Archive for the ‘The Obituary’ Category

BEAUTY – Picture courtesy of http://www.elrooneyoillustrations.tumblr.com

This week’s paranormal post from the crypt of football is the sixth instalment of ‘The Obituary’ series, where one of our posthumous pundits puts forward a eulogy for their favourite player in football history.

Football, we are so often told, is the beautiful game. It is undoubtably true that, whether it’s the graceful stride and epic cheekbones of Edinson Cavani, or misty memories of Iain Dowie and Steve Ogrizovic wrapped in a muddy goal mouth scramble at a rain soaked Loftus Road, the cliche of beauty residing in the eye of the beholder is rarely more applicable than in football. There are few other facets of our society that can evoke such contrasting opinions amongst otherwise like minded individuals.

However subjectivity, aesthetic value and the ability to serve up absolute dirge and charge a fortune to see it are all things that football has in common with it’s distant cousins the arts. Here at In Off the Ghost we rarely give two hoots about the art, but today is different. We have been contacted by an posthumous painter who has expressed his wish to share with us a eulogy for a footballer whose success, much like his own, was often tainted by accusations of ugliness. So for the fifth instalment of our Obituary series, please welcome Pablo Picasso with his tribute to his favourite footballer; Peter Beardsley!

Pablo Picasso

Picasso – No oil painting

“Some philistines joke about Beardsley’s lack of beauty, but he is the truest embodiment of art in football.” said Picasso, with a wave of this paranormal palette. “Peter Beardsley is proof that the conventional thinking on beauty is false. We have been misled, but so completely misled that we can no longer find so much as a shadow of a truth again. Beckham, Ronaldo, Aguero; these faces do not represent the beauty of human experience. Their superficial beauty is redundant in the face of Peter Beardsley in his majestic pomp.

“Whether he wants it or not, man is the instrument of nature; she imposes on him character and appearance. Nature may not have been kind to Beardsley in terms of looks, but her gifts were offered with abundant generosity on the pitch. Many teams found out the hard way that you cannot defy nature. She is stronger than the strongest of men.

“I would have loved to have painted a portrait of Beardsley. With me, a picture is a sum of destructions. I do a picture, then I destroy it. But with Beardsley I wouldn’t have had to change much at all. And his art was the same as mine, he could destroy defences with a deft dribble or a perfectly weighted through ball.

Peter Beardsley Liverpool

Beardsley – Eye-Candy

“When I created my Cubist paintings, my intention was not to produce Cubist paintings but to express what was within me. With balletic footwork and sublime vision, Beardsley was a kindred spirit, his internal expression manifesting itself into countless beautiful goals and assists for the likes of Rush and Lineker that defied the asymmetrical nature of his exterior projection.

“Pundits who tried to explain a game in which Beardsley was playing were usually barking up the wrong tree. Football isn’t about false nines and inside out wingers, just like art it’s a form of magic designed as mediator between this strange hostile world and us. In my opinion Beardsley was the most perfect embodiment of the art of football that the world has ever seen.”

(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)

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Ruel Fox

Fox - Too Ruel for school

This week’s paranormal post from the tomb of football is the fifth instalment of ‘The Obituary’ series, where one of our posthumous pundits puts forward a eulogy for their favourite player in football history.

When the fanatical football fiends here at In Off the Ghost are bored, we sometimes think of the stories we heard, read or watched during our days on Earth to pass the time. Seeing as this weekend has been full of international football action, we have had plenty of time to think about our favourite tales. The stories that stay with us the most are the ones from our childhood, we vividly remember hearing about Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, or the last time Manchester City won a trophy. How those ancient tales filled us with wonder and amazement.

In fact, these childhood legends had such an impact on us that when we were offered the chance to interview one of our favourite yarn spinners for this week’s Obituary, we jumped at the chance to relive the innocent, ectoplasm free days of our youth. This week’s posthumous pundit wanted to talk to us about Subbuteo sized, former Norwich City, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion winger Ruel Fox. A cold welcome to former fighter pilot, screen writer and famous children’s writer, Roald Dahl!

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl - Tangfabulous Whizzpopper

“Hello my fellow Hornswagglers!” started Dahl, jiggling about with child-like excitement, “I want to tell you about my favourite ever footballer, Fantastic Mr. Ruel Fox. He was a player so fast he ran as if he was being pushed along by atomic whizzpoppers! When he was at Norwich City, he was the most wonderous whangdoodle in the Premier League. A great player in a great team with Chris Sutton, Jeremy Goss and of course the BFG, Bryan ‘Fantabulous’ Gunn. He could do it all, cross, score goals and he dribbled more than a kid chewing on a block of ‘Willy Wonka’s Super Sticky Stickjaw Toffee’. When he left to join Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United it seemed like a dream come true for our Mr. Fox, but things started to go a bit wrong. Football managers are complicated creatures, full of quirks and secrets. Why Keegan lost faith in Mr. Fox, my dear readers, we will never know. He was a wonderful player, he just needed his manager to believe in his magic. But some people absolutely refuse to believe in anything unless they are actually seeing it right in front of their own schnozzles. So Keegan signed David ‘Champion of the World’ Ginola, and sent poor Mr. Fox packing to Spurs and Gerry Francis.

