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Eat My Snow, English Football


 The FA Cup tie that could have been.

Twenty-five football matches scheduled for today have been canceled due to…snow?  What?  Some puffy white water falling majestically from the sky?  This is particularly ironic considering the prognosticators of climate change doom predicted an all-year-round Premier League as one of the upsides to flooded capitals, widespread famine, and, inevitably, Soylent Green.  Someone forgot to tell them that, in fact, global warming produces higher rates of precipitation in traditionally “wet” climes, hence this week’s blanketing, one of several “freak” occurrences in the last few years.  My guess is this is just the beginning and the English will have to get used to snow days, snow jobs, snow blowers, and snow soccer.

That’s right, football in the ice and snow.  Can’t be done?  If he were alive today, Sir Earnest Shackleton might want to have a brandy-soaked, frost-bitten word on the matter.  The crew of doomed Antarctic expedition Endurance managed to find time in their busy schedule—surviving an eighteen month shipwreck on the coldest continent on earth—to play some lovely ice football (pictured above).  That same year, some boys thought nothing much of practicing free-kicks on large chunks of iceberg along the deck of RMS Titanic. Even today there’s the Scottish Premier League where players think nothing of fifty-fifty challenges on frozen earth, or the Faroe Islands where league matches are played in conditions that would down a 747.

But a little snow falls on Holloway Road and Emirates Stadium closes indefinitely.

Full disclosure now: I’m in Canada.  As I write this, snow is already accumulating at a rate that would have Sean Wright-Phillips gasping for air.  We may not know much of anything up here, but we do know that snow is one of life’s little variables.  Sure, a routine birth on a lovely summers day is nice enough, but giving birth in the middle of an epic snowstorm?  The trip to the hospital alone would be a pub story to last decades.

Same with the football.  As Run of Play pointed out this week, rain makes the beautiful game a little more gorgeous.  Well, imagine what fifteen centimetres of fluffy ice crystals might do for a Premier League or FA Cup tie.  Top of the table “Grand Slam” match-ups would be coined “The Battle in the Blizzard;” FA Cup fifth round-winning goals improvised along the banks of a goal-side snow drift would be imitated by awed schoolboys for years.  And the fans who’d drive out in the worst conditions only to stand in a freezing slush pile for ninety-minutes, half-watching their team lose in a fog of white, will have a fresh new way of distinguishing themselves from the “plastics.”

Of course there are concerns about “player safety” and “pitch integrity” and “quality of play,” and all the rest of those namby-pamby, nanny-state Blairisms.  But play a little footy on the white and we’ll see who’s got some lead left in glove-wearing, Crisco-haired “modern football.”

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  1. Richard Whittall

    February 8, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Fred, how do I spell this out for you? I DON’T ACTUALLY THINK THOSE CANCELED GAMES SHOULD HAVE BEEN PLAYED. For someone who has deigned yourself to be a comedic expert, you missed the bag on that one.

  2. FredtheRed

    February 6, 2009 at 3:39 am

    The internet is littered with humorous takes on football, considerable better written and funnier than your attempts. Please don't try and defend your article as tongue in cheek.
    I'm sick of reading humorous takes on football, it allows people like yourself whose knowledge of the game is threadbear to pretend to have a valid opinion. Cliche ridden and full of holes, incorrect information wise and not funny. I hope you don't get paid for this shit.
    Global Warming has seen snowfall in the UK fall considerable from every year up to the 1980's to 4 major ones in 1991, 1995, 2000 and 2008. See the pattern there, they're get less and less common and people become more unused to dealing with the conditions. Anyone under 30 in the UK has seen 4 snow falls in the last 20 years. Your lack of enviromental knowledge seems to think snowfall becomes more likely due to precipitation. As any fool knows it takes more than rain alone to cause snow and that's the issue here, it doesn't happen as often as it used to in the UK. The British response is akin to it happening in Spain and Portugal, the country grinds to a halt becuase they don't know what to do anymore.
    We were used to it 30 years ago, now thanks to Global Warming it has become freak weather and causes the safety concerns that caused the games to be cancelled. Do you want people to die trying to get to a football match? So you've written a pointless, unfunny and factual incorrect article. Is that what tongue in cheek means in Canada?

  3. kkfla737

    February 4, 2009 at 12:49 am

    Lou- you've inspired a forthcoming blog post at MLS Talk! Good work!

  4. Richard Whittall

    February 3, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    That would be “tongue IN cheek” you moron!

  5. Richard Whittall

    February 3, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Hi Fred. Go look up “tongue and cheek” on the internet somes-wheres. Then have a bath, take a deep breath, and relax,


    The Moron.

    PS — Pretend? Who's pretending?

  6. eplnfl

    February 3, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Every so often someone here will announce that America must play in the Winter months or not be a “true” football nation. Well in many parts of the US including my home town Chicago, the once in a 20 year snowfall and cold of England is an average winter event. repeated several times every winter. We have had only a handful of days above freezing since New Years and have several inches of snow frozen on the ground most of the year also.

    So to all my friends across the pond have fun with the snow it's a rarity for you and now you know why MLS starts at the end of March!

  7. FredtheRed

    February 3, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    England hasn't suffered many snow falls in the last 18 years, if anything, due to global warming they're getting less, but living 6000 miles and knowing fuck all about football and England, why bother?
    As for your perception that Scottish football continues unabated, you really don't have a clue do you. Is that why last nights Motherwell game was postponed 5 times?
    The matches weren't cancelled because of the weather you moron, it was the fans safety at getting them to travel to the matches that caused the postponments.

    Are you just pretending to be shit at everything?

  8. Weston

    February 3, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    When I heard that it was the biggest snowfall in London in the last 18 or so years, I was expecting some huge amount, but apparently it was only 8 inches. It is a bit puzzling how 8inches of snow can cripple a city, but for an area that doesn't have 1.) A large snow-plow fleet, or 2.) Anywhere to plow said snow, you can see why this is a bigger deal for them than 8″ would be for me here in Wisconsin.

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