SB #7: Quotes Compiled By One Of Our Contributors, Ben, On Football



‘All I know most surely about morality and obligations, I owe to football.’ – Albert Camus

‘Suppose one man likes strawberries and another does not; in what respect is the latter superior? There is no abstract and impersonal proof either that strawberries are good or that they are not good. To the man who likes them they are good, to the man who dislikes them they are not. But the man who likes them has a pleasure which the other does not have; to that extent his life is more enjoyable and he is better adapted to the world in which both must live. What is true in this trivial instance is equally true in more important matters. The man who enjoys watching football is to that extent superior to the man who does not.’ – Bertrand Russell

‘I find a lot of what footballers say is poignant and beautiful. Perhaps I am alone in this.’ – Kazuo Ishiguro

‘The imagined community of millions seems more real as a team of eleven named people.’ – Eric Hobsbawm

‘My first journey into real life was the discovery of football.’ – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
‘To say that these men paid their shillings to watch twenty-two hirelings kick a ball is merely to say that a violin is wood and catgut, that Hamlet is so much paper and ink. For a shilling Bruddersford United AFC offered you conflict and art.’ – J. B. Priestley

‘Five days shalt thou labour, as the Bible says. The seventh day is the Lord thy God’s. The sixth day is for football.’ – Anthony Burgess

‘I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women. Suddenly, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain it would bring.’ – Nick Nornby

‘The game replaces sexual enjoyment by pleasure in movement, and forces sexual activity back to one of its auto-erotic components.’ – Sigmund Freud

‘We played until it was dark. I dreamt of becoming a professional footballer.’ – Jacques Derrida


‘Everything has a reason, except possibly football.’ – Terry Pratchett

‘I never cared in the least which team won, but only prayed for the game to be over without the ball ever coming my way.’ – John Mortimer

‘Football is a game for rough girls, not suitable for delicate boys.’ – Oscar Wilde
‘Either you like kicking and being kicked, or your soul cringes away from the whole affair. There’s no way of quietly enjoying rugby football.’ – Martin Amis

‘Football, a game in which everyone gets hurt and every nation has its own style of play which seems unfair to foreigners  There are quite enough real causes of trouble already, and we need not add to them by encouraging young men to kick each other on the shins amid the roar of infuriated spectators.’ – George Orwell

‘For the most part, football these days is the opium of the people, not to speak of their crack cocaine. Its icon is the impeccably Tory, slavishly conformist Beckham. Nobody serious about political change can shirk the fact that the game has to be abolished.’ – Terry Eagleton


‘Used well sport can teach endurance and courage, a sense of fair play and a respect for rules, co-ordinated effort and the subordination of personal interests to those of the group. Used badly, it can encourage personal vanity and group vanity, greedy desire for victory and hatred of rivals, an intolerant espirit de corps and contempt for people.’ – Aldous Huxley

compiled by Benjamin George Coles


Springboard #4: Hill and Derrida


“… the structure of the archive is spectral. It is spectral a priori: neither present nor absent “in the flesh”, neither visible nor invisible, a trace always referring to another whose eyes can never be met, no more than those of Hamlet’s father, thanks to the possibility of a visor”. – Jacques Derrida (Archive Fever)


Two Formal Elegies
By Geoffrey Hill

                  For the Jews in Europe


Knowing the dead, and how some are disposed:
Subdued under rubble, water, in sand graves.
In clenched cinders not yielding their abused
Bodies and bonds to those whom war’s chance saves
Without the law: we grasp, roughly, the song.
Arrogant acceptance from which song derives
Is bedded with their blood, makes flourish young
Roots in ashes. The wilderness revives,

Deceives with sweetness harshness. Still beneath
Live skin stone breathes, about which fires but play,
Fierce heart that is the iced brain’s to command
To judgment—studied reflex, contained breath—
Their best of worlds since, on the ordained day,
This world went spinning from Jehovah’s hand.


For all that must be gone through, their long death
Documented and safe, we have enough
Witnesses (our world being witness-proof),
The sea flickers, roars, in its wide hearth.
Here, yearly, the pushing midlanders stand
To warm themselves; men brawny with life,
Women who expect life. They relieve
Their thickening bodies, settle on scraped sand.

Is it good to remind them, on a brief screen,
Of what they have witnessed and not seen?
(Deaths of the city that persistently dies…?)
To put up stones ensures some sacrifice,
Sufficient men confer, carry their weight.
(At whose door does the sacrifice stand or start?)

Springboard #3: The Crazy Singing Woman



Re-enter HORATIO, with OPHELIA


Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?


How now, Ophelia!


How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.


Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?


Say you? nay, pray you, mark.


He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.