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Category: General

The finishing post

The Ball 2006
Time’s up!

So that’s it then for another four years. A final game and a final post. This is Battersea Park to Munich spliced together for you all.

The tradition of short movies continues with this video of the trip from start to finish.

Comment on this video

South Africa next time… Watch out!

Happy Solstice one and all

It's a big ball
Yes, it’s one big ball that we all live on together.

If there’s anything more important than football — it’s this. We do nothing but shoot ourselves in the foot every time we foul the earth. So let’s play fair with it. Sign it somewhere by all means, but pass it on as clean as you found it. The game must go on — some players age and retire, but others will come on as subs in their place. Take a moment to consider those who’ve yet to play and don’t hog the ball!

Another ball travels to Germany

The Phantom Fouler reports from England that, according to an article in The Sun, the ball which was used in the 1966 World Cup final is travelling to Germany for a few days. Apparently, its presence will “inspire England to victory over Sweden”.

Hmm, I thought that was Sven’s job, but we’ll see.

UPDATE: it’s true — the 1966 ball is here.

I spotted it on the preview of the England v Sweden game on German TV. The host (whose name I’ve forgotten) was wearing gloves just to be near it. As you can see from the picture, the monstrously dull G√ľnter Netzer could hardly bear to even look at it.

The ball played with in the 1966 World Cup final
An English talisman in Germany

Luck of the (red) devil

Flags of friendship
Oh pilsen Korea!

How do they do it?
Where does it come from?
Can England borrow some?

Our first published article

Read our post on the Guardian’s site here

Yet another interview
Yet another interview (photo: Dixi at Opera Hostel, Erfurt)

Phil calls us “media puppets” as we seek publicity for The Ball. I know what he means. We both find dealing with the press — whether tv, radio or written — difficult to say the least. But we both want to see this project (and specifically the idea of The Ball) propagate beyond our own circle of friends and beyond our ability to do it ourselves because:

(a) we’re not getting any younger,
(b) we may have too many other pressing commitments,
(c) whatever else may crop up in the unpredictable future.

Whether it does depends on the support we get from other people — and that requires us to make the best of whatever channels become open to us. So then, many thanks to Sheila at the Guardian’s World Cup blog for taking a gamble on us writing something coherent.

Read our post on the Guardian’s site here.

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

The World Cup in ASCII

Warning: this post is not intended for the technically-challenged!

Okay, I just can’t resist posting this — even though I haven’t been able to see the stream itself — but it really does promise to be what it says on the tin homepage: “The best, most ridiculous, most redundant graphical implementation of ASCII!”:

A screenshot of World Cup action in ASCII (from, now sadly deleted)

Yes, now even the hardened of geeks can follow the action direct in their terminal application. One small problem, however, is that it seems to have been rather too popular:

As you may have noticed, we are completely overloaded at the moment… we already served more than a million telnet-connections and more than a terabyte of data. This is a free, non-profit for-the-fun-of-it project. However server upgrade and mirroring solution are in preparation. so stay tuned and thanks for the fish and the patience (you could play some football yourself while waiting :)

I’m going to follow that wise advice — shut down the computer, get myself outside and play some football!

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: Viral Football

Nope, I’m not talking about spyware, malware, adware or anything destructive to your computer’s health here, just a selection of the funny, annoying, provocative and simply delightful football-related trivia that’s come my way recently… most of it, no doubt, gearing people up for the imminent (oh my gosh how imminent!) start of the World Cup in Germany.

To kick off then, a sweet reminder of (one of) our World Cup hosts from four years ago — the kitschy but utterly compelling Lovely Football from Japan’s Onitsuka Tiger National Choir. Okay, so it’s advertising a shoe, but just check out the sing-along video!


So, following on swiftly from national stereotypes to the stuff showcasing male stereotypes… I guess this proves that men can’t stop thinking about football — it’s a photo of “Amburg Wc Futbol club” from Flickr:

Amburg Wc Futbol club
Uploaded by wweeggee on 31 Jan ’06, 9.59am GMT.

And then two timely pieces of advice — firstly, the “World Cup Rules for Women”, a memorandum (in HTML or PDF format) containing rules such as these:

1. From 9 June to 9 July 2006, you should read the sports section of the newspaper so that you are aware of what is going on regarding the World Cup, and that way you will be able to join in the conversations. If you fail to do this, then you will be looked at in a bad way, or you will be totally ignored. DO NOT complain about not receiving any attention.

