Saturday, February 24, 2007

From Blair to Beckham

I dragged my hangover around London today. For some years now I’ve abandoned the strict regimen of the athlete and have adopted the no less strict habits of the journalist. Such is my dedication to that lifestyle, it barely gives me time to write. Today, I had to sneak into one of my favourite watering holes to temper my head with a dram or two. That’s where I met up with Des ‘Nobbler’ McGann who used to work with me back when I started to write my columns for Fleet Street. He’s a drunken old sod but knows the English game as well as anybody.

We both shared an afternoon drink, comfortably nurturing that unmistakable excitement which starts to build on a Friday afternoon before a Premiership weekend. I feel not unlike a bride before a wedding night, expectantly brushing down the beard on her chin and keeping her studs tightened in her boots. It’s the Friday before a Premiership weekend and I’m still not recovered from the midweek European action. Old Nobbler told me to put my money on Arsenal to win the Carling Cup on Sunday and I told him that it was no great prediction. Anybody can see that Chelsea are a team running on luck and they barely deserve their second place in the table. Arsenal are playing the best football of the season and are bound to win.

In the lull before the weekend’s excitement, I thought I shouldn't bore you with predictions but I should instead try to reply to the few queries I’ve had in my inbox asking me why I would want to write about football and politics.

Well, look here chaps. I see it like this. Few things in life put a flame beneath the human spirit in the way that sport and politics do. And there are no sports greater than football for bringing us to a boil. The fumes that rise from boiling pot of talented youth and fading superstars is a heady one. The bubbles break in glorious spectacle. There are few places where you see the tribe’s heroes live and die like you do on the football field. It is a season of politics written within nintety minutes. David Beckham and Tony Blair are no different. They are both reaching the end of their premierships yet still find the occasional surges of energy that deceive us into believing that their skills will never fail them. That’s why I hope that Beckham makes the England team. Like the Labour Party need Blair, England needs Beckham. While their powers are still evident, they deserve the chance to shine.

John Terry is no Beckham, but Brown is no Blair. Whatever happens, in politics as well as football, it will be a time before we see their kind again.

2 comments:

Cranmer said...

Somewhat off topic, but His Grace is delighted to note that Mr Guano Forks reads His Grace, for Mr Guido Fawkes finds him a 'boring bigot'.

guanoforks said...

Not at all, Archbishop. I was brought up on The Book of Common Prayer and The Rules of Association Football. And they overlap more than you might think.