“Mr. Fox flourished for a while thanks to Gerry’s Marvellous Medicine, but nasty George Graham took over as boss and eventually he stopped playing Mr. Fox too. Quite frankly, I think Mr. Graham was a twit. He was born a twit and when he sold Mr. Fox at the age of fifty-five, he was a bigger twit than ever. Nasty old George Graham got the boot not long after, but two rights don’t equal a left.”

“So our Mr. Fox ended up at West Brom, and he played like he would’ve rather been fried alive and eaten by Mexicans. Mr. Fox could’ve had a glittering career if it wasn’t for the Schnozzlebonkers who always said ‘I’m right and you’re wrong, I’m big and you’re small, and there’s nothing you can do about it.’”

“He may not have won many trophies or prizes, but to me Mr. Fox will always be fantastic.”

(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)

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Roy Keane

Roy Keane and Alan Shearer - After watching Shearer on MOTD, we feel like punching him too.

This week’s communiqué from the dearly departed of football’s elysium is the fourth instalment of ‘The Obituary’ series, where one of our posthumous pundits puts forward a eulogy for their favourite player in football history.

Anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time on the ball of rock and water we call Earth will start to ask deeply fundamental questions about life and human existence, such as “why are we here?”, “what kind of life should I lead?”, “how has Emile Heskey cost a combined £26 million worth of transfer fees?”. It’s only natural to question the nature of humanity and both the staggering beauty and depraved cruelty homo sapiens are capable of. In many ways, football sums up the duality of the human condition quite well. In a single game can we can see moments of exquisite genius and sportsmanship, and then the manager brings on El Hadji Diouf.

A multitude of philosophers have spent years of their lives, and many more of their afterlives, pondering the contradictions and complications of human nature. Luckily for you, the gaggle of ghouls here at In Off the Ghost have been tipped off as to the whereabouts of their final resting places, and we decided to go and hassle 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche for his views on his favourite player in the history of football, which turns out to be everyone’s favourite moody midfield monster Roy Keane.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche or nice?

“Roy Keane was my favourite player of all time. Although to some he was the Antichrist, to me he was one of the Übermensch of Premier League history” stated Nietzsche, every word twitching his gargantuan moustache, which is still impressive even here in football’s afterlife. “We all know God is dead, and for Manchester United fans that God was Eric Cantona. When God retired to become a horrendous actor in France, Roy Keane was the water with which United cleansed themselves.

“But Roy Keane embodies my theories about humanity perfectly. His career goes beyond good and evil. We are, all of us, growing volcanoes that approach the hour of their eruption. How near or distant that is, nobody knows, but Keane seemed always to be on the verge. He was gifted, there is no doubt. He not only broke up play, he could also pass, score goals, and was a momentous inspiration for two hugely successful United sides. You only need to look at his performance against Juventus in the 1999 Champions League semi-final for proof of his ability. But he was also incredibly cruel. However, we should not demonize him for this. We must think of players who are cruel today as stages of earlier cultures, which have been left over. Lee Cattermole is just a remnant of Roy Keane, and Keane himself an heir to the legacy of Vinnie Jones and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris. They show us what we all were, and frighten us, especially if you are Alf Inge Haaland. However, they themselves are as little responsible as a piece of granite for being granite.

“In his rush to inflict pain on others he himself took considerable damage. I used to say ‘was ihn nicht umbringt, macht ihn starker’ but after seeing his knees I have my doubts. Many people deny it, but Roy Keane was honest enough to admit that it is a pleasure to inflict pain, and by that measure I am sure he will have no regrets. When the day comes that I meet Roy Keane I will say to him:

‘Was sagt dein Gewissen? — ‘Du sollst der werden, der du bist.’ ”

(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)

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IMAGINATION – Picture courtesy of El Rooneyo Illustrations (www.elrooneyoillustrations.tumblr.com)

This week’s decomposed ditty from football’s afterlife is the third instalment of ‘The Obituary’ series, where one of our posthumous pundits puts forward a eulogy for their favourite player in football history.

In football, as in life, there are different types of people. There are the do-ers, the high energy action men who get things done and don’t wait around to consider petty things such as reasons or consequences. Then you have the artists, whose sole mission in life is the creation of the divine, to represent the beauty of life though music, paint, and football. Also, the journeymen, who move from place to place, never to settle and destined to roam the land, from Crystal Palace to the Shed End. However, once life has rendered your spirit separate from your physical form, you are destined to float around the heavenly u-bend for all eternity, taking with you only your mind and a pale spectre of your former physical self.

