Monthly Archives: September 2016

A theory on why crosses and corners fill us with hope and dread

In season 1, episode 17 of Recess, grouchy grey playground warden Miss Finster tries out a new way to punish misbehaving kids. Her four white lines on the floor, ‘The Box’, prove so effective that they psychologically traumatise our backwards baseball cap wearing hero TJ into a suck-up goodiee-goodie.The Box has a power far beyond it’s physical manifestation.

The same is true in football. Continue reading


Gatsby, what Gatsby? – Leipzig vs Dortmund

From a distance, it looks like a green light. It represents… Well, what does it represent. It could represent money, obviously. Greed. Envy. Jealousy. Lust. But for what? Power, success, love? The green light has all of these meanings, but at its most basic level it is simply the Rasen (or, pitch) on which RB Leipzig play their Ballsport.

When you see the inside plasterings of Leipzig’s stadium, it makes a mockery of the Bundesliga rules that mean the RB stands for RasenBallsport instead of Red Bull. The Red Bull arena is in Red Bull colours with pictures of Red Bulls and Red Bull heads and Red Bull players around the walls below the first tier of fans, and below that are ad boards on which every now and then are adverts for Red Bull. It is loud, it is brash, it is unashamed, it is the new money of German football which is disrupting the ‘natural order of things’. It is Gatsby. Continue reading

Love wins out in the end – Schalke vs Bayern Munich

Love. Love is back at Bayern. Pep, lovely Pep, was a good man, a clever man but… Well, he was cold. He said ‘I love you’ but he didn’t mean it. He just felt he should say it. He suits the icy blue of Manchester City. But Carlo. When Carlo says ‘I love you’ you know that he means it, and he doesn’t even need to say it, his eyebrow says all you need to know.

But love can be disappointing. Pep’s Bayern was far from perfect but Carlo’s, in this opening Bundesliga tie away to Schalke, lightly punctured the balloon of excitement. Or, maybe, at first it did, but by the time the game was over the puncture was mended, the familiarity of an eventually comfortable victory a warm embrace for the fans of the Munich club.

To begin with, a statement. This is not like the old one. This one is new. A starting 4-3-3 of dignified rigidity to cast away memories of left-backs, right-backs, fans, moose, and personifications of the theory of football playing at centre-back. Renato Sanches as part of the central midfield three was the only flash of flair amongst this. Continue reading

Every Team Needs A Ro(o)n(ey) – maybe?

Throw catch throw catch throw catch throw catch throw catch. I’m juggling (semi-competently), by the way. When I was a kid, my Dad could juggle and it looked cool so I wanted to learn how to do it myself. I’m going quite well, the throws are all at a good height and good space away from my body, meaning that I don’t have to be waving my arms about to catch the ball which then throws the throws out of place which in turn makes where I’m catching them go everywhere etc etc.

I start to think about throwing good throws to keep the run going. Throw catch throw catch throw catch throw. I’m losing it. I can feel my arm tighten, it’s movement now limited as I stress to it where it needs to go. The trajectory of the throws are getting messier now, and with my other arm I try to compensate, and end up over-compensating. Too high. Too far to the right. Not far enough to the right. Throw catch throw catch throw bump drop. Continue reading