Holding a ‘Black Mirror’ Up to Football’s Potential Futures

This piece was first published on 23 February online at The Huffington Post.

Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror returned to Channel 4 last week, offering yet more twisted visions of the near future from the mind of the nation’s favourite bouncy haired malcontent.

The final episode of the current series airs on Monday, and with football reeling from a number recent scandals it feels oddly appealing to dream up Brooker-esque scenarios to inflict on the game. Football fans are hardly strangers to taking enjoyment from something that pains and disturbs them.

Each Black Mirror episode is also a modern-day parable. As Brooker himself states, each one is “about the way we live now, and the way we might be living in ten minutes time if we’re clumsy.”

Let’s assume the football authorities are clumsy. Below are five projections of future footballing dystopias, ranging from macabre extensions of the game’s current crises to indulgent scaremongering and sci-fi.  Continue reading

Today’s forwards, tomorrow’s Pirlo’s?

Originally written for Sabotage Times.

How will Rooney and Messi adapt and respond to the ravages of ageing?

Andrea Pirlo’s elegant masterminding of Italy’s Euro 2012 campaign won the veteran midfielder a clutch of new admirers and reminded those who had doubted him just what he was capable of as he approached the twilight years of his career. While Pirlo benefited from facing opponents either unable or unwilling to press him effectively, the regista’s vision and skill lit up the summer tournament.

While his existing fan base looked on bemused, many treated the Italian’s performances as a wake up of sorts, questioning why such player aren’t more widespread or available to their clubs and national teams. Continue reading