2. During the World Cup, the television is mine, at all times, without any exceptions. If you even take a glimpse of the remote control, you will lose it (your eye).

3. If you have to pass by in front of the TV during a game, I don’t mind, as long as you do it crawling on the floor and without distracting me. If you decide to stand nude in front of the TV, make sure you put clothes on right after because if you catch a cold, I wont have time to take you to the doctor or look after you during the World Cup month.

Follow the links to the full document to read Rules 4 – 12. If you’re going to print it out and stick it to the fridge, I recommend the PDF — it’s designed to look like an offical FIFA document. Should make all the difference when confronted…

Secondly, if you do have to mingle with the fairer sex during matches, “How to explain the offside rule to a lady” (as it was politely titled when i received it) could help:

The Offside Rule explained for girls

You’re in a shoe shop, second in the queue for the till. Behind the shop assistant on the till is a pair of shoes which you have seen and which you must have.
The female shopper in front of you has seen them also and is eyeing them with desire.
Both of you have forgotten your purses.
It would be totally rude to push in front of the first woman if you had no money to pay for the shoes.
The shop assistant remains at the till waiting.
Your friend is trying on another pair of shoes at the back of the shop and sees your dilemma.
She prepares to throw her purse to you.
If she does so, you can catch the purse, then walk round the other shopper and buy the shoes.
At a pinch she could throw the purse ahead of the other shopper and, *whilst it is in flight* you could nip around the other shopper, catch the purse and buy the shoes.
Always remembering that until the purse has *actually been thrown* it would be plain wrong to be forward of the other shopper.
There you go poppet.

To which some wag added:

However if you were loitering by the till checking out the gift cards you are technically NOT INTEREFERING WITH PURCHASE and can be in that position when the ‘purse is thrown’. The purse must be allowed to fall to the floor before you can pick it up and buy the shoes though.

Shrovetide Football

The Global Game sent me a timely reminder that there’s a very special football game going on today. It’s the second of two games that have been played consistently over the last 1000 years or so, and, to many, is the precursor to the modern game whose birth we celebrate at Battersea Park. The game, more commonly referred to as “mob football”, takes place on a pitch three miles long in Ashbourne, Derbyshire and is played over the course of eight hours by two teams; the Down’ards and the Up’ards. Yesterday’s game was won by the Down’ards with the only “goal” being scored by a certain Brendan Harwood. Actually, the talk is of “the ball being goaled” — the ball itself being made of cork and hand-painted. Ouch!

Ulrich Hesse-Lichtenberger notes that interest in this traditional game is still rife amongst modern football’s higher echelons. According to him, just before West Germany played the USSR in the 1966 World Cup semi-final, Adi Dassler (founder of the eponymous adidas) had paid a visit to Ashbourne. The Germans beat the USSR in a closely fought match, and…

There were smiles all around, but one of the broadest did not belong to a player. Adi Dassler had gone to Ashbourne in Derbyshire to investigate the traditional Shrove Tuesday football match and had dug up and age-old, mouldering football boot which he proudly took home to display in his semi-private museum. The worth of a trophy is always relative.

The BBC has a mini-site devoted to Ashbourne Shrovetide Football 2006 which is very informative and worth a look if you’re lucky enough to be able to go this year.Something I liked very much, and had no idea existed, was the The Shrovetide Anthem, which was written for a concert in 1891:

The Shrovetide Anthem

There’s a town still plays this glorious game
Tho’ tis but a little spot.
And year by year the contest’s fought
From the field that’s called Shaw Croft.
Then friend meets friend in friendly strife
The leather for to gain,
‘And they play the game right manfully,
In snow, sunshine or rain.

‘Tis a glorious game, deny it who can
That tries the pluck of an Englishman.

For loyal the Game shall ever be
No matter when or where,
And treat that Game as ought but the free,
Is more than the boldest dare.
Though the up’s and down’s of its chequered life
May the ball still ever roll,
Until by fair and gallant strife
We’ve reached the treasur’d goal.

‘Tis a glorious game, deny it who can
That tries the pluck of an Englishman.

Amen to that!

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.