Tuesday 31 May 2011

The Ball's In Your Court

The tides of the North Sea relentlessly roll in, washing the shores of Streonæshalch, bringing with them all manner of detritus to present to the awaiting sands. In much the same way, the tides of human stupidity continue to roll undaunted, laying all kinds of rubbish at the feet of Northumbrian consciousness.

After last week's excitement (yawn) concerning the Great Cosmic Non-Event of Harold The Campsite and Bugrake O'Drama's Great Condescending Visit to these lesser shores, I was rather hoping for a break. It's nice to have some time out to contemplate the joys of being a catfelinity, I suppose you could call it. But something else always seems to crop up to grab my attention, and force me once again to contemplate the fallen human condition.

Football is a game beloved of the majority of humans here in the lovely country of Northumbria; it's particularly adored by the males, but on occasions, women may also be seen at games – if only to repeatedly ask about the Offside Rule. A game introduced by the ancient Romans, the Beautiful Game has been played on these islands for millennia. Like fishing, it's an ideal way for men and boys to while away a pleasant hour or two – either playing the game, arguing about a match in the ale and mead houses, fighting opposing team's supporters with clubs, or even watching a favourite team engage in ninety minutes of foot-to-foot combat. Sometimes the ball is involved… Rightly or wrongly, the most favoured team in the Kingdom is Madcaster Untied, with its legions of overpaid, inarticulate celebrity gorillas players, but every settlement and town has its own band of local heroes who emulate their Madcaster Untied mentors.

What I hadn't realised (O, feline folly) is that it is necessary for the Game of Football in Northumbria to be organised and supervised by a self-appointed cartel of ancients called the Football Society who – it would seem – find it necessary to preside over the kicking round of a pig's bladder. Not only that - they also command a great deal of awe, power and prestige. I suspect that most of these ancients are retired businessmen who've never actually spent a Saturday afternoon on the terraces or the football field in their earlier years. The Football Society justifies its existence by setting draconian penalties for those whose bad example bring the game into Disrepute. In many respects they would make an effective substitute for the judiciary and the Moots of these Anglo-Saxon realms..

But that's not all. There's also a higher Football Society for the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire), which presides over the international game. This is run by expensively-attired retired bandits and crooks, and serves as a front for very dubious backroom deals, bribes and all of the other shady practices one comes to expect of the High and the Mighty. And recently there's been a campaign by the soothsayers, calling for the head of Stepp Blather – the current president of the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire) Football Society. Why? – Because some of his accomplices have been discovered to have taken bribes and have therefore been removed from office. Shock horror. I bet they breathe and pass wind as well…

Old Steppo said in a statement recently there's no crisis in the Beautiful game. Of course there's no crisis. It's just as venal and corrupt now as it ever was...

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