Archive for February, 2006

Folk football | Lenten rite when pancakes aren’t enough

Ashbourne, England | Brendan Harwood, born south of the River Henmore in this Derbyshire town, goaled a ceremonial, cork-filled ball for the Down’ards at 2130 GMT today to complete a Shrovetide Tuesday football match that some believe has been contested annually for more than 1,000 years. A second match with the Up’ards takes place tomorrow, Ash […]

Kings of carnival | South Florida–based Brazilians make sacred time for futebol

Miami | Eyes turn toward Brazil when considering links between football and the pre-Lenten season. Rio and São Paulo clubs exist symbiotically with samba schools that parade to the sambadrome during the Rio Carnaval. Yet a recent article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel makes even clearer, from talking with expatriate Brazilians in Miami, the strong […]

Silly sketch | Building from the back, with Leibniz in goal

London | Some might object that Monty Python’s Personal Best, airing in six installments in February and March on the Public Broadcasting Service, merely provides another money-making rehash for the famed comedy troupe. But the installment hosted by Eric Idle at least offers the classic Python Olympiad, featuring the second-leg football final in Munich between […]

Lonely layover | Nigerian supporters gain release from Cairo distress

Ladipo Lagos, Nigeria, and Cairo | The BBC credits Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo with ordering an airlift of some 170 Super Eagles supporters, marooned in Cairo for 15 days following the African Cup of Nations. Thirty-five of the supporters from the Nigerian Football Supporters Club arrived in Lagos earlier today, with the rest to follow. […]

Dramatic figure | Roy Keane saga continues on the boards

London and Manchester, England | Even with Roy Keane‘s northward move from Manchester United to Parkhead in Glasgow, he remains a compelling dramatis persona. His fiery exit from the Republic of Ireland camp at the 2002 World Cup finals has inspired several tragi-comic renderings, all set in ancient Rome. Irish playwright Colin Teevan last year performed a […]

Questionable links | Looking for the ‘inner Mourinho’ in Iberian past

London | In advance of today’s first-leg Champions League encounter between Chelsea and Barcelona, Oxford don Peter Conrad shames even our ABC (“Anyone but Chelsea”) sensibilities by branding manager Jose Mourinho a dictator, technocrat and marketing shill (see also 22 Dec 05). Conrad’s assessment does not occur in the sports section but as a splash […]

Time to chill | Soccer with moosemeat on the side

Soldotna, Alaska | Tired of getting clobbered by teams from southern Canada, the Northwest Territories and Yukon in the late 1960s decided they needed a circumpolar alternative to the Canada Winter Games. The Arctic Winter Games began in 1970 and incorporate games of the Inuit, such as head pull, airplane and high kick, and Dena (snow snake and other games), along with Olympic winter sports and basketball, volleyball, table tennis and indoor soccer.

Explosive sketch | Cartoonist draws threat for mixing football, TNT

Berlin | A provocative sketch by Der Tagesspiegel cartoonist Klaus Stuttmann, depicting Iranian footballers strapped with explosives, has thrown Germany into the imbroglio over caricatures seen as anti-Islamic. Stuttmann has abandoned his apartment following death threats; an image on the cartoonist’s home page shows him cowering beneath a manhole cover. Violence stemming from the images of […]

Semantics | Are fascist footballers also racists?

Rome | Paolo Di Canio and Lazio teammates abided yesterday by the request of Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni to meet with Nazi death-camp survivors. Three survivors addressed the players at Michelangelo‘s Piazza del Campidoglio; afterward, Di Canio sounded contrite, saying “we heard the stories of people who went through something terrible.” Although still attached to right-wing […]

Berlinale | Festival sends soccer cinema soaring

Berlin | At least seven entries can be added as examples of world cinema’s interest in football (see our cinema page). All are currently screening at the Berlinale, the 56th Berlin International Film Festival. Gerd Graus, media chief of the German World Cup organizing committee, describes cultural connection with the sport as broad. The last […]

Head and heart warmers | Caps will be sized for Turnbull, others

Glasgow, Scotland | It is a long time to wait for a souvenir. The Scottish Football Association announced Feb 8 that it was reversing earlier policy and granting caps—an actual braided, tasselled hat, bearing the player’s name, date and opponent—to players who competed for Scotland in matches outside the British International Championship (see Dec 26). Players such as Hibernian’s Eddie Turnbull, […]

Games of ‘invernale’ | Torino’s glory and remembrance

Turin, Italy | The torch of the 20th Winter Olympiad began its last-day descent from Superga Basilica, acknowledging a tragic component of city history before being transported to the rechristined Stadio Comunale north of the Torrente Sangone. On 4 May 1949 a plane carrying 18 members of “Il Grande Torino,” four-time winners of the Scudetto, crashed […]

Proverbial wisdom | Elephants uphold reputation as peace workers

Cairo | The Pharaohs triumphed on penalties in the African Cup of Nations today, yet both Egypt and Ivory Coast could point to the final’s cultural signifiers. Football has been credited in the past, sometimes erroneously, with sparking international hostility or bringing peace. The Elephants’ advance in this tournament lays claim to the latter, with southern […]

Ugly Americans | Seeking the vain punt of plunder

Manchester, England, and Tampa, Florida | It’s not too often that America’s premier literary weekly includes the following assessment of spectatorship in the English Premier League: “The place is wank now. Too controlled, all seating, sensible, middle class shite.” But these words from an anonymous Manchester United supporter form part of the 6,300 words that […]

No bull | Holy brethren compete for champions’ cup

Zagreb, Croatia | In an item from the Italian news agency ANSA concerning an “upcoming European Champions cup for holy brethren,” we were surprised to learn that there is no patron saint for football. Given the Vatican’s known interest in the game (see Dec 2), one might have expected a designee. Players for the Italian […]

Nicknames | Spicing T&T’s soca with chutney

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago | In an editorial, the Trinidad Express refers to the ongoing debate as a “squall in a thimble.” A letter to the paper on Jan 7 raised the possibility of changing the national team’s nickname to the “Soca-Chutney Warriors,” with the aim of recognizing the East Indian–influenced, Caribbean-based chutney pop-folk style as […]

Politicians | To Mbeki, Bafana Bafana impugns nation’s honor

Kroonstad, South Africa | Even after today’s record-breaking penalty shootout between Cameroon and Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations (Côte d’Ivoire advancing 12–11), we are still thinking about the rough treatment meted out by zealous followers of losing sides. To an outsider, South African President Thabo Mbeki sounded menacing with his excoriation of […]

Tex-Mex | Houston marketing forces still on Santa Anna’s trail

Houston | A transparent effort to add a patina of history to the newest team in Major League Soccer appears to have misfired. Calling on a European, especially German, tradition of including a year of founding in the team name (e.g., Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Hannover 96 and so on), soccer officials and civic boosters on Jan […]

Sportspages | Charing Cross store closes shutters

London | Its popularity once fueled in part by the football-fanzine movement and the football-book boom of the 1990s, specialty bookstore Sportspages of Charing Cross Road has gone into administration. New Zealander John Gaustad founded the store in 1985, opened a companion branch in Manchester and helped launch the annual William Hill Prize for Britain’s best […]

Fashion crossovers | Poulter’s replica shirt bears problem element

Dubai, United Arab Emirates | Players on the European golf tour have elected not to sanction Ian Poulter for donning an Arsenal replica jersey at the recent Abu Dhabi Championship. According to Poulter, the tournament director did not object to football kit as a fairway fashion statement per se, but rather to the prominent logo of a […]

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