So it stands to reason that it is the more intellectually endowed amongst us that often make the best of the afterlife, spending their time in football’s Valhalla mulling over the profoundly important issues of existence, such as why 4-4-2 is so rubbish these days, or how many times Steve Bruce must have been hit in the face to end up with a nose as hideous as this. It is fitting then, that this instalment of ‘The Obituary’ features one of the most intelligent and cerebral footballers in history. Zinedine Zidane not only conquered club football with his magisterial midfield machinations, but he guided France to World Cup glory on home soil in 1998 through the power of his mighty monkish noggin. So who better to provide us with an elegy for the genius of Zizou than one of the greatest thinkers of all time, Albert Einstein!

Einstein: ‘This is how it works. R stands for roulette, which equals O, or ‘on your arse’.

“My special theory of relativity proves that the faster you move, the slower time moves compared to that of a stationary observer” began Einstein’s ghost, still sporting a moustache almost as big as his gargantuan brain. “When Zidane was on the pitch, his awareness and footwork seemed to slow down time for him, yet speed it up for the opposition, who were almost always stationary observers.

“Small is the number of people who see with their eyes and think with their minds. Zidane had wonderful vision and a spectacular football brain, but he was enough of an artist to draw freely upon his imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. Take this goal in the 2002 Champions League Final for example. It would not be possible with knowledge and technical ability alone. It is Zidane’s sublime technique coupled with his extraordinary imagination that made this goal possible. Imagination is why players with practically no knowledge whatsoever, like Paul Merson for example, were so devastating through their use of imagination and creativity.

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. Zidane’s genius wasn’t boundless, as this clip proves, but using his colossal football brain to clobber Marco Materazzi 2006 World Cup final was infinitely stupid. However, as I always used to say, a person who never made a mistake never tried anything new, an accusation which no one could make against Zinedine Zidane.”

(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)

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Paul Dickov

A Dickov the old block.

Merry Christmas from In Off the Ghost to the world of the living!

Here in the football graveyard of In Off the Ghost, we celebrate Christmas a little differently. We don’t have turkey any more, and being dead means we also escape the grind of the Queen’s speech, the misery of Eastenders, and we even get to dodge the annual Christmas sprout. However, one aspect of Christmas that the afterlife shares with the world of the living is that everyone gathers round their translucent television screens to watch the bonanza of yuletide football action. Well, unless it’s snowing of course.

So, as a special seasonal treat for our followers, this instalment of In Off the Ghost features a Christmas edition of ‘The Obituary’, where our ghoulish guests fondly remember a favourite player from the catacombs of football. And who better to offer up this seasonal segment of festive football frivolity than Victorian novelist and author of ‘A Christmas Carol’, Charles Dickens! Mr. Dickens prepared a eulogy for his favourite striker Paul Dickov for your reading pleasure.

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens - The ghost of football past

“Oh my friends, the down-trodden operatives of the internet! I am going to reprise the role of one of my favourite characters, the ghost of football past, to sing the praises of my favourite footballer, Mr. Paul Dickov” began Dickens, before opening a mammoth book entitled ‘The Life and Adventures of Paul Dickov’.

“Paul began life in the small town of Livingston in West Lothian, to honest hardworking parents. His early life was unremarkable, gaining a respectable education where he excelled at his favourite sport. The loveable little scamp had an appetite for goals even then, though he didn’t grow to be much taller. I learnt in life never to take anything on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule. Arsenal also thought this to be true and before long Master Dickov had moved down to the smog and smoke of London town. However, even though many had great expectations for Dickov, he was cast aside by his cruel taskmasters and forced to ply his trade for a meagre wage elsewhere.

“Fortunately for Paul, this was a remarkable turn of events, and his career from here on in was mainly a tale of two cities, Manchester and Leicester. His time at Maine Road was the best of times for Dickov personally, but it was the worst of times for the club as they plummeted to the third tier of English football. Our prolific protagonist scored 35 goals in 158 games for the blues, and the highlight of his City career would be artfully dodging through the Gillingham defence to score this goal in the playoff final at Wembley in 1999.

“Life is made of ever so many partings welded together, and Master Paul moved on to Filbert Street, where he scored another 37 goals in 89 games, the most prolific spell of his career. However, Paul also suffered some hard times at Filbert Street, seeing the club relegated and enter into administration. After a moderately successful spell with Blackburn Rovers, he learned that the pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again, rejoining Man City in 2006 and Leicester City in 2008.

“Paul Dickov has now entered a new stage of his career as manager of Oldham Athletic. A fine fellow and a tremendous striker in his prime, he is a character I shall always remember. However, whether Dickov shall turn out to be the hero of my own afterlife, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, the future will only show!”

(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)

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Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson - He won't stop 'til you've had enough of tenuously linked football based puns.

The restless spirit of In Off the Ghost has possessed fellow football website footballfarrago!

Click here to read ‘The King of Pop’ Michael Jackson’s tribute to the ‘Clown Prince’ of English football, Paul Gascoigne. And while you’re there, check out the other great articles too!

More posts from the only insight into the footballing culture of the afterlife will be coming next week exclusively through the medium of www.inofftheghost.wordpress.com, so be sure to come again soon!

(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)

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