For many, soccer is life. But even if you're not a crazy footie, this article is hilarious.
First, some context for the non-footies among us: Manchester United fans are in a slather about footballer Wayne Rooney's recent injury that jeopardizes his chances of playing in the World Cup this summer.
Hand of history points to Maggie over Rooney injury
Thursday May 4, 2006
Instantly supplanting the War of Jenkins' Ear as history's most depressing conflict about a body part is the War of Rooney's Foot, currently being waged between Sir Alex Ferguson and Sven-Goran Eriksson. Yet as they fiddle, the rest of us get on with the real business: whom to burn for The End of the Dream(TM). Happily my eye is drawn to a letter to Football365.com which suggests that stopping free school milk caused brittle bones in all subsequent generations of children, and therefore the blame for Rooney's injury must be laid at the door of Margaret Thatcher.
This seems reasonable. I will have no truck with those who, as the news broke on Saturday, wailed something along the lines of "that'll be brittle bones caused by the fiendish policy of fluorided water". Trivia buffs may care to know that the water in Rooney's home city of Liverpool is not fluoridated. (Incidentally, Gateshead's is - and you know what? The incidence of tooth decay is exactly the same. So if Graeme Souness fancies blaming his cursed Newcastle tenure on some Strangelovian government plot, he is urged to do some more digging. The PM's Toon fan schtick has always looked like a cover story.)
But if we all accept that the main contributory factors to the calamity are Rooney's bone density, boot design and the fact that he was playing football, then anyone with a passing knowledge of history can only blame the fractured metatarsal on one of three events.
First is the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which is tending towards the obvious but it did precipitate the first world war, ending in the Treaty of Versailles, which led to the rise of Hitler, which caused the second world war. This resulted in the devastation of much of Europe's infrastructure, which led to the Marshall Plan, which led to the German economic miracle, which enabled manufacturers such as Adidas and Puma to dominate the sports footwear market.
So a Stanford MBA student, Phil Knight, wrote his thesis on how cheaper shoes made in the Far East could undercut German dominance in the US market and, in 1962, he established Blue Ribbon Sports which eventually became Nike which, from the days of convincing the US track record holder Steve Prefontaine to wear its shoes, sought the best of the best for its celebrity endorsements programme, which ultimately led to Wayne Rooney being signed as a face of Nike, resulting last Tuesday in his endorsing the firm's new Total 90 Supremacy boot.
Alternatively some would say the seeds of the injury were sown when the second Tsar Nicholas II's troops opened fire on protesting peasants in the Bloody Sunday massacre of 1905. This led to the two Russian revolutions of 1917 and subsequent civil war, and the establishment of the Soviet Union. Its success in maintaining parity with the US during the Cold War arms race ultimately crippled its economy, which made Boris Yeltsin's privatisation of national industries appear a necessity. The policy allowed the young Roman Abramovich to amass his fortune, an infinitesimal proportion of which he spent on buying Chelsea. In days of yore Manchester United were so far ahead at this stage of the season that they could have rested Rooney, but the unstoppable behemoth that Chelsea have become meant that playing him last Saturday was a necessity.
Finally, though, need we look further than the first amendment to the unwritten British constitution, otherwise known as the Football and Fawlty Amendment? That is, "all events in human history must and shall be connected to the German invasion of Poland". It was the need to keep India on side in the second world war which led to Britain being forced to offer a deal that led to her independence, which effectively ended the empire and, with it, the traditional justification for British control over of the Suez Canal.
This ultimately precipitated the crisis which led to Anthony Eden's resignation. The report into Tory members' thoughts on a possible successor was prepared by Edward Heath, and his steering of the job towards Harold Macmillan in part contributed to his being made minister of labour in Macmillan's first cabinet. From there he rose up the ranks, eventually winning the 1970 general election while advocating his kooky Selsdon Man policies, which informed the push for budget cuts in - among other areas - education, leading to Thatcher's decision to end free school milk. And, metatarsally speaking, we all know how that turned out.