The War Against Marcelo Bielsa’s Illicit Dreams of Utopia

‘We fear the contamination of reality by dreams.’

Jorge Luis Borges

THIS IS WATER

At the beginning of his talk at the Commencement Ceremony to the Kenyon College class of 2005, the late American writer David Foster Wallace tells the audience a short parable. “There are these two young fish swimming along’ Wallace begins in his soft Midwestern drawl ‘and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way who nods at them and says, ‘Morning boys — how’s the water?’ …

Scotland’s Eerie Triumph in the Time of Covid

It finally happened, but nobody thought it would happen like this. The moments immediately after David Marshall’s penalty save felt unreal, not only in the realisation that the Scottish national team had secured qualification for a major international tournament for the first time in 22 years, but in the absence of the cathartic collective celebration we had promised ourselves would erupt in the aftermath. …

How Marcelo Bielsa is freeing Science from the clutches of Capital

‘Seize the benefits that science gives the people in their quest’

Lyric from a Chilean protest song

AFTER QUANTITY

The problem with football is that it is decided by goals; that is to say, decided by a numerical superiority, a quantitative difference. And if it is discernible units of quantity we are valuing highest — units of matter, energy, information, enemy kills, Capital or indeed goals — then game theoretic cybernetics are your ‘go to’ school of applied computation. …

Think Capitalism is Destroying Football? We Haven’t Seen Anything Yet…

[[[[It’s not as if the story has a beginning any more than it has an end. Humanity’s preoccupation with football was always going to be an opportunity too good to be missed; the Third Reich tried it, the Soviet Bloc used it, but no human could ever master it. No human? No problem…

By the dawn of the twentieth century football has been re-cognized as psychosomatic opioid. Doses arrive in distribution packages of blood, sweat and tears, paleoanthropological sedative masquerading as authentic tribal aggression, turf wars rage as acronymized human administrative bodies scramble for a cut.

Capital subsumes the overriding…

Being is a work of art and you are its creator - Uthalian Proverb

Until news of its discovery was brought to light with the publishing of The Mystery of the Iron Swan, Yalik-Ai-Asha-Qalabrum (roughly translated as The Book of the Way to the Golden Touch although direct translation to English from the original script is often difficult and occasionally impossible) had remained, thanks to forces we shall come to understand in some detail, entirely absent from the dominant narratives regarding the origins of the game of Football.

What is known is that C.F. Bakhara club president, Ander-Gaya Mariaxaca, who…

What happens when the crazy meets with the banal

On the 9th of September 2019 a picture spread across certain quarters of the internet. It was of a middle-aged Argentinian man casually browsing the grocery aisle shelves of his local West Yorkshire supermarket.

The bespectacled gentleman, snapped apparently unaware from behind by a fellow patron of the supermarket chain Morrisons, was none other than the head coach of Championship football team, Leeds United -one, Marcelo ‘el Loco’ (the crazy one) Bielsa.

On the face of it there isn’t anything particularly remarkable about a football coach in a supermarket. Football coaches, like so many other modern day human beings, are…

Why the commodification of football coaching is leading us down a dangerous path

A Game of Opinions

They say football is a game of opinions, and this seems about right. Everyone from the bloke down the local pub to the lofty heights of the public football intellectual has their thoughts on the game — and why not? After all, football is a game of opinions.

For the most part this multiplicity of viewpoints is taken as it should be — all part of football’s rich tapestry; we argue and debate endlessly via whichever medium is to hand, but, at the end of the day we can agree to disagree re the potential benefits…

Why Football’s History Is Only Just Beginning

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN

It was in 2008 that the author, Jonathan Wilson coined what is perhaps the most pervasive footballing metaphor to date. It is to his great credit that Wilson’s literary punch landed with such weight and it is undeniable that his abstraction of the inverting pyramid expertly captures the structural shifts, power struggles and systemic arms-races which have toed-and-froed across so much of football tactic’s evolution. …

If it is true that magic does not exist, then why do we so often claim that it does? In football, and in life, we do so all the time. When magic is not present, when ‘the game needs a spark’ we attempt to summon it by willing our team’s lead wizard to conjure up that ‘little bit of magic’.

These ideas are far from ‘supernatural’, they are the everyday language of football and can be heard muttered by crane-necked beer drinkers at the bar and pleaded for by target-focused men standing shoulder to shoulder on the piss-soaked floor of…

Understanding Football Media’s Reality Crisis

If you run a football club, it makes sense to expand your fanbase. Success in this project will increase your revenue, and increased revenue will increase the probability of winning more games and thus, the cycle continues; a positive feedback loop.

This is the reality of the current football landscape — Trophies and prestige have become almost exclusively the domains of each competition’s financial heavyweights. Of course, there are always exceptions, but Leicester’s triumph is anomaly rather than norm.

The question then becomes: how do you expand your fanbase? The obvious answer is through effective marketing, by selling the idea…

Jamie Hamilton

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