So the Football World Cup is upon us, or for those of North American residency, the soccer world cup, for football to you is like our rugby, but you play it with padding and soft girlie helmets, and stuff.
Anyway, I for one am totally underwhelmed by the whole thing, in fact my whelm could not be more under, in short, the game of football (soccer) bores me to tears, literally, I cry buckets of bored tears even after just a few minutes of watching even a very short football game that has previously been scrutinised by one of my football loving mates and certified as being in the “very exciting” category of football.
Not that I used to be like this of course, I used to watch football, I even paid with my dads own money to go to Elland Road from time to time when I was nobbut a nipper, to see Don Revie’s Aces – and I enjoyed the football at the time, the time when a centre half could kick a centre forward up in the air and no-one would call for the death sentence.
Football today is for namby-pamby lady-boys who fall over when someone approaches their personal space, their personal space being a circle drawn within a two foot radius of themselves, football today is a non-contact sport where a tackle on a player is likely to reduce that tackled player to tears with stomping feet and threats to scweem and scweem until they are sick.
And for this they are paid a kings ransom, every week. “Its a short career” they say in protest, “We have to earn this sort of money, its a short career you see”, well, my career as a lottery winner could be as short as you like when I win the £18million jackpot, lets give my career a week shall we, I won’t mind, I’ll just take the money over here in the corner and count it while the world moves on…
When Bobby Moore (last England hero and captain of the 1966 England world cup winning side) met and married his wife in 1962 he earned £8 a week as a professional footballer in a successful First Division team, she was earning £11 a week working in a shop, in those days the women didn’t chase after the footballers for their money, in Bobby Moore’s case it was he who chased a shop worker for her money.
In 1966 on the day that they won the world cup the England team were taken back to their London hotel for a little drinky-poo and a meal, then their wives were allowed to come in and congratulate them, and that was it, “Thanks for winning the cup lads” is what the hierarchy at the Football Association said, “now fook off, we’ve only booked the room until 8pm”, so Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton took their wives to the Talk of the Town cabaret club for a night out, and they had to pay to get in too.
On the morning of the World Cup final the team manager Alf Ramsey had still not picked his starting 11, he called the players into his room one at a time and told each of them whether they’d be playing or not and it wasn’t until 10am that Alan Ball knew that he was in the team and the two complimentary tickets that came with it.
In his biography he describes how he phoned his father (an ex pro-footballer) back home in Lancashire to tell him that he was playing and that he had two free tickets for the match if he wanted them, “Oh its a bit far” his father told him, “me and your mother will watch it on TV”, but he insisted and so his father had to get the Morris Traveller out of the garage and drive the five hours to London to watch his son win the most prestigious honour the game had to offer.
When Bobby Moore, last England hero, the only England captain to have won the World Cup retired from the game he was still a young man in his thirties with a family to support – he went into football management at non-league Oxford City and when that didn’t work out, ignored by the Association that had promoted him for years as their “golden boy” he did what most ex-professional footballers did at the time, he became a pub landlord.
Bear these snippets in mind for the next few weeks as you watch a constant series of young men fall stricken and mortally injured to the ground whilst clutching random bits of their anatomy, only to miraculously recover within seconds of the referee awarding them either the free kick or the penalty that they desire, its a game where cheating and falsehood is rewarded handsomely with weekly pay cheques equalling many peoples annual salary and where many citizens of this years host country will not earn the same amount in a whole year of work as the football players do during the duration of one match.
Lionel Messi of Argentina for instance, annual salary of $43,000,000, or Englands top earner Frank Lampard at $18,700,000 – July 2009 average earning figures for black South African adults (the ones who were lucky to have a job with unemployment at 28.1%) was ZAR12,073, or $1564 per year.
Put it another way, even without winning bonuses, it would take 27,564 black South Africans to earn the same amount in four weeks that Messi will earn during the World Cup tournament, and still the press never fail to trot out “The beautiful game” epitaph.
Theres nothing beautiful about earning your living by deliberate cheating, nothing beautiful about abusing referees, nothing beautiful about Wayne Rooney at all in fact, and yet in parks and playing fields all over the world you will not have to search very far to find young children being encouraged by their parents to cheat and lie in order to gain advantage during “The beautiful game”, that’s quite some heritage for them, nice one FIFA.