Tuesday 20th February
Football is a funny game; which is probably why it is the most popular in the World. A game can be boring, often very boring – especially if it is anticipated, with two very good well-matched sides; it often dribbles out into a goalless draw. And then, the unexpected happens and you get a see-saw of a high-scoring game with goals-a-plenty. It is also a funny game, in that predictions are not easy. Now, in rugby, it is rare for a weaker side to beat a stronger one. In cricket we see the same thing. (American football – don’t even go there). But in football there is a big element of luck. Accidental hand-balls and penalties; back-passes that the goalkeeper doesn’t see coming; weird headers; miss-kicked crosses that somehow float into the net. There are games where a poor side gets a lucky deflection and wins. There are games where a side plays brilliantly but just cannot get the ball in the net…and so it goes. I think that this unpredictability is one of the reasons for the games success.
Also, we have especially recently seen the money. Ridiculous amounts of money being pumped into the game. Teams like Chelsea, who a few years ago rarely troubled the top spots, get a new rich owner, and year after year buy, buy, buy; both players and managers and begin to win…well, nearly everything. But money cannot guarantee success. Chelsea are struggling this year, with much the same side and coach that won the league easily last year….three cheers please.
And, most wonderful of all – Manchester City, who have similarly been boosted recently by a millionaire owner, and are a zillion points clear at the top of the Premier league, were facing lowly Wigan ( a team fallen on hard times of late) in the FA Cup last night. It was on BBC 1. I didn’t watch it; who wants to see lambs ritually slaughtered? I awoke this morning and as usual checked the soccer results. Oh, my goodness. Wigan had won. They beat the mighty Man. City, just as they did almost 5 years ago in the Wembley final.
So let us raise a glass….the mighty have been beaten by the humble….