False 9: Things to do now the football season is over
Welcome to a new and exciting bound to be short-lived series that some people are calling ‘a glorified making of lists’, but us folks at The Yorker are calling False 9. Why False 9? Because calling it a Top 10 would be too mainstream? Pretty much. Each False 9 will make some observations that are in no way striking, and will be a list comprising of either eight or ten items, depending on how deep our False 9 wants to go. Strap yourselves in for a ride of irregularly-posted articles. Today, we’re going to look at ways to occupy your summer now that the football season is over. Today, we’re going to play with a False 9.
1. The football season isn’t over
Strong start, this. Whilst those who scour Sky Bet to find footballing sustenance will tell you that the Japanese league is only just hotting up, those who can live without accumulators can find very real tournament thrills in the shape of the Women’s World Cup. It is often derided by male snobs as being unbearably inferior quality, usually on the basis of goalkeepers waving at tame shots as they trickle into the net. Yet anyone who has seen the likes of Roy Carroll and Heurelho Gomes will endorse that goalkeeping ineptitude is far from being the preserve of the female game. Take away any preconceptions, except the preconception that a World Cup is a cracking tournament in whatever form. England arrive in Canada as the sixth best team in the world, so get your fill of penalty shoot-out heartache in the quarter-finals and settle down with the BBC for the World Cup.
2. Football Manager
The enjoyment of the FIFA video games usually runs concurrently with the football season. The vast expanse of summer is where the immersive nature of Football Manager comes to the fore. Newcomers to the franchise might wrinkle their nose at the increasingly complicated interface and the increasing complexity in a manager’s decision-making process, but the beauty of the game is in its malleability. A manager can spend hours upon hours fine-tuning the training schedule of the Under-18 team, or a manager can blitz through a season in a day (trust me, I know all too well). The sensation of success in Football Manager can only be described to those who know the sensation of success in Football Manager: dive in, and by the time the real life season starts again you could well be manager of Guiseley A.F.C. in the 2038 Champions League final.
3. Non-footballing video games are also available
Okay, bear with me, I’m moving away from football here. Rekindle the flame of your youth. Dust out the old Age of Empires disc and get your fill of tactical battles by conquering the world. Go dig out The Sims, and create your favourite football team on there. Find that Zoo Tycoon disc, create a zoo and, I dunno, name the lion Ronaldo or suchlike.
4. Go outside and play football
That little sortie away from football did not last long. Get yourself down to the park and have a kickabout. Wembley, Wembley Doubles, Heads and Volleys, these are all games you can play. Seriously ground-breaking stuff, this.
5. Go outside and not play football
Walks are much underrated. Get out and experience the delights of nature and the horrors of hay fever. If the boundless beauty of the natural world is not for you, then go running so it passes you by much quicker. There is no better time to finally decide to get in shape than when there is no football. Get that beach bod, or at the very least get that needlessly-topless-outside-in-the-front-garden-bod.
6. The arts
The football season is done, so the Crazy Gang might as well turn into the Culture Club for a couple of months. There’s a lot you can do in 90 minutes. Make a list of albums that you always meant to listen to but never got round to checking out, and listen to a couple each day. Spend 90 minutes at the theatre or the cinema to get your fill of unpredictable drama. Take 90 minutes each day learning how to cook new dishes. 3pm Saturday, sit down with a book for a couple of hours (‘Fear and Loathing in La Liga’ by Sid Lowe and ‘The Anatomy of England’ by Jonathan Wilson come highly recommended… yes they are both about football). Or if that doesn’t appeal to you…
There’s a lot you can do in 90 minutes.
8. Write something
This list is totally derivative, totally pointless, totally obvious. So you can probably do better, hey? Start a blog and get your voice out there; if not for the sharing of information or for catharsis, than do it purely to make your CV look that little bit stronger. Or sign up for The Yorker, and (cheeky plug) become the new Sports Editor at the start of the next year. I am reliably informed that the position will be available.