made me laugh.

And the burning question in my head is: why didn’t he do his robotic dance yesterday when he scored? What was he thinking? Next time, eh, Peter? There will be a next time, won’t there?

Video: The Phantom Fouler strikes again

The Phantom Fouler
The Phantom Fouler

The Ball takes in some landmarks on its way to the Kentish coast.

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So The Ball has left Battersea Park and is now bouncing its way to Europe. Phil and I have reached the most iconic stretch of English coastline there is: the White Cliffs of Dover. Last time, in 2002, we kicked a long ball straight across the Channel to a beach near Calais… and the idea was to do the same this year. Until the (in)famous Phantom Fouler intervened, that is…

The Phantom Fouler in Xi'an
The Phantom Fouler in Xi’an

If you haven’t come across him before, he’s the Terracotta Warrior who ruthlessly hacked Phil down in Xi’an, providing us with the free-kick that took us direct to Tiananmen Square. You can watch the video in this post from 2002, or read the story in this post.

So then, will The Ball make it across the Channel? Will “fair play” win out in the end? Watch the next episode to find out if we make it…

Battersea Park Match Report

The Ball 2006 (photo by Stanley)
The Ball 2006

They gathered at the Peace Pagoda, Battersea Park at 2pm to do battle. For some, it invoked memories of Passchendaele, Monte Cassino, Stalingrad, Trafalgar. For others it was merely a game of football. Jumpers for goalposts.

[You can watch the video of the game in the previous entry]

There were some old faces and some new, an interesting variety of footware and “football kit” and some shockingly white legs but the spirit and belief were high. After the necessary delays to greet the assembled worlds’ press (well…CNN) teams were picked and lined up Lights vs Darks.

Let the game begin (photo by Stanley)
Let the game begin

The Lights sprinted off to an early lead thanks to some excellent play by Phil down the wings and Chas, Shilton-esque, in goal by half time they were easily in front at 5-1.

The music of the fans - provided by Andy on sax and Brian on flute (photo by Stanley)
The music of the fans provided by Andy on sax and Brian on flute

Whatever the Darks were drinking during the break (I believe it was Champagne) they came out a team transformed for the second half.

It was nip and tuck in the midfield with the Darks adding three goals to be answered only by one from the Lights. Phil then switched teams playing for the Darks and the introduction of doggy Maisie to harry the Lights attack saw the Darks draw level in the very last minute with a stunning effort on the half volley by Einar.

Gooooooooal! (photo by Stanley)

So, to penalties and it was and Chas in goal for the Lights using the old Grobbelaar wobbly to great effect, saving three penalties. This just left Tom to score which he duly did, giving victory to the Lights. The post match analysis in the pub afterwards concluded that everyone had a very enjoyable day and it was a fitting send off for Phil and Christian on their journey to the World Cup.

Best of luck guys!

Kickoff for Germany (photo by Stanley)
Kickoff for Germany

Video: The Ball gets underway

The Teams 2006 (photo by Andrea Daschner)
The Teams celebrate (photo by Andrea Daschner)

Many thanks to everyone who turned up at Battersea Park on Sunday — we love you all! What luck we had with the weather, eh?

Final score:
Lights 8 — 8 Darks
(Lights won on penalties)

Recreating the first official game to FA rules.

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Full match report to come, but in the meantime, here is reminder of what Phil had to say in 2002 about the reason we do this:

The Football Association itself grew from a small group of players who, tired of the broken arms, endless arguments (not to mention endless pitches) drew up some rules to level the stakes. The evening of that first game, they made this toast — “Success to Football, irrespective of class and creed”. We will be adding sex” (don’t you mean “gender”? – ed.) and “talent” to the list, and generally getting right into this footballing occasion.

So the game in Battersea Park will honour the FA and mark the start of our journey to the World Cup, the very pinnacle of footballing excellence. Just grab your footballs and join in at the other end of the scale.

After all is done, football will remain.

Video: The Opening Game 2006

The Replica Ball 2006
The Ball prepares itself for kick off

This Sunday, May 28th 2006 in Battersea Park, London
Meet us @ 2pm at the Peace Pagoda on the river

So then, here we go again… it’s time to visit our Mount Olympus as we prepare for the epic overland journey to, er, Munich. Oh well, not quite the same epic as Seoul was last time or Cape Town will be next time, but hey, continuity is what it’s about this year. In the spirit of the low-key, low-effort* nature of this trip, we’re playing a kickabout on Sunday, May 28th at 2pm in Battersea Park.

(*since I wrote this Sky News have announced that they’re coming along to broadcast the kickoff LIVE on TV — *gulp* — not so low-key anymore then)

Map of the park
The Park

It may not be well organised, it may even end up as mob football, but we’ll be there all the same. Come along! Meet us at the pagoda by the river and help us make a spectacle of ourselves… bring along a dark and a light shirt so we can divide up into recognisable teams.

And as a reminder of what this is all about, I’ve included the 5 minute movie from 2002 below.


The Ball 2018 left England on 25th March 2018 and travelled to the World Cup in Russia.

The Ball 2014 kicked off from England on 9th Jan 2014 and headed to the World Cup in Brazil.

The Ball 2010 left England on 24th Jan 2010 headed to the Opening Ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Ball 2006 travelled from London to the Opening Ceremony in Munich, Germany.

The Ball 2002 was carried 7000 miles across Europe and Asia to the World Cup finals in Korea & Japan.