According to the record books, football’s origin lies in the 19th century, but anyone who’s seen Exeter City play recently will know it dates back to the primitive days. With this in mind I shall rewrite the history books and tell you exactly how the beautiful game came about as you sit down waiting for the Blues to kick off another season.
In fact it was Noah who had the flash idea of planting two poles some distance apart and therefore inventing the goalposts. However God was not happy. Noah may have invented the goal but he had not yet got round to inventing a decent drainage system for the pitch. Therefore our Lord sent forth a huge flood and washed out the entire football season. Six years later the pitches dried out and Noah introduced the revolutionary 2-2-2-2-2 system. His team were relegated from the top flight and Mike Flanagan took over. This coincided with multiple relegations and a 16 year stint in the depths of Division One.
The ancient Egyptians elevated the game to a new level though. Matches were played in a big expensive stadium with two teams numbering thousands (picking a man of the match proved almost impossible). Moses, manager of Red Sea Rovers, was not impressed and headed to Cairo to form a breakaway league. When the Egyptian FA imposed sanctions Moses brought down a plague of hamstring injuries, groin strains and ligament damages to the league. When he was fined, Moses really lost the rag and produced six weeks of constant rain and thunderstorms which caused havoc with the league fixtures. The FA had forgotten Moses was well in with God. Waterlogged pitches weren’t going to be a problem in the Promised Land.
The Greeks were very keen on their sport and Archimedes, manager of a highly successful outfit – The Spartans, declared it was better to fail in honour than win by cheating. Their captain Thierry Henry was not at all impressed. With an attitude like that they were always going to underachieve. However Greece did play the first ever international match (against the Trojans) and their star striker would be Achilles. 47 goals in 3 games, a poster pin-up boy for the ladies but a woman from Troy called Helen would mess up his international career. It’s a little known fact that Waterford United actually became the first club side Greece played. Johnny Matthews got the winner but mainly because the Greek goalkeeper was a Cyclops and only had one eye.
The Barbarians caused untold damage soon after as they roamed through Europe pillaging trophy cabinets along the way. Much of their success was down to a journeyman midfield assassin called Attila the Hun. Sent off in every game he’d ever played he was once capped for Wales (his grandmother had went to Swansea on a day trip once).
Back in Britain there was much more stability and a home international tournament was set up. This would feature the Saxons, Danes and Celts. The richest club at the time were of course Camelot (King Arthur would make over 3,000 appearances). However Arthur was devastated when the Knights of the Round Table told him his captain and best friend Lancelot had been cheating with his wife Guinevere and he spiralled into depression and Camelot went out of the Excalibur Cup in the first round that year. With shame brought upon the club by a love rat who beds other people’s wives for fun, Lancelot was transferred to the only club in England who would allow such infidelity and arrived at Stamford Bridge a day later.
Football continued to thrive throughout Europe but in Asia there would be a far more sinister problem. In Japan there would be a serious shortage of players due to Samurai mercenaries committing suicide at the end of each game. Japanese Ninja full backs would take their lives even if a goal was ruled offside and younger players, old women and livestock were drafted in to make sure clubs at least had 11 on the field (even if there were six year olds and a bunch of cats). This would lead to Confucius coining the phrase “You don’t win anything with kids or farmyard animals”.
Medieval times saw Nottingham Forest first come to providence. Lead by a daredevil 67 goal a season striker called Robin Hood, who gave his wages to the poor and had the most attractive girl on the block in Maid Marian, Robin was an all round good guy (some would cruelly say still the last big name to emerge from Nottingham Forest). The club won ten league titles in a row before the Sheriff of Nottingham took over, sold Robin to Cobh Ramblers and hung goalkeeper Friar Tuck – not a man to be messed with!
One of the dirtiest players in medieval times would be Joan of Arc. After reaching 30 disciplinary points she was brought up in front of the board and fined. Not happy with that she appealed it and was promptly burnt at the stake.