Archive | February, 2013

Inside Football’s ‘Black Mirror’

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Lambs To The Slaughter

(Inspired by Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror)

The message pinged onto his screen. He could barely suppress the yelp of excitement that left his mouth from the anonymous isolation of his workstation. Having been registered on a waiting list from birth, Eric Blair had finally been selected by the random generator to become a Manager. He was thirty-five years old.

All he now had to do was ensure that he picked the right team every Saturday and Wednesday whilst executing the inevitable victories with sufficient technical flourish in order to maintain or add to his Supporter Ratio. A life of celebrity stardom would hopefully follow as a consequence.

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Gareth Bale: Spurs Legend, Madrid Benchwarmer

Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against Lyon

What is a talisman? A quick search of the internet will reveal that it is an object that purports to possess magical properties warding off evil and bestowing good luck upon its owner. We Greeks love a talisman. Many of our children will have a mass-produced evil eye attached to their babygrows as we waft incense around them and spit on the floor should any stranger deign to lavish them with any hint of a compliment. We’re a highly superstitious folk, us Hellenes.

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Our Lives With Gazza

Soccer – World Cup Italia 1990 – Semi Final – West Germany v England – Stadio Delle Alpi

Of all the pieces I’ve written, only two have left me so emotionally drained that I still find it difficult to revisit them. One of them was my October 2010 post on the tragedy of my childhood hero Paul Gascoigne’s continued battle with alcoholism and the fear that haunts me that one day I may wake up to the news that he is no longer with us. Nearly two and half years after Schoolboy’s Own Stuff, the fact remains that this recurring nightmare sadly draws ever closer to becoming a reality if what we read in our daily newspapers is to be believed.

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Charity Begins With Beckham

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Only a sceptic would question the motives of the world’s most recognisable footballer donating his next five month’s wages to a children’s charity. Why would he make this announcement after signing for a club that harbours long-term ambitions of challenging the might of Europe’s mega-clubs on transfer deadline day, when he could have done this at any point after his departure from LA Galaxy? Seeing that he now operates as a free agent and thus can broker deals beyond the restrictions placed upon contracted employees of football clubs, David Beckham’s appropriation of Friday’s back and front page headlines could be considered as yet another masterstroke in brand strengthening in the final embers of a career that has been played out with clinical precision and shrewd positioning as he now begins the inevitable transition into his post-playing future.

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