"I think Sven is going to go 4-1-4-1", I mentioned to a work colleague of England's upcoming game against Ecuador. "He'll play Rooney up front and Hargreaves just behind the midfield."
He nodded his head solemnly."I think that's definitely what's going to happen" he replied, "What else can he do?"
Football gives you the opportunity to talk about something we know nothing about with a perceived legitmate confidence. There's no tone of irony in conversations in which bankers and bin-men discuss how a football manager with 30 years experience has no idea what he's doing, and here's how to make it all better. I, like I'm sure most others, am not actually even aware that I don't know what I'm talking about when I'm engaged in soccer chat.
The brain of the football-loving man has an extra section that modifies football related memories. It wont touch the normal brain functions such as that which deals with eating, drinking, shagging, working, complaining about Easter eggs being sold too early in supermarkets, dreaming, talking about feelings and of course punching walls. It will just mess about with the football stuff, which allows you to enter over-confidentially into soccer tactics discussions.
When Radio Five Live informed me England will probably be playing 4-1-4-1, with Rooney up front on his own and Hargreeves playing just behind the four-man midfield, my main brain would have processed this information normally. But a few seconds after, the Football Memory Modifier neural pathways would fire-up and do their work. This is how it would handle the knowledge I gleaned from the radio:
It would change my memory: "Radio 5 Live reckons Hargreaves will start. He'll play just behind the middle-four as the primary ball-winner." To "I, after analysing the position England have found themselves in, and based onall available facts, reckon that England need to play a ball-winner. Now I know Hargreaves has had more stick than No-More-Nails, but he would be perfect for this role, so that's what I have decided Sven should do. Me!"
And it would change my memory: "Radio 5 Live told me that England would probably play with the formation 4-1-4-1 against Ecuador; a formation which previously I had never heard of. I'm not even really sure what it means" to" I, after analysing the position England have found themselves in, and based on all available facts, have decided the old 4-1-4-1 formation (one which I have always advocated), is how Sven is going to get England to playing the next game. I have decided this on my own. Me! I know all about football yeah!"
Nobody really knows anything about football.