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Only FIFA would be complacent enough to imagine that gluing a bit of discarded dire wolf hair to Zico’s top lip would prevent one of his biggest fans from identifying him.

Still, inviting a Brazil 2014 volunteer to the Maracanã and having Zico present him with his uniform is a nice touch.

If they weren’t such a stand-up bunch of fellas, we’d think they were trying to distract us from something...


By Kelly Welles


Image via facebook.

FIFA, Brazil 2014

To a soundtrack evocative of the parps and farts that a cyber goth band might emit as they get to grips with their Korg squelch function, Gareth Bale and Dani Alves strap their boots on and smash footballs at liveried bags of paint someone happened to conveniently leave in a warehouse.

This is almost Bywater-ian in it’s abstraction and execution, no?


By Kelly Welles

Gareth Bale, Dani Alves, Copa del Rey


Wow. When Jose wants rid of a player, he doesn’t mess about, does he?

Just kidding, everyone. It’s just a glimpse behind the scenes of Chelsea’s 2014/15 home kit ad. They’ve gone for a more serious approach than last year’s blue paint bonanza, immersing the likes of Petr Cech, Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and Oscar in papier mache goop, filling the resulting mould with more goop and letting it set with a view to capturing a moment in time forever.


It’s narrated by Mourinho, although this might not be the full extent of his involvement.


While there’s imagery of Sad Nando lying on a slab amidst some broken pottery, there’s no *actual* footage of him being released from his cast.


We reckon he might still be in there…


By Kelly Welles


We stumbled over this delightful FATV video of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson while we should have been doing more productive things.

Having watched it closely, we think it might hold the answers to England’s inexplicable ineptitude in major tournaments, rendering Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski’s excellent tome, ‘Why England Lose’, utterly redundant.

    Observation ‘A’

    Despite being a great player and an astonishingly determined young man, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    carries the specifically English ‘Midas –In-Reverse’ gene that afflicts all promising players.

    0:11 “This is what being a footballer is about, you’ve got to perform under pressure. “.
    0:14 Collapses under pressure.

    This video was made in 2012. It’ll be rampant now.

    Observation ‘B’

    Part of the reason why England aren’t very good in international tournaments is that they stay up late
    videoing themselves. We’ll concede that keepy-ups are marginally better than other nocturnal activities
    they keep getting busted for, but they’re still quite tiring and take longer to complete.

    Observation ‘C’

    They’re using a tennis ball. Elite players use oranges.

And that, kids, is why Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski are highly respected authors and Kelly works from the Biffa bin parked outside Ramble HQ.


By Kelly Welles


These goals from Barcelona’s famous youth academy were the best of the last week. Not like, a collection of the season so far, or ever, as might be more realistic, but the last week.

Precocious simply isn’t the word, particularly for No.3 (0:37), a lovely chip from Maxi Rolón that the keeper gets a hand to and has to watch roll in anyway. And if you’re there, you might as well check out the winner. That insouciance in front of goal belongs Pau Servat, who was born on 10th February 2003.

Shall we go for staggering with a bouquet of sheer terror?


By Kelly Welles

Barcelona, La Masia

We’re prepared to excuse a moment of confusion in a high emotional state, Herve, (especially since you’re so damn dreamy when you’re angry), but if you should you ever find yourself in a situation where you believe your player has been kicked by a follicularly challenged opponent and then erroneously sent off again, do not stride up and down the touchline shouting “GET THE BALDIE!”.

Thank heavens Marcus Speller has a robust head of hair. He’d be inconsolable otherwise.


By Kelly Welles

Herve Renard, Sochaux

Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi has apologised after being filmed running in front of a bull while dressed in a Batman costume at a street festival in Spain.


Because no self-respecting comic book fan would call that a Batman costume?  Or because running around in front of a tethered, confused bull is a somewhat bizarre way to assert one’s masculinity?

Who knows. Could be either. Or both.


By Kelly Welles


Image via facebook.

Real Madrid, Asier Illarramendi

Fortunately, most of us will never know what it’s like to be homeless. We can only imagine what it feels like to wander the streets as the night closes in, cold, hungry, fearful and in search of a safe place to sleep.

But it isn’t just the physical uncertainties that take their toll on the UK’s homeless population. It’s tough to remain hopeful and motivated to move your life forward when circumstances are tying you to a mate’s floor or the vague possibility of bed in a hostel.


‘Be The Ball’ is the latest initiative of the Homeless FA, an organisation established to help homeless people re-engage with the self-confidence and self-respect required to take the first steps back into a more secure, happier life.

They do this by offering 5 day football courses to men and women during April and May, which include professional training at an affiliate club – Arsenal, Bristol City, Manchester United, Norwich City and Sunderland are among those currently involved – and the opportunity to earn an accredited Level One Sport’s Leaders qualification. They may even be selected to represent England in the Homeless World Cup, which this year is taking place in Chile.


The Homeless FA state that their emphasis “is on personal development, both on and off the pitch, and we support players to increase their self-confidence, self-esteem, and offer to help improve stress management, teach leadership and a range of other life skills.”

It’s a worthy mission indeed, and one we’re delighted to get behind at the Ramble. Which is where you come in. Programmes cost about £250,000 per year to run, and despite great support from their affiliate clubs and sponsors, the Homeless FA is looking for donations to help them continue their work.


You can donate via their justgiving page. At some games, a fiver barely covers the cost of a drink and a matchday programme, but there it can provide a player with education resources, which might go some way to helping a guy like Tom Queripel, who lived in a tent for two months before he got involved.

“It makes you feel that there are people like you, who are going through the same things,” Tom said. “It doesn’t only make yourself feel good inside, but it makes other people around you think you’re worth something, that you’ve achieved something, that you can make something of your life. There’s no negativity here. It’s all positives, because we’re all in the same boat. We’re all friends.”

“It’s to do with us having the determination to change our lives. I couldn’t have done it without this course. It’s changing my life, but it’s also changing the lives of people around me. You’re not just walking out the door with a qualification, you’re walking out a completely different person.”


By Kelly Welles


For more information, visit

Make a donation to BeTheBall here.

Homeless FA, Homeless World Cup, #passtheball, #betheball

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