I know that many of my Murkin Readers turn up their noses at football (okay, “soccer”) because it’s boring, full of fainting goats errr histrionic players and so on.  In many cases, these opinions are justified, but often they are not, when you know the context and background to the action.  Allow me, then, to give you an example.

The English Premier League (EPL) is justly regarded as the toughest upper-rank division in football, far ahead of similar leagues in Italy, Spain, Germany and even Brazil.  EPL footballers are recruited from all over the world, as you will see, and in many cases these guys may play for their national teams, but often struggle to shine in the talent-studded EPL.

The competition among the EPL teams is intense because unlike America’s NFL, where franchises can change cities and therefore fan bases pretty much at will, football clubs are forbidden by law to move around, and thus the supporters’ loyalty could be rooted in over a century’s tradition.  (Hence, by the way, the frequent affrays that occur between the various teams’ fans when they come up against each other.)

The EPL is also expensive, as players cost many millions of dollars to acquire, and their weekly salaries are sometimes in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.  Thus the pressure to perform at a high level for both teams and players is intense, and can be cold-hearted when the standards aren’t met.

Let me give you just two teams as an example of all the above, and highlight a couple of players as well.

Tottenham Hotspur is a London-based team, and their results over the past several years have been disappointing to their fans.  Seldom in the top four at season’s end, there’s actually little reason for them not to be near the top, except maybe for bad management or, as in recent times, indifferent tactics and performance by their midfield and defense.  (I should point out that Spurs’ brilliant goalkeeper Hugo Lloris plays for the World Cup-winning French national team.)  Tottenham’s attack is almost without peer, not just in terms of individual skills, but also in their ability to pair up and create goals and assists for each other.  The two mainstays of the side are England’s #1 striker Harry Kane [sic]  and South Korea’s equally-skilled Son Heung-Min (who’s captain of the Korean team).  At the end of the past five seasons, Son and Kane have not only amassed dozens of individual goals, but also a dizzying number of assists for each other — the combination of goals and assists for this pair is, and has long been, consistently higher than any other EPL team has been able to match let alone beat.  The duo is not only supported but worshiped by Spurs fans.

Sadly, though, Son has had a drop-off in form for the opening half-dozen matches of the 2022/23 EPL season — there seems to be no apparent reason, because he’s pretty much at his peak in age, ability and dedication — but his recent slump caused Tottenham’s manager to bench him for their last match, against Leicester City.

Which brings me to the other team.

Leicester City (pronounced “Lester Sitt-eh” for the Murkins) has been around since 1884, and has seldom won many competitions — sometimes even relegated to the lower leagues — but in the past half-dozen years has become a powerhouse, even winning the 2015/2016 EPL championship.  Since then, Leicester has settled down as a tough middle-order club, with occasional stunning victories over much stronger clubs.  They have not been a pushover, in other words — until the beginning of the current season, where they have been languishing near the bottom of the EPL table.  So Leicester’s next match, against Tottenham, was going to be fought as underdogs — but always with the knowledge that Leicester are a lot better than their lowly position on the table would indicate, even without their star England striker Jamie Vardy through injury.

So on to the match (match #8 in the 35-match season), played two weeks ago.

Despite the disparity in league position, the two teams were fighting on equal terms, goals being scored freely and almost all resulting from great performances and masterful tactics from both sides.  At the 60-minute mark, Spurs were leading 3-2, but the scoreline flattered them because Leicester was not only controlling much of the game, they’d also missed a couple of goal-scoring opportunities which could easily have resulted in the score being reversed in their favor.

At this point, then, the Spurs manager made a substitution, sending on the woefully out-of-form Son Heung-Min.

And magic happened.

Please take fifteen minutes out of your day to watch the highlights video, because it’s one of the most dramatic sporting events I’ve ever seen.


  1. Hard pass. Pulled the plug on sportzball ages ago. The only fan worse than the NFL goof is the kippered soccer hooligan from Britain… what do they call them Over There?


    1. Being a chav is independent of being a football fan. Chav is an acronym (or backronym) for Council House And Violent. They’ll get violent over anything and everything. The Scottish equivalent is Ned – Non-Educated Delinquent.

      1. But if you’re looking for a top-form hooligan, you can’t beat the Scots! Any stateside gangstah is just a whiney brat compared to the seasoned soccer troublemaker.

  2. Soccer is a great sport, fun to watch kids play the game and really boring for us Mericans to watch a whole game of guys running around doing soccer stuff and even reading about it can put a person to sleep.

    Having said that I don’t give a crap about any sports stuff anymore, over 50 years ago pro baseball was fun to follow, college football was great and a bit of basketball. Depended upon the region of the US where a person lived. As for the current silly shit going on with huge circus stadiums payed for with taxpayer money and colleges where the football coaches makes huge salaries and these games have been monetized to such a degree that they have as much fairness as elections in both the makeup of the teams and the calls from officials.

    That’s why I prefer spending time watching birds at the feeders in my back yard as they scuffle with each other in their pecking orders, makes more sense than the people stuff.

    1. I’d rather watch a gurl eat an ice cream cone.

      I have never watched more than 10 mins TOTAL of any sports ball event ever. I find all of it hugely boring.

