Jogo Louco

It is not even remotely ironic that the country that gave us the Mad Cow disease has managed to convert the beautiful game into a round-the-year 3-ring-circus. If that great creature of tradition for a million Hindus from tech-savvy India can be turned insane, what chance do people who spend their lives kicking an air-filled synthetic ball have!! If you come from or have an appreciation of the poverty, hunger, crime or injustice that underlines life in many parts of the globe, you will definitely understand, as your brain buckles under the fusillade of tabloid-fire, as far as news is concerned, that invention is the mother of all necessities.

Take the case of one of the longest running Soap Operas in the glamorous world of English football – “The FA”. (Football used to be something 22 sweaty men did on a mucky piece of ground under the most bizarre weather conditions. Now it’s what twenty-something to sixty-something millionaires do with their mistresses). The basic plot of the soap is simple – a bunch of bungling administrators are led astray by anybody with time and inclination. This rather basic theme is spiced up by sex, betrayals, power, politics, millions of pounds and oh… the occasional football match as well.

In series 17, we see an aging, balding, cackling, yet virile, potent and insatiable Swede – emerge as the centrepiece. (see above: anybody with time and inclination). Sven spends most of his time charming his distaff colleagues, hypnotising the FA into signing ludicrous contracts and presumably gambolling in his private swimming pool filled with hundred pound notes. In his spare time, he chaperones twenty something millionaires to exotic locations like Spain and Korea.

Of course, the fact that the English football team despite being touted as among the best in the world has not gotten close enough even to smell the atmosphere in a final of a major tournament for something like 4 decades now, is in no way relevant to our story. Of course not! That would really bust the plot wouldn’t it! Oh no, Sven’s job is safer than the Bank of England on that score. All old Sven had to do was be seen walking into Roman Abramovich’s house one fine morning. For all we know they Roman may have been giving him tips on improving his back stroke in the pound-note pool. But it prompted the FA to give him a contract worth some £ 15 million, which was not tied to any performance parameters.

A brief digression into football here. South Korea 2002 – England one goal up – decide that defence is the best option. They and their goalkeeper are stunned silly by a buck toothed Brazillian – to the point where even after having a man extra for over half an hour, they create nary a chance and bow out of the tournament. Cut to Portugal 2004, England one goal up – decide that defence is the best option. They and their coach are nearly stunned silly by a wannabe star and a has been one till they are rescued in the nick of time, only to see it slip away in the tie-breaker. The whole country is so caught up by a dubious claim about a refereeing decision, that nobody notices the tactical blunders that pepper the game. Chapter 1 of the book of football commandments says “A fool and his one-nil scoreline are soon parted”. Apparently, in this storyline, it is not a sin to be learn-proof. Sven’s players love him. He backs their causes and they back his. See how everybody is happy. See how everybody is splashing around in the pound-note-pool. See how little football we need to discuss.

To return to our story, however, Sven Growin’ Erection decides to have an affair with a secretary at the FA and this is deemed a good enough reason for the board to contemplate sacking him. For the board to have an extraordinary general meeting. To wield the potent weapon of scandal. A brush which in the hands of the novice can easily tar wielder as well as the victim, as Mark Palios finds out to his cost. The fact that the FA are a bunch of overpaid and bad actors is clear by the way they first jump in to defend what doesn’t need defending and then, caught on the wrong foot, seek to point fingers which didn’t stand up to the strain of pointing.

This is where the story is tantalisingly poised. The lady in question has offered to talk about her kiss and tell story in exchange for a million pounds and a place on the subs bench at Germany 2006, where at least she can be more useful to Sven than Joe Cole. The FA is meeting on Thursday to establish exactly who did what to whom and when. It is understood that a couple of the members are taking serious umbrage at being left out of a real good romp at the last FA meeting.

Its 2 weeks to the season opener and we’ve not even gotten around to talking about the players’ misdemeanours yet. Ladbrokes are apparently offering odds on which footballers are likely to get arrested first this season. Although, if Ms. Alam does get onto the subs bench, all bets are off.

by Buckyball

Aug 2, 2004

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