C3 (Day 42): Lent

Who was it that had

my copy of The Football

Grounds of Great Britain?

~

n.b. I cannot imagine I ever let anyone borrow that from me, but no sign of my copy of the classic text by Simon Inglis and I would never have knowingly given it away. The Football Grounds of Europe is still with me, so maybe this is telling me something about my future?

~

CLP 17/02/2021

On Playing (12)

Being substitute

is not a problem when you

have the chance to shine

~

n.b. As a boy being picked for the school team, even as a substitute, was to be part of something exciting. All I have ever wanted was to have an opportunity to have a go.

That is what we all want in life…to take part.

n.n.b. Quick explanation: 12 was the number of the player who could be used to replace an injured team-mate, or might be used to replace another player to change the flow of a match. This was in the days when football teams were numbered 1 to 11 for those players who started a game. There was none of this squad number / choose your favourite number business when I was a lad.

n.n.n.b. The Number 12 is now often allocated to a football club’s supporters, implying that after the eleven players on the pitch, the supporters are the most important people in the game. I will spare you the philosophical discussions that could be had around that, but when you hear a crowd gee a team up to perform better, or get on their backs and hinder their progress, you will appreciate that the supporters have an influence.

A report yesterday from Austria suggests that players without a paying, baying crowd present are much calmer and less confrontational with opponents and the referee.

From time to time Portsmouth have had players who did not need a crowd to gee them up. As the saying goes, they could start a fight in a phone box – with themselves. No names…but Pompey fans could tell you who I have in mind.

n.n.n.n.b. The picture is of St Andrew’s. The home of Birmingham City, who rent there ground to Coventry City, who were hosting a visit by Portsmouth that evening. Yes, we lost 1-0.

~

CLP 25/01/2021

On Playing (xi)

Why is it that teams

comprise eleven players?

Perfect for cricket.

~

n.b. I had a look on-line and the answers are pretty dumb given the fact that it was a rural game codified in 1744 and the story that Edward VIII had only eleven courtiers is a complete red herring. Cricket teams of eleven were in place long before that short-reigning monarch abdicated in 1936, never to return to live in England.

We know that football followed cricket’s lead when it came to team size, as it was promoted as the winter game for cricket players.

Famous examples of football clubs formed by cricketers include Aston Villa FC (formed in 1874) and AC Milan (1899).

The question of why eleven players were decided on for cricket remains unanswered.

~

CLP 25/01/2021

On Playing ix

She asked him who he played as

Knowing every boy pretends

To be someone else when playing

They dream they can be better

He wanted to be Best

~

n.b. As a boy playing football I clearly had a failure of ambition. I pretended to be a Welsh international centre forward, not George Best. Who would dare to dream that big?

“The Fifth Beatle” certainly lived up to his name on the pitch, as in best in the world, for a time at least. Her dad went on to play football professionally and he scored a ghost goal that was allowed. He was clearly very good at applying his mind over matter from an early age.

~

CLP 22/01/2021

On Playing ii

Saturday at three

is when the fun really starts

Oh, yes! And the pain

~

n.b. A lifetime of training my body to endure watching Pompey all over England means my adrenalin and endorphins peak around 3pm on winter Saturday afternoons…what happens from there is a game.

I used to play a bit too, not at that level though.

Realising the ambiguity of the last sentence, I clarify, that I played far below the Pompey level, (although my grandma could have scored some goals that Pompey players sometimes fail to score, obviously).

~

CLP 16/01/2021