All Aboard The Football Apocalypse

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Football’s future will be played out in empty stadia. Its superstars will be clones shorn of personality who go through a succession of computer-simulated motions in readiness for the stack of cash that awaits them at the end of the match.  The individual who was once referred to as the ‘supporter’ but has since been branded the ‘consumer’ will half-heartedly flick his/her attention-frazzled eyes from a high definition big screen and back towards the scrolling, smudgy small screen stuck to his/her palm, umming and ahhing over the next witty response that can be furiously pinged into the webby void before anybody else gets there first. Inevitably, goals will be missed. Who cares? He/she will replay it later when it’s snapshatted into an easily digestible fifteen-second clipette. Why bother sitting through 90 minutes anyway when you’ve got whatever it is that you do to do?

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I’ll Be Back After The Break

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For Nina, Bonnie & Jesse

A malady has taken me over. It’s not something that you’ll find case studies on in prestigious medical journals or in the latest pop-psychiatry bestseller from Oliver Sacks but its symptoms (in my mind, at least) are very real and have an effect on how I’m to digest football for the next few months. You see, I’m currently within the grip of a heavy dose of the Post World Cup Blues. Don’t worry. It doesn’t last for long. Usually until October at which point, I inevitably and finally commit those glorious days of summer to memory and once again nuzzle back into the ample bosom of club football.

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Die Größte Show Der Welt

Mario Gotze Kissing FIFA 2014 World Cup Trophy Wallpaper

It’s staring at me, that wallchart. It’s a little bit frayed and crumpled now since the move back from Greece and after finding its way around Jesse’s sticky fingers and teething gums. Since Sunday, I haven’t been able to summon the requisite will to complete the final vacant space. The one that states that Germany beat Argentina, one-nil, AET. It’s the finality that daunts me; the knowledge that once complete it becomes a historical artefact, no more a tantalising map of an unknown future.

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Germany: Killing Football To Save Football

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It’s hard to put into words but I’ll try. They could be, and were, described as ‘clinical’, ‘efficient’, ‘methodical’ but those adjectives somehow don’t sit well alongside the manner and magnitude of Germany’s annihilation of Brazil. Outmoded phraseology that lazily takes refuge in the defining of a nation through the scars of conflict is best left to the fingertips of the tabloid hack or the mouth of Alan Shearer. This was so much more.

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¡Vamos Argentina! ¡Vamos South America!

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It’s always been Argentina. The thoughts that run through my head may undoubtedly be tinged with an English hue and the blood that courses through my veins is unquestionably Hellenic, but my football heart has always belonged to a country shimmering in silver.

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The World Cup Is For Losers

Belgium v USA: Round of 16 – 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

“In sport, winners can survive only if losers do too; otherwise, there’d be no game” – Tim Flannery

How will you remember this World Cup? Will it be for the collective panic attack that gripped the Brazilian nation when the penalties crashed and fluffed but ultimately undid that effervescent band of pirate footballers from across the border? Or will it be for Angel Di Maria’s anonymous ghosting of a goal against the Swiss as Argentina sweated minutes before the dead ball roulette wheel loomed ominously for yet another random spin? Is Kevin De Bruyne a name that will enter our game’s folklore? Will the talking head previews of World Cup 2026 still be condemning the scurrilous swan dives of a Dutch footballer, long after he has accepted a lucrative role as a World Cup talking head?

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This World Cup! This Bloody, Beautiful World Cup!

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“And when good football happens, I give thanks for the miracle and I don’t give a damn which team or country performs it” – Eduardo Galeano

The unrepaired cracks in the ITV studio’s glass panels serve as a poignant reminder of the real world. Every time Glenn Hoddle, Ian Wright and their fellow pundits blow another gust of hot air on English football’s pyre, they’re there. Brazil is not just a sunny postcard playground for bikini-clad nymphettes and bronzed soccer gods. People are angry and when people are stripped of their voices they throw things. At Adrian Chiles. And for all the cossetting, bewitching magnificence we’ve all witnessed over the last two weeks, Brazil’s problems, or even our own, are not about to vanish into nothingness once the carnival has packed up and left for the Russian dourlands.

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World Cup Dreams 2014

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In the north-west part of Kho Pha Ngan in Thailand during the World Cup of 2002, two brothers ran a guesthouse. One, perpetually on a cannabis high, would routinely forget to charge ordered fruit juices and toasted snacks to his guests’ accounts. We called him Boss Man. The other sported a Zapata moustache that crawled its way gloriously across his top lip. He was ‘Tom Selleck’, Thailand’s very own version of everyone’s favourite Hawaiian-shirted private investigator.

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One Spurs Fan, One Sofa And 43 Stories About Football

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Arsene Wenger as Walter White, David Moyes as Jesus Christ, Daniel Levy as a tooth, Jose Mourinho as a tramp and Tim Sherwood pretending to be a football manager. One pastry dish controversy, a scrap with David Baddiel and confessions of love for Arsenal and Garth Crooks. A tribute to a hero, a tribute to an anti-hero. Much pining for Gareth Bale and wondering what the hell is wrong with Manchester United. A 200th post. A plan for how to save football. A move to Greece. But more than any of that, the birth of one beautiful little boy. 

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It’s Not Always About Spurs, You Know

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There will be no grandiose proclamation of writing retirement this year. I’ve come to the happy realisation that I will forever feel the need to write about football in some form or another. There’s no point fighting it anymore.

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