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.

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Arsenal-Man Utd: Survive the Second Half

Struggling to sit through the second half of Arsenal-Man Utd? Desperately trying to protect your sanity on the streaming edge of the gulf of the abyss? Then why not read Austin Kelley’s terrific history of standing in the Wall Street Journal, which explores a question I’ve been wanting to see answered for some time: Why do European fans prefer to stand during games and Americans prefer to sit? Personally, I am a committed sitter (I have no problems with standing areas in grounds as long as I don’t have to go in them), so I’m grateful for the cultural history of what I generally find to be a vaguely bewildering preference.

Elsewhere: Footsmoke’s post on what’s at stake in the Barcelona-Chelsea tie is a lucid summary of the ideas in the last couple of Barça-Chelsea threads here (posts and comments) and a persuasive statement about why a Barça win tomorrow would mean something different from a loss for their regime of abstract beauty. Fredorrarci has a great post on why the story we’ve all been ignoring this week—FIFA and WADA’s agreement on a new drug-testing policy for football—is actually fundamental. Finally: even when he’s taking gratuitous potshots at Pro Vercelli and blaming me for ending his blog, Eleven Devils’ Zach Dundas is one of my favorite writers on any subject, and my favorite recent Eleven Devils post is this one on the similarities between Manchester United and a global health emergency.

Just thirty-some minutes to go. We can survive this match together.

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Arsenal-Man Utd: Survive the Second Half

by Brian Phillips · May 5, 2009

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