Football and metaphors have walked side by side since football was invented. It is a little known rule that footballers are only allowed to talk in stream of tired clichés and figurative language, and football journalism follows suit. But today the football-metaphor bar was raised to a higher plane by the, always interesting, Tim Vickery blog on South American football.
“Technically, the Europeans are better than the Brazilians in terms of passing, shooting, heading …but we have more ability, with an unmatched capacity to dribble.” said Juan, the Brazilian centre-half, as part of a discussion on the differences between European and South American footballers. This prompted Vickery to likening the South American ability to dribble to “a metaphor for the survival skills needed by the poor kid born on the wrong side of the tracks”.
But where does this leave us with metaphors for English game? If the Europeans (we’ll take it English football has been politely ignored from this blanket generalisation) get passing and technique, and the South Americans get dribbling and ability, what about the great English err …obstinacy?
Maybe a Stoke City long throw-in could be a metaphor for short selling on the stock market.
The England team’s premature exits from major football tournaments could be a metaphor for the Englishman’s ineptitude in bed.
Or perhaps the average Premiership footballer is simply a metaphor for society today with our obscene narcissism, celebrity culture, who wants to be a millionaire, national lottery, money for nothing, cultural decline?