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Friday, December 14, 2007

Pre-fantasy football

Last night's Timeshift: A Game Of Two Eras tried to compare and contrast the FA Cup Finals of 1957 and 2007 to see what they said about the difference between football then and now. They looked at the weight of the ball, the robustness of the challenges, the lack of substitutes and the lack of dissent. Being TV, what they didn't look at, apart from a brief reflection on goal celebrations, is the incalculable effect that TV itself has had in imposing a fantasy narrative on top of the actual events.
In 1957 Kenneth Wolstenholme just told you what's happening. The goalkeeper is injured. This player passes to that. It's a goal. It's another goal.
He doesn't try to sell you the idea that it's a titanic struggle between small and great, good and evil; he doesn't try to tell you that this tackle is payback for that one; he doesn't try to place this match in the context of a years long journey; he just describes what's going on. A football match.
Everything else we have invented in the last twenty years to sell lager.