  3. As pointed out above, soccer is fun to play, but boring to watch. Horribly boring. Any sport where a 2-0 score is a “blowout” is going to be Not Much Fun to watch.
    I really don’t care about histrionics and such. At worst, it’s taking the notion of “provide some color to an otherwise boring game of kickball” to its logical extreme, and given how some players are idolized by their fans, it’s hardly surprising that some would take in the roles of spoiled and overly sensitive primadonnas, either to bask in adulation or seeking it. But that can be seen as well in baseball and basketball.
    No, soccer is just flat out BORING to watch.
    And then adding in the tribalism of sports fans, choosing teams and aligning their whole being with that identification… It’s as bad as (American football) Raiders and Cowboys fans, just with even less justification.
    I give all sports watching a pass these days, but soccer has always been top of my list for turning away and deliberate ignorance. The game has nothing for me, and the rabid attitude of the bleachers reinforces that.
    No thank you.

  4. Nah not boring at all and I do not care for soccer.I think it was the second goal Son did in the L/side of the net had a spin that made the ball come back in Nice skill set.

  5. Soccer – oh, I’m sorry – fuutball, isn’t that the sport that Europeans watch in order to wind down from a hard day of watching paint dry?

    Like others above, I played it as a child, and it’s a great workout and somewhat fun – as a player. Watching it as a spectator? Uh, no. I would rather watch grass grow or bread rise.

    But, I am not one to deny anyone else their own form of entertainment, unless I am forced to pay for it through taxes. Like Old Texan above says, there is WAY too much public money spent on sportsball these days – especially the college ones. Look up the highest paid state employee of the 50 states and you will find that in a large majority of them, it’s a college sportsball coach. Then when you add in the public money spent on the stadiums, the damn tickets should be free, or in the least, very cheap. But of course they aren’t. Indeed, they are so expensive nowadays that most normal folks can’t afford them anymore.

    Like others, I have never been a sportsball fan of any type, so my opinion is somewhat jaded. But Kim, if soccer is your thing, then go for it. After all, free American citizens are allowed to have different tastes than mine. But I still think soccer beats out any of the American big three as the most boring spectator sport there is. However, to me basketball – probably the most active and fast moving of them – is almost as bad. It’s has now devolved into a contest of “Our ni…, uh, …our vibrants can beat your vibrants!”

  6. I had to take 4 semesters of PE in college, and got stuck with soccer for one of them.
    Had fun, good conditioning exercise, and having tried it, can admire the incredible footwork skill of those who play at the level of the video.
    That said, the endless running back and forth to no avail, with less than a handful of scores the norm, leaves me bored to tears, and on top of that, it just doesn’t seem natural to play a sport where it is forbidden to use part of one’s body (arms) that are normally used in everyday life.

  7. I’m not a big soccer fan, but I’ve lived in foreign lands enough to appreciate the game. And that was extraordinary. Two perfectly aimed corner kicks, one off each leg, and drills a third past the goalie for a hat trick. This must be some new definition of ‘out of form’.

  8. I do like watching baseball, but only in the stadium, because on Television it’s like watching through a mailing tube as the cameraman focuses so tightly on the player you can read his lips.
    The only football game that I think was better than the highlights reel you posted was a Superbowl game in the early eighties when the two teams apparently decided to play all out, since it was the end of the season. They collided with one another at speed, cartwheeled over each other, and when they couldn’t stop by crashing into one another, they ran over one another. I had never seen such an exhibition before, and haven’t since.

  9. When the world cup or some other group of national teams were playing in the US in the mid 90s or so I tried to watch soccer. I fell asleep before the first half was over. I absolutely cannot see what the appeal is unless there is a pool on which soccer player flops on the ground first or the most due to an alleged hang nail.

    Never got into football, NBA or hockey. the strike in baseball annoyed me so that weakened my interest. The criminals in the NFL and NBA have turned me off of those sports. Hockey is interesting by live tickets are ridiculously expensive. Now baseball at the MLB level is expensive so there goes that sport.

    I have tried NASCAR and other circular sports and Lap 3 is no different than any other lap except for crashes.


  10. For a bit I enjoyed watching NASCAR the proper way, that was during the Danica era and I actually knew the names of a few other drivers. I would record the whole race, watch the start as they sorted themselves out and then fast forward to the wrecks which were often interesting as those strange cars fell apart and other drivers drove through the debris and almost always no bad injuries. I would also watch the last four laps since the drivers at time tried to screw up the completion and help their bodies win. Then it was fun to watch the excuses and see Danica pissed off at everybody and she was so tiny and cute and almost a good race car driver, much better than watching soccer. Now a days I think they got woke and ruined their brand cause NASCAR should be the good old ‘Stars and Bars’ Confederate battle flag and giant coolers full of Bud Lite and greasy, cheesey, meat on big white bread buns, done right you can hear the arteries clogging during the luff of booing the drivers you love to hate.

    1. I kinda agree. Back in the old days, when MEN played the game with a big, heavy (and heavier when wet) ball, when boots were boots and not “shoes”, with high ankles and metal studs, players used to absolutely slaughter each other on pitches that were mostly mire — where a perfectly-placed pass might actually STOP in the mud before reaching its target. If you think today’s soccer is boring, you should have watched it back then.

      A different time, a different game and different players, who by the way were paid less than a dockyard navvy.

      Like gridiron football, when players played with ineffective helmets and were expected to play both offense and defense, it was as boring as hell. (Of course, back then a football match was played for an actual hour, and not three hours with commercials — fuck me, now THAT is boring.)

      So yeah, I guess that people who look at today’s low-scoring games might think it’s boring, in the same way that a baseball game could last for 12 innings and result in a 1-0 result. B-O-R-I-N-G, no?


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