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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Islington Hardball

Well, okay, but do you get the feeling that he agreed to stay after the board promised him he’d only have £13 million to spend on new players, rather than after they warned him? As in:

AW: I have an offer from Real Madrid.

IG: Don’t leave! The transfer budget is huge next year—we can give you £75 million!

AW: I don’t know; the challenge in Madrid feels interesting…

IG: Arsène, let’s be reasonable. We’re prepared to make it £80, £85 million. Whatever it takes to keep you here.

AW: No, I think I’m definitely leaving for Madrid.

IG (thinking): What if we made it, say, £45 million?

AW: I’m listening…

IG: £20 million, and you’re not allowed to buy any English players over the age of 14.

AW: Make it £10 million and 12 and you’ve got me.

IG: £13 million, and we’ll agree in advance to pretend the Africa Cup of Nations doesn’t exist.

AW (eyes glinting): Done.


Islington Hardball

by Brian Phillips · May 19, 2009

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