One sunset further behind

June 8, 2011 § 5 Comments

A football suspended in barbed wire

Watching France play the Ukraine the other night was a curious experience. The end-of-term-feel pervaded much of the tie — Andrey Voronin had clearly turned up in the expectation of a couple of rounds of Mouse Trap and a half-day — and, to be frank, I was only watching because I had better things to be doing and couldn’t be arsed to do them.

But there was, in the end, much to be enjoyed. Steve Mandanda’s hilarious fall-backwards-swing-foot-crumple in the face of a swerving Jabulani was a masterpiece of physical comedy. Marvin Martin and Younes Kaboul both scored on their debut, which is always pleasing, and then both celebrated like they actually gave a shit, which is increasingly rare. And Kévin Gameiro scored France’s first: an outside-of-the-foot snapshot that was, I suppose, an elegant larrup, one of those lovely little hits that say “thwap”.

Football rushes endlessly forwards, refreshing and renewing itself. Those things that matter — the great goals, the game-saving tackles, the inspired substitutions, the whizz and the bang — are remembered. They become history, are threaded into the tapestry of the game for posterity to squint over and fuss about. But there are many more moments, like Gameiro’s goal, tucked away in a meaningless friendly and overshadowed by a brace from a debutant, that simply vanish unnoted into football-as-it-was. Uncelebrated, unloved, and almost unremembered, they are the detritus that falls through the gaps. Football’s rejectamenta.

Goals that are simply quite good, or that are overshadowed by later goals, or that are disallowed, but don’t affect the result. Outrageous pieces of skill hidden away in pre-season friendlies. Brutal fouls that are swallowed up by a successful advantage. Hilarious misses that get tucked away a moment later. Magnificent, futile tackles. Beautiful passes to players in offside positions; stunning control once the ball gets there. Penalty saves eaten by a retake. Much of what happens on the last day of a season. Anything that happens in a third-fourth place playoff.

Washed away — to misappropriate Rutger Hauer — like tears in rain.

This is a plea for recognition of the goal that is circumstantially diminished, for the miracle that has no valency, or for the coulda, shoulda, and woulda moments, that might not make the end of season montage or the Youtube compilation but nevertheless have a value, be that one of unrealised ambition, modest understatement, or glorious pointlessness.

In a world dominated by the relentless pursuit of the bestest and the winningest, there must be a space preserved for the abandoned and the forgotten. The stories of ancient civilisations are built not only from the military adventures of the god-kings but from shards of pottery and the strata of midden-heaps. And the story of football as we experience it is not, whatever Sky tell you, one of silverware and thunderbolts. It is one of ordinary footballers trying and doing ordinary things, for the entertainment of ordinary people



Right, people, this is where you come in. Twisted Blood needs you to dredge up the rejectamenta and send it our way. We’ll put a space on the site aside for it, or maybe set up a tumblr or something. Doesn’t have to be video; drawings, prose, poetry, or whatever you like. Email twistedbloodblog [at] gmail [dot] com with your suggestions or questions, and we can start letting a little light into the dusty corners.


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§ 5 Responses to One sunset further behind

  • alexbe11 says:

    How about screamers scored on the last days of the season in otherwise meaningless games?

    Bilyaletdinov scored an absolute pearler in the last minute of Everton-Portsmouth at the end of the 09/10 season, but that was completely ignored as the game was completely insubstantial in the greater scheme of things. Same goes for Jermaine Beckford’s length of the pitch run & dink vs Chelsea the other week. Goal of the season contenders both if they’d been scored at any other time of the season, but as it was they were glossed over in the briefest of manners.

    • Ed Bottomley says:

      @alexbe11 – In the States Beckford’s Weah-style goal didn’t even get a mention in their Goal of the Week segment, and in the highlights of the game they only showed the finish, not the pitch-length run(!).

  • applebonkers says:

    rejectamenta is my new favourite word.
    Oh and Marvin Martin possibly my favourite name, other than the Scouse pronounced Gerrado Torrado of course 😉

  • Jude Ellery says:

    Frank Lampard’s thumping shot in an early round of the FA Cup aboyt 5 years ago, that curled (not swerved) about 5 metres and hit the angle. Sometimes they’re better when they don’t go in. I’ll try to find the video.

  • John McGee says:

    This season’s Carlisle United v Tranmere Rovers games are a bit of a curios. The videprinter will record Carlisle United 2-0 Tranmere Rovers and Tranmere Rovers 2-1 Carlisle United but that’s only half the story.

    A sum total of 5 penalties were awarded across the ties and all 5 were missed. The three saved by Adam Collin (including 2 from Ian Thomas-Moore) were part of the eight he kept out this season (inc. shootouts) and Carlisle’s two misses came as part of a rotation that saw James Berrett finally installed as penalty taker in March – he went on to score four from the spot.

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