The World Cup is here. Football players are well-paid professionals nowadays, with the emphasis on well. But within living memory, before the money-grabbing premiere league, were times where words like P&L statement has no place on the pitch. Like the day Harry Redknapp brought a fan on to play for West Ham.
tl;dr version for Americans and others unfamiliar with or not interested in football: the coach of a well-loved but perpetually underperforming sports team plucked a loyal fan from the sidelines to play with the team when there were too many injuries in a match. And the fan scored a goal.
This is the stuff legends (and tear-jerker films) are made of.
When asked if I follow football and if I have a team, I usually say no, which is close to the truth. I like watching highlights but have trouble sitting through an entire match unless I’m really bored. If I really, really had to pick a team I’d say West Ham accompanied by a small, embarrassed smile. Not that I can name any of the Hammers players currently on the roster, mind. Two reasons: a) Sir Trevor Brooking; b) I went to school with Bobby Moore’s daughter; I guess both make some weird sort of sense.