Nowadays a top Premiership football club can spend £50 million on a Portuguese pin-up or a legendary Italian goalkeeper, but you cannot take into account the effects of a dodgy takeaway meal, a dropped bottle of aftershave on a goalkeeper's toe, or the fact that your most creative player has to leave town because of a chance drunken encounter with another player's wife. It is these random moments that have shaped football as much as the headline-grabbing Cantona kung fu kick and that Russian linesman in 1966. Along the meandering paths of this witty alternative history of the world's most popular game, you will learn: * Different sizes of football were used in each half of the inaugural World Cup Final of 1930. * The first England defeat was not that famous 6-3 home defeat in 1953 by Hungary but was in Madrid against Spain back in 1929 (4-3). * After penalty kicks were introduced in 1891, the Corinthian Casuals goalkeeper would stand idly by his post to allow the ball into his goal unhindered, such was the stigma of conceding a penalty. From the height of international football to the scandal of the Conference league Christmas party that cost far more than a bar-bill, Colin Murray tries his best to make you believe, once more, in football's unpredictability.
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