The New Yorker on soccer

Bastard. I had been going to comment on Jeffrey Toobin’s New Yorker article about the World Cup and America’s early exit, but Zachary Roth of Goal Post has said what I thought and probably done so better as well.

However, they did post from the archives a loooooong but excellent article from 1966 about the world cup with this gem:

Why on earth haven’t the Americans taken to football? If they once did, they’d go mad about it. But then, football isn’t something you can master overnight. Look at us. We’ve been at the game for over a hundred years, and we’ve been outdone since the war by people like the Hungarians, the Spaniards, the Russians, and the South Americans. We’re just struggling back. Can’t somebody tell the Americans that if they were to take soccer seriously and build a national team that could make even a decent showing in something like the World Cup, their world prestige would soar? It seems so simple, and yet . …. ” And yet.

The article is fantastic — all context, tension, a real feeling of “you are there,” and splendidly written, the polar opposite of the tendentious opprobrium-by-numbers that I cited yesterday.

Let us finish with the money quote:

“After Alf Ramsey’s description of the Argentinian team as animals, may I, on behalf of the Dog Owners’ Association, immediately dissociate the dog world from this description, as being most unfair to our many members and their pets who insist on control at all times.”

Ah, the open minds and human interest of England…


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