Saturday, 21 June 2008

Gordon Banks, Pelé, Desmond Tutu and me

Mostly I’m a man of modest tastes, so it’s not often that I want to be rich. I did last night, though, when my brother tipped me off about an auction on ebay.

I don’t mean massively rich. Minor rock star rich, wouldn’t miss ten or twenty grand rich, would do.

The auction is for the chance to play in a Gordon Banks XI v Pelé XI celebrity charity football game at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke, on 12 July. Best of all, Pelé and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, no less, will manage the winning bidder’s team, which will include two former Brazilian international footballers, including a 1994 World Cup winner.

So that’s the best goalkeeper the world has ever known, the best striker the world has ever known and one of the bravest and best people the world has ever known – and you, raising money for causes such as the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund by playing football. You get to keep the match ball, signed by all three, and there’s even a half-time team talk from Archbishop Tutu thrown in for good measure.

My top football-playing claim to fame is having appeared in the same team as the foreign secretary. Banks, Pelé and Tutu, though – it doesn’t come better than that.

PS: Russia v Holland. Manichaean dualism. Darkness versus Light. Your life will be like the football you believe in.


Anonymous said...

That put the hex on Holland as I knew you would. Can you please back the BNP and the Tories for the next election?

dribbler said...

Can Tutu play football then?

Harry Barnes said...

On your legend -

"There is no absolute knowledge. And those who claim it, whether they are scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy. All information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility - Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man"

Bert Ward who used the be secretary of New Dialogue and editor of its bulletin has published a book of essays and poems. In one of the essays he writes -

'All things are relative as a friend said to me in later life. "There are no absolutes. In the context of a given situation all things are relative" he used to say. "Is that absolutely true?" I asked him one day. He stopped saying it after that. Which was a pity because I liked him.'

So are you absolutely sure Bronowski was correct?

dave said...

dribbler said...
Can Tutu play football then?

Better than Platty! ;)

balletdancer said...

Peaceful rabble-rouser turns 75; One of South Africa's most loved citizens celebrated his birthday on Saturday. Carol Lazar contemplates the life of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

From: The Mercury (South Africa) Date: October 9, 2006

DESMOND Tutu's right leg swung high into the air as he kicked the ball across the field. The crowd yelled its appreciation. "Yo, go, go, go, Arch," screamed the youngster beside me.

That happened recently, at the Homeless World Cup soccer tournament, a week before the diminutive Archbishop Emeritus celebrated his 75th birthday. The Arch, as he's so fondly called, deftly dribbled the ball across the field.

balletdancer said...

Tutu Tells World To Unite Against Homelessness

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu made a colourful appearance at the Homeless World Cup today where he announced the legacy that would be left in Cape Town and South Africa after the games are over.

Greeted by cheering crowds and vuvuzelas, Tutu welcomed the different nations competing in the tournament and told them that discrimination against the homeless had to end.

'All over the world, I want to say, we've got to end homelessness. Everyone should have a home; it's a right and not a privilege,' Tutu told the crowd.

'People treat the homeless as if they're sub-human. In order to overcome this discrimination, we have to unite against homelessness as we did when we fought apartheid,' said Tutu,

Tutu said that although he wished he could be nicer and tell all the teams he hoped they would win, he could not.

'I want South Africa to win. I like you Nigeria. I like you Zambia. But the cup must stay here in South Africa. I wish I could be nice, but no,' Tutu told the teams.

Mel Young, co-founder and president of the Homeless World Cup, said it was the policy of the organisers to leave behind a legacy in every country in which the tournament is played.

Tutu announced that not only would a national street soccer league continue to operate throughout South Africa, and the pitches being used during the competition be donated to the league, but that a football factory would be created to provide 20 people - with permanent jobs.

The Football Factory will be set up by the Homeless World Cup local organising committee with the Alive and Kicking project.

Corporate responsibility director for Nike Europe, Middle East and Africa, Maria Bobenrieth, said that it was 'with honour' that Nike supported the Homeless World Cup in leaving this legacy in Cape Town.

'A football factory and a national street soccer league will continue to positively influence lives in South Africa,' she said.

Tutu, who is turning 75 on October 7 but hosting a birthday party tonight, was delighted when the crowd sang Happy Birthday to him, accompanied by drums and the chorus of vuvuzelas.

Bouncing the football, and kicking at goal, Tutu told the teams they were 'very special people' before taking his time to meet fans and pose for photographs.

Steve Platt said...

Dave - I have only one thing to say to you: 12-0! The scoreline doesn't lie!

Harry - Some things are as near to absolute truth as dammit for all practical purposes. I know that if I hold my breath for long enough I'll die; I know the sun will rise in the east each day; and I know that people who are absolutely certain that they are right about something are often wrong.

On the other hand, and I paraphrase Bronowski on this, certainty is what makes great evil possible. In the BBC series The Ascent of Man, Bronowski is filmed at Auschwitz in a pool of water standing on what appears to be sand. It's actually the ash from countless bodies. He talks about how the Holocaust could never have happened if the Nazis hadn't been certain that they were right. The humility of doubt would have saved humanity from many tragedies, great and small.

Am I certain of this? (Almost) absolutely!

dave said...

So you got lucky. Even Port Vale win the odd game once in a while! ;)

Harry Barnes said...

Steve: In your comments, I AM "absolutely certain" that Bronowski was correct about the impact of the rigid beliefs of the Nazis, which is a reason I DON'T wish to show "humility" to those who deny the Holocaust. It is a pity that the logic of the quotation you select from Bronowski runs up against these stances. I am merely pointing to a logical flaw in his presentation and I am not doubting his integrity.

Steve Platt said...

Harry - you have me over a logical barrel, a position that I learnt long ago you should not attempt to argue your way out of ...