Thursday, October 21, 2021
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Eco match of the day

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ON Sunday, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea played what was billed as ‘the first major net zero football game’.

The aim was ‘to raise awareness of the threat of climate change and inspire fans to make simple changes that will help reduce their carbon footprint’.  

As it happened, Spurs might have been better raising their awareness of the Chelsea attacking line because they were thrashed 3-0. But it looks as if the match might have set a pattern for our football future. Let’s cross over to Pie in the Sky Sports …  

GOOD afternoon and welcome to the XR BioPark for this Low-Carbon League clash between Offset Athletic and Soybean Rovers.  

Over there in the Thunberg Stand, fans are enjoying their pre-match Quorn pies and sipping biodegradable cups of Novril – the new meat-free version of Bovril.  

With singing and shouting banned, we can hear the hum of the wind turbine-powered eco-pumps as they extract the emissions of the exclusively vegetarian crowd.  

Meanwhile, stewards are hard at work clearing debris that has been sucked into the inlet filters – woolly hats, scarves, face masks, toupees and some smaller supporters.  

Now the teams line up in their recycled tissue-paper shirts and shorts and perform the Personal Salutation, prostrating themselves full-length on the pitch and asking the Earth goddess Gaia to forgive them for abusing her. The ceremony is the replacement for the old ‘taking the knee’ gesture, and is known colloquially as ‘Taking the PS.’  

The match kicks off and Athletic striker Sid Overmoon unleashes a fierce volley. And – oh dear! – the papier mâché  ball, moulded from unsold copies of the Guardian, disintegrates as it flies goalwards. Only a fragment of the Corrections Column crosses the line and the goal is disallowed.  

A furious Overmoon shouts at the ref, who instantly brandishes a red card! Apparently the player called him a climate change denier! That’ll be a three-match sojourn in the FA re-education camp for him. We apologise to viewers for broadcasting such language.  

The match restarts and … goal! Rovers midfielder Bill Sickparrot thunders the new ball straight past the keeper and into the stand, where it explodes against a spectator. There is no net in the goal because this is, of course, a net zero match.  

The match continues as Rovers defender Harry Studsup makes a mistimed sliding tackle against Athletic forward Ethan Extrayard and disappears into the rewilded area surrounding the pitch – a dense tangle of thorn bush. A substitute is sent on while ball boys hack their way into the jungle to search for Studsup.    

The half-time whistle blows and both teams will be glad to get back to the dressing room for a reviving beaker of marinated mango root and pomegranate pressé.  

Now here we are, ten minutes into the second half and … penalty! VAR (Volume Aggregate Referee) shows that total carbon dioxide emissions from the Rovers players have breached the set limit.  

As chunky Rovers keeper Sam Slipgrip bends forward to anticipate the shot, his tissue-paper shorts split and blow away – and he instinctively uses his gloved hands to protect his modesty. The ball is slotted home by Athletic.  

Now another drama! Demonstrators from UndieWar, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, are invading the pitch to protest at the latest government insulation scheme.  

They are furious that thermal vests provided to freezing families whose gas boilers have been removed are not made of pure wool provided by organically-reared sheep, but contain ten per cent man-made fibre.  

And as the protesters glue themselves to the goalposts, the match is abandoned.

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Weaver Sheridan
Weaver Sheridan is a wannabe best-selling novelist, one of his efforts being the Fifties Franny series, available on Amazon Kindle books.

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