miscellany

26 june 2018

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           All original writing

           2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,            2018        Ian McLauchlin

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THE FOOTBALL WORLD CUP 2018

An expert explains.


Hamstring: Tendon at the back of the thigh that attaches the large thigh muscle to the bone. Also refers to the group of three muscles which run along the back of the thigh. Not used when at rest. Usually damaged following sudden or extreme leg movements.

Nutmeg:  Kicking ball between opponent's legs. Origins? Varied and disputed.

    1. Refers to nuts or testicles of opponent.

    2. Nutmeg fraud in which real nutmegs were mixed with wooden fakes to fool importers. Being nutmegged implied stupidity on the part of the victim and cleverness on the part of the trickster.

    4.  Cockney rhyming slang for leg.

         Didn't notice the absence of 3? You've just been          nutmegged.

Russia: A country, part of the world, which has temporarily decided to look good.

Hisense: A Chinese domestic appliance company.

Wanda: A Chinese multinational conglomerate - the world's biggest private property developer and owner of the world's largest cinema chain.

Gazprom: Large Russian company founded in 1989 which extracts, transports and sells natural gas.

What do referees use to mark the pitch? - Vanishing spray, a vanishing foam in an aerosol can. It contains water (80%) butane gas (17%), surfactant (1%) and traces such as vegetable oil. The butane evaporates quickly forming bubbles of gas making the foam appear white. The foam, and sometimes the referee’s finger, disappears after a minute or two

National Anthem: A song inexplicably played at the start of a match, which most people have never heard of, the band has spent months learning and only a few know the words.

Goalkeeper: The man chosen to be fall-guy when a team loses. Almost every team loses.

Forward:  A player who sometimes remembers that he should be in the other half waiting for the ball.

Back: A companion for the Goalkeeper.

Referee: A guinea pig with a temporary job pending widespread introduction of VAR (see below).

Harry Kane: Son of Michael, named after future Prince, narrowly avoided marrying a frog and became Captain after Hook got eaten by a crocodile. Not many people know that.

Gabby Logan: Perfectly capable front-person chosen simply because she’s female.

Lidl: Realising that the England Team 2018 didn't have an Official Supermarket, this one selflessly stepped into the breach.

VAR: Very Abnormal Refereeing

Group Stage:  A small league table, lasting a short time, during which the teams known to be not good get to prove it. So what's the point? The Media get a chance to go mad when such a team fails to prove it.

Knock-out stage: Only one team can win the World Cup. We have to endure weeks of wall-to-wall TV and Radio football to find which team that is, when we could just draw lots.

Manager: Someone well trained at uttering meaningless platitudes while standing in front of an advertising board. Occasionally, and involuntarily, strays onto the pitch, gesticulates and gets sent off.

Coach: A means of ferrying players to and fro.

Bench: Wooden structure where spare players sit and look bored, like spare players. Also where support staff sit in order to fail to restrain the Manager.

Foul: A bit of football behaviour that’s not quite cricket. You can do it where you like but better to avoid the Penalty Area.

Penalty Area: Place to avoid committing a foul. It’s marked out clearly with white lines so any fool can see it. Many fouls take place within its boundaries, which tells you something about footballers.

Commentator: Someone with a microphone who has nothing much to say, but doesn’t half say it.

Half time:  A time during a match which approximates to half of 90 minutes.

Extra time: Any period spent during either half caused deliberately by players wasting time getting injured, arguing with anybody who’ll listen and generally forgetting that they’re there to play football and not mess around.

Full time: Unconfined relief for both teams, the referee, commentators, managers, medical teams, broadcasters, groundsmen, security staff, crowd, teabag makers, coffee grinders and sundry bladders.

‘Shape of a rectangle’ gesture: A relatively polite way of saying the ref’s blind as a bat and should be hung drawn and quartered, it’s a blatant foul and this game’s an absolute farce.

Final score: A couple of numbers. Sometimes contains zero, preferably to be avoided. The higher the better which is why it’s displayed at the top of the screen.

Silva: A portuguese surname meaning forest or woodland. Much earlier it was chosen as appropriate for "geneaology-erased" slaves living under the Portuguese Empire in the tropics. So Gump Silva means Forest Gump.

Ronaldo: Little Ronald, ah bless.

Messi: Inadequate table manners.

Action Replay: A video recording that’s clearly been tampered with as it contains dotted lines, searchlights and ringed players. Obviously not to be trusted, ever.

SheaRERRR: A communal tribal chant, long since died out due to chronic hoarseness (oh and relegation to punditry).

Linekar: A one-time footballer who had a knack of landing on his feet.

To be Linekarred: to appear on a TV programme panel, for equal time and showing equal expertise, but to be paid a third of what he's paid.

Extra extra time: The bonus paid to the above for no reason whatsoever.