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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Stages and Phases

A few weeks ago I subtly hinted at a new project that was going to revolutionize the site, bring the planets into harmony, and redeem all the time we’ve wasted on cheap North Korea jokes. It’s still a few weeks away, but I’m toiling away in the background getting all the parts in readiness. Sadly, this means the foreground is going to continue to be a bit sparse for a while, but don’t worry. The mountains are getting closer, even if they don’t seem to move. In the meantime, we’re keeping in touch on Twitter, and will be here reliably when anything happens that demands to be addressed. A few notes:

  • Actual famous English soccer magazine When Saturday Comes has given us an award and called us “sharp, feisty and funny.” This is exciting, even if, after the usual pattern of my experience, I’m now waiting anxiously for a magazine called When Sunday Reasserts Reality to call us “vain, babbling, and tedious.”
  • More Than Mind Games is a blog about sports history, sociology, and psychology. It’s amazing. In the last few weeks there have been posts about referee corruption in Edwardian football, football results and war escapism in the late 1930s, agents in the early 20th century, and the 1908 Olympics. You should be reading this.
  • Fredorrarci covers the insane-on-all-sides story of Stephen Ireland, the media, and football in two monumental posts.
  • In the course of “precreating” a trip from a hotel to a World Cup stadium, Eve Fairbanks dodges armed thugs, sees her cab driver beaten by the police, cycles through eight taxis, and arrives five hours later with a host of questions about the state of South Africa’s preparation for the World Cup. Positive note: the country’s massive investment in public transportation before the tournament might actually benefit South Africans more than international soccer tourists.
  • I met a really smart Liverpool fan at a party last night who almost convinced me that a supporter takeover of the club would be feasible if they miss out on a top-four finish this year. I still can’t quite see it happening, but he had a firmer grasp on the issues than I do. The terrible thing is that he’s now torn between wanting his team to salvage their season and wanting them to fail so they can escape their malevolent ownership. The state of the Premier League in one sentence.

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Stages and Phases

by Brian Phillips · December 13, 2009

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