The musings of... A Simple Soul

WORLD CUP: After watching most games, hearing aid turned to “selective”, I’m certain that in the background I could hear Mrs Simple muttering about decorating. I have to say what a load of moaning, whinging cheats most teams have been. We English chaps have behaved, but some of those Johnnie Foreigners, the ones with names made up from jumbled up letters, have been over the top. Haven’t they realised that every move they make is captured by 100 cameras? Yet they dive and roll around at the slightest knock. It seems VAR has given them something else to moan about. One has to feel sorry for the refs, and it’s time FIFA sorted the treatment they have to endure from so-called sportsmen, mostly multi-millionaires. Why not make it a rule that only the team captain is allowed to question a decision?
I wondered how some of these world class players would have fared in the old days. No doubt chaps like Ronaldo have great skills and can make a ball dip and swerve, but then they play with beachballs wearing carpet slippers. Could they have done the same with one of the old leather case balls? 
For the younger generation, the old case balls had an internal bladder that had to be inflated by a cycle pump, the neck folded over and tied and tucked inside the ball, which would be laced up. If you happened to head the ball and caught the lace, it left an imprint on your forehead for weeks after. 
The balls were much heavier, and most goalkeepers could only reach the half way line from a goal kick. The balls became heavier when wet. Goalkeepers only wore gloves if it was wet, and then not the massive ones they wear today.
Football boots really were boots and came over the ankles, had studs that you hammered into the sole and real toe caps — when you were kicked you knew you’d been kicked, yet I don’t recall any of this rolling around in agony as they do today after a slight tap. Men were men in those days. If you stayed down after a tackle you were known as a mardie, or a mard arse.
All pitches today seem in good nick, but I suspect many of us remember games going ahead on water-logged pitches, full of mud in the goalmouth and with sand to soak up the water and mud. In winter, games went ahead on snow-covered pitches, marked out with orange lines and played with an orange ball. I’d love to see today’s super stars playing at the old Sandhole in Biddulph.
I remember the old days, when they quite often got a shoulder charge, goalie and ball ended up in the back of the net and a goal was given. No substitutes in those days; if you got injured you went out on the wing and hobbled. If your goalkeeper was carried off, one of the outfield players had to pull on the goalie’s jersey and play on.
In today’s games when a player turns his back on an opponent and shields the ball (often to waste time) it’s called “protecting the ball.” I recall it being called “obstruction” and a foul was awarded.
The game has changed, but is it for the better?
FIRE: Watching a report on the Saddleworth Moor fires, it was highlighted that the fire crews were being provided with food and bottled water by local businesses and residents. But isn’t this something that the Government should be providing? Or is this a case of our emergency services being let down once again? 
What next — foodbanks for all the emergency services? 
It seems we can’t cope with bad winters or good summers these days, as services have been cut back to the bone.
OLD HALL: Mrs Simple Soul and myself recently had an afternoon out at Biddulph Old Hall, where the current owners held an open day. Having not been there since my school days, it was nice to return and have a look at the old place. What a great place to visit and I’m sure many locals have never heard of it. 
Past visits were confined to the grounds, but now the house itself was open to visitors. We kept wandering through the various rooms but always seemed to end up in the tower room where some very tasty cakes and cups of tea were on sale. 
A great afternoon out — watch for more open dates, history on your doorstep. How lucky are we to have such historic places on our doorstep — Biddulph Old Hall, the Grange Gardens, Little Moreton Hall and a few more, all close by.
NO INTERNET: One morning last week while nibbling on my usual Oatie, washed down with Yorkshire’s finest, I had a call from a foreign-sounding bloke, informing me my internet was about to be disconnected. Thinking he might be interested in renovating a house sometime in the future, I put the phone in front of the telly and let him listen to Homes Under The Hammer. I was surprised to find a few minutes later, having finished my Oatie, that he had hung up. More surprising still is that my internet is still on and working fine. He hasn’t rung back.

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