The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
It was Thursday. I opened up the “Most Sent Stories” list on ESPN.com to see what I’d been missing. Robinho’s about to be turned into a gold-plated Mickey Mouse phone, I muttered to myself, guessing. Somebody beat Wigan in a hard-fought 1-0 game.
Wrong. Wrong again.
The most-sent soccer story on ESPN.com is, inexplicably, more than 30 months old. However, that turns out to be pretty much perfectly explicable, because the story is titled “Romanian player sold for a chunk of meat.”
This really happened, to real people. I’m talking about real feelings and real meat. There was pride at stake, and also a not-insignificant amount of pork sausage. The player, Marius Cioara, apparently not ready to see himself described as “15kg-rated defender Marius Cioara,” retired to become a construction worker in Spain. “We lost a good player,” lamented a spokesman for the club that bought him, “and we lost our team’s food for a whole week.”
So why the sudden surge of interest in this story now? It’s not as though it started a trend. Dimitar Berbatov will not be moving to Manchester United for a wagon wheel and a sack of barley, even though in some leagues that would be fair compensation for Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Personally, I don’t know, but I’d like to think the readers of ESPN.com are onto something. Could a story like this be in the background of all the recent medium-profile transfers for undisclosed fees? Is it just me, or has Chelsea’s first team been looking unusually supple and healthy since Shevchenko went back to Milan? It almost seems like they’re purring. I think Deco’s turning pink.
by Brian Phillips · August 28, 2008