Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Hand of God and the 2008 Euros.

I’ve been feasting on the European Championships. If football was food I’d look like Maradona does now… but I’ll get back to him.

There’s nothing for it, Austria and Switzerland have played host to an awesome display of the beautiful game. Has to be one of the best international tournaments in my life time. I can’t remember watching better.

Not a single team had a solid defence. Poor for the players, excellent for spectators. Goals everywhere. Analogies with sieve’s and other things with holes in have been rife. People thought there was no way Russia would lose that many goals to the Spaniards a second time not after the way they done the Dutch. The ball is round right enough.

Thanks must go to the nations of Europe who, in leaving their defensive tactics at home, made a valuable contribution to a rare football extravaganza, one that really has lived up to the hype.

Only a couple of games have been a bit lumpy, most notably Italy vs Spain (wince!), but the plot, being completely unpredictable, thickened all the way to the finale where the Spanish Armada finally grabbed the gold. I'm pleased for them and for football too.

With so many twists, turns and goals the entire football show had all the makings of a good drama. It made me wonder if the novella I’m knocking together for my PhD, which is tied to the 2010 World Cup, will maintain the same level of excitement. I also wondered if there’s any other football fiction set at or during a specific international tournament.

I did think of three which come close…

The third, and arguably best written, of John King’s ‘hoolie-lit’ trilogy England Away sees his Chelsea head hunters make some violent appearances in Holland and Germany on their way to watch their national team clash in an international fixture. I don’t think it would count as a tournament based football fiction.

The same would be said for me old mate, Dougie Brimson’s (see the interview) The Crew. It's about a team of football fans, three crews actually, who plan and execute a hoolie-handed Italian Job while England play the Azzuri in Italy. The old bill try to stop them scoring, but their defence is a bit like the Germans.

The Hand of God Squad are a couple of opportunistic Scotland fans who’ve named themselves after that famous moment in Argentina’s defeat of England in the World Cup (22 June 1986). Gordon Legge penned a wee cracker for the The Hope That Kills Us about the lads and how girls and love get in the away of their international game attendance record. Again its not tournament based, but it has the most games in it.

I will take a closer look at the football fiction of Legge and King in future posts.

I can’t think of any other examples. Maybe you know some, maybe you’re writing one. I’d really appreciate it if someone could point me towards any good, bad or indifferent offerings. They'd be worth their weight in eh...burgers?

No comments: