Oscar Wilde once wrote ‘there is only one thing in life worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about.’ As Rovers fans filtered out of the Emirates Stadium after last month’s League Cup clash there’s reason to believe we’d just witnessed what Wilde was talking of first hand.
There’s a great photo of Liam Mandeville’s free-kick against Grimsby, taken just as the ball strikes the inside of the post. Goalkeeper already flailing, the South Stand is a blanket of expectant faces; rows of mouths all caught in the early stages of guttural roars or yells of acknowledgement of the ball’s inevitable nestling in the back of the net. All that is, except one. Continue reading Why can’t we just enjoy winning?
Records, they say, are made to be broken: I write this on a weekend when Wayne Rooney has equalled Sir Bobby Charlton’s goal tally for Manchester United. Rooney will soon break that record, I’m sure, but in these days of sporting specialisation no-one will match one particular record with a strong Doncaster Rovers connection. I refer to the events of Monday 15 September 1975, when one man became the only one to play in a County Championship cricket match and a Football League fixture on the same day. Continue reading Chris Balderstone, the last great footballing cricketer
It’s been positive start to the season for Rovers, which has in turn brought a surreal matchday optimism to the Keepmoat. For most of us this has been a novel, and rather pleasant, paradigm shift, following the relentless dread and anguish that has plagued recent years. But do remember to spare a thought for those among us for whom such joys bring nothing but grey clouds. Continue reading Reasons to be cheerful
In the unlikely event I’d be invited to take part in Room 101, the first object I’d want to be locked away for eternity is the decline of the English language. The nation that spawned the genius of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas shouldn’t have to suffer any of its population inserting the word ‘like’ three times into one sentence. Continue reading Why is everyone talking like a footballer?
‘Who’s the greatest player you’ve ever played against?’ From 90 minutes to Shoot to the matchday programme; a question asked of every footballer in every football interview I’ve ever chanced to read. Its true purpose as conspicuous as its asking; to tee up the interviewee for the biggest name-drop in their sepia-tinged locker. CLANG – Paul Gascoigne in a testimonial; CLANG – Eric Cantona in a beer advert; CLANG – Lothar Matthaus in some charity wheeze. Continue reading Where have all the bald, fat footballers gone?
I’ve found it hard to write this editorial, and I think it’s ultimately because I’m so tired. Continue reading On being tired of football
I am unable to recall when or why I fell in love with football. There was no epiphany. No great moment of clarity. Football, as far as I can remember, was simply always there; eternally bobbling about alongside grazed knees and Why Don’t You? in the goalmouth scramble of my childhood. Continue reading On Contemplating Life Without Football
Last month I went to India. And yes, I had a lovely time thank you very much for asking, but I’ll save going all Judith Chalmers on you for another time, and get to my point. Whilst in India I met my girlfriend’s cousin, Nikhil, for the first time. He’s an intelligent fella, a writer who speaks multiple languages and he’s into football; he supports Chelsea – evidence if ever it were needed that who we choose to support is rarely a rational choice. Nikhil has lived near to, or in, Bangalore all is life. Bangalore are the current Indian football champions. I asked him why he didn’t support them. His answer is that he likes football, and so he wants to watch the best football in the world, and as the Premier League is screened regularly in India, it is this which he, and the other football fans he knows, watch. Continue reading On Football as the next Great American Drama Series
I’m not entirely sure what the history of Boxing Day is, or indeed how it got its name. I’d look it up, but I’ve foolishly chosen to write this in the one café in London that manages to boast floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides, yet receives no phone signal and offers no wifi. What is this 2012? Anyway, let us presume it is due to a tradition relating to boxed gifts of some kind, and not a long and sustained marketing campaign by Don King or the WBA. Continue reading On Boxing Day Football