In the whirl of 17th-century London life, diarist Samuel Pepys had too many appointments to indulge in the well-established practice of street soccer. But, one frosty morn in Jan 1665, he notices a street “full of footballs.”
As similar programs in Italy have discovered (see 12 Jan 07), a London-based football league presents “regular, constant, holistic treatment” for those afflicted with mental health problems ranging from schizophrenia to social anxiety (Angus Watson, “More Than a Game,” Financial Times, Mar 22). (Mar 25)
Alan Sillitoe‘s work was on the syllabus in my short-story class as a college freshman. Naturally, the story considered most representative was “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner,” consisting of a teenage cross-country runner’s interior dialogues upon liberation each day from the Borstal fetters (“I’m a human being and I’ve got thoughts and secrets and bloody life inside me …”).
But a fresh assessment on Sillitoe’s 80th birthday today suggests that the short story “The Match,” which takes its tone from the terrace gloaming at Notts County’s Meadow Lane, might be the best introduction. (Mar 4)
In an interview Jan 11 with the Jewish Chronicle of London, Meir Granat—father of Chelsea manager Avram Grant—details the displacement and death that met the Hasidic family in wartime Europe (Simon Griver, “Shoah Horrors That Haunt Avram Grant”). (Jan 11)
The longest-running radio sports program in the world, the BBC Sports Report, celebrated its 60th anniversary on Jan 3. Recognition also goes to the Edinburgh inflections of James Alexander Gordon, who as part of the show has read the classified football results at 5 p.m. every Saturday since 1972 (see Andrew Baker, “Classified Football Results Make Music at BBC,” Daily Telegraph, Jan 3). (Jan 6)
Manchester, England, Dec 7 | Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 6 Feb 1958 Munich airplane crash that killed 23, including eight Manchester United players, will incorporate the entire city and avoid commercial tie-ins, organizers have decided.
England women try to surmount culture of contempt
Leicester, England, Sept 21 | With the United States and England preparing to meet in a Women’s World Cup quarterfinal Sept 22 in Tianjin, China, the contest matches players who, to some degree, owe their footballing fortunes to the deeds of Lancashire forebears.
We interview Jean Williams of the International Centre for Sports History and Culture on the early history of English women’s football and on the “contemptuous” attitude that has endured toward women playing the national game.
A long explanation for why we include “socca’ ” and “socker” on our newest T-shirt offering.
Carson, California, Jan 22 | The bridge metaphor has become prominent with the Los Angeles Galaxy’s signing of David Beckham from Real Madrid. “David is truly the only individual that can build the bridge between soccer in America and the rest of the world,” says Timothy Leiweke, president of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the Galaxy.
Such brainless marketing patter deservedly sinks into the well of words that has accumulated about this player transfer of global insignificance.
Manchester, England, Dec 15 | The Independent calls them “Â£imited editions.” These are books seeking the reverence once granted the Gutenberg Bible, instant collectibles demanding coffee tables with reinforced legs.
The latest megabook publicity splash concerns the Manchester United Opus, nearly 80 lbs of silk-coated pages with a base price of Â£3,000.
Articles on the world’s smallest football league–on the Isles of Scilly–and Islamist restrictions on football in Somalia.
Articles include a history of women’s football in England, the quest for “conkers” superiority, advances in the Australian game, and an actor, alone on stage, convincing audiences that he is attending football matches.
Articles on the African Women’s Championship, an award for Sepp Blatter and the Luton Town manager’s rant against women linesmen.
Articles on the football arts, Scottish influence on MLS, and the Mexican golfer temporarily displacing futbol from the headlines.