So, there you are, stuck in the middle of a big row between the goalie and his ex-bezzie mate, the second-to-last-opponent. You have just shouted “Oy! Mate!” to warn the goalie that your own team, and a substantial amount of his own team, are headed towards him at speed whilst engaged in a big row of their own about who gets to kick the ball. You suspect that this action will later on get you branded a turncoat, a fifth-columnist and a louse by members of your own team, but, giddy with thoughts of the opposition goalkeeper’s designer stubble and Wildean wit, you have thrown caution to the winds and thrown your lot in with him for good or ill. So, what have you done?
Well, to be honest, nothing much. You have pissed off your own teammates, to be sure, although this will be a small thing if this afternoon’s events are indeed the first step in a lifetime’s journey of tender mutual regard with the opposition goalie, but otherwise, you are not in contravention of any laws. You have interfered with play, yes, but you are not offside (“not offside”), since the second-to-last-opponent is standing virtually nose-to-nose with the goalie and thus is closer to the goal line than you. So far, so froody.
At this point, though, five things happen more or less simultaneously. The goalkeeper casts you a shy smile before turning his attention to the wrangling mass of football and footballers hurtling upon him. Distracted by this from the on-pitch events and deaf to all but the drum beat of your own heart, you move instinctively towards him. His teammate, the erstwhile second-to-last-opponent, turns round, sees the approaching mob, snaps out an Anglo-Saxon epithet and hurls himself back towards the fray. As he passes you, you become offside without yet having committed an offside offence (“offside lite”). And one of your teammates briefly gains the upper hand in an ongoing dispute with one of the opposing defenders who since the beginning of the match has been marking him like tar on a white swimsuit, interrupting the flow of his game, preventing his teammates from passing him the ball and generally making a thorough nuisance of himself. Seizing the advantage from his moment of freedom, your teammate whumps the ball determinedly in the general direction of the goal…
What next?!? We shall find out in the forthcoming More Tomorrow. But first, as a special treat, and in honour of the extraordinary events of last night, a Bonus Footballing Fact Of The Day!
Brazil may have been humiliatingly kicked out of their own party by one of the most inappropriate examples of Family Hold Back that I have ever seen, but we shouldn’t feel too sorry for them, because they do still have all the oil.
That was The Footballing Fact Of The Day, part 8, and the Bonus Footballing Fact Of The Day. I thank you.