Wednesday, 25 April 2012

European Football and Karma Mechanics

For those who care not at all about football or, in a strange way, theodicy - go read something else now.

For those who care a bit but not much - you need to know the following. There's been a bit of an outcry about last night's football match in which, over two legs, Chelsea beat Barcelona 3-2. The cry is basically that it's a bit unfair for Barcelona, clearly the better footballing team, to lose. Pep Guardiola, the manager, said "football has not been fair to us".

Well, no. Football has not been fair to Barca. Let's get this straight. Barcelona had all the possession. Over two legs, they had above 70% of the possession. Chelsea won 3-2 on aggregate.

Barcelona keep the ball on the ground, the way football is supposed to be played. Chelsea, for the most part, keep their centre-forward on the ground. Chelsea won 3-2 on aggregate.

Barcelona play beautiful football. They pass from man to man, barely playing a long ball. John Terry is a thug, the mindless violence of whose challenge last night was barely matched by its blatant stupidity. And neither of which is matched by the amazing interview he gave in which he agreed that yes, it was obvious. And yes, it was a red card. But he somehow disconnected those facts from his own actions. Chelsea won 3-2 on aggregate.

Barca had ten craftsmen in the outfield. Chelsea were a man down from the stupidity of Terry, and missing both centre backs from midway through the first half. Chelsea won 3-2 on aggregate.

Barcelona hit the woodwork twice in the first leg, missed open goals, and yesterday missed a penalty. Chelsea won 3-2 on aggregate.

Chelsea are a team that have been bought and funded by a Russian oligarch; a club formerly associated with Kings Road playboys. A club that never achieved that much until millions of pounds of Russian oil and gas money were pumped into buying a bunch of mercenaries. Barcelona are the footballing embodiment of Catalan resistance to the fascist dictator, Franco. Chelsea won 3-2 on aggregate.

Kirsty MacColl was run over by a speedboat, while Shane MacGowan (not that I would ever wish him anything other than well, bless him) has been spared to torture his liver for (so far) another twelve years. Chelsea won 3-2 on aggregate.

Every day around the world, about 18,000 children die of starvation. Robert Mugabe is 88.  Idi Amin died peacefully at the age of 79. Does the Chelsea score matter that much?

On the great map of the world's doings, the fate of a rich London football team and their rich Catalan opponents don't really rate that highly. But they do highlight a a big, obvious, easy-to-read fact. The race isn't to the swift, the fight not to the strong, and the spoils don't go to those who deserve them. Sometimes things happen against anyone's expectations, and against all apparent fairness. There's no point talking about fair and unfair: the fact is that Barcelona put an inflated pig's bladder into the hole between three sticks twice, and Chelsea did it three times. All other stats are irrelevant. Life's unfair. That doesn't mean we can't rage against it, hope for the injustice to be righted, fight for fairness when we can. But life's just unfair. Sometimes you can only moan about it and live with it.

Did I mention that Chelsea won 3-2 on aggregate?


  1. Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this post you cannot beat a good bit of radio 4 comic genius! Also followed the link to the site "things fundies like"-just thought I should let you know that this site is really quite biased and vitriolic and does not seem to show the good sides of evangelical Christianity at all. As a member of both a very high traditional Anglican Church and a charismatic evangelical church I didnt find it to be as fun and honest as the rest of the site. I really love the Beaker Folk site thou! keep up the good work, I will be recommending you to friends!

    1. Anon, SFL is biased, and terribly anti-Fundamentalist. Although I can appreciate why. However as an external website (and based in the US) I can't do much about their content. Appearance on our blogroll does not imply agreement - merely that, one way or another, they're "interesting". That's why there's a pagan/Unitarian blog on there, and even an atheist or two.

    2. Thanks for the reply Archdruid Eileen. I thought it may be the case that these were interesting links to external sites, rather that calls to run after us "fundies" with flaming torches and pitch forks (just wanted to check though!) I do think it is good thought, that you have a variety of links to other sites to help challenge and broaden perspectices :) Hopefully opens a bit of dialogue between different communities in the chucrh

  2. opps! apologies that comment should have been written under the "tribute to Humpf" post! Sorry!

  3. Amongst stiff competition, might I say that, as a Chelsea fan, this is my new favourite Beaker Folk post :-)


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