Recently, I had the good fortune to visit Greece.
Greece is not just a beautiful country but also the cradle of – Western civilisation, the Olympics, democracy, and association football.
Football may come as a surprise to students of history, because many erroneously believe football to have been invented by the British around the start of the Nineteenth Century.
But, in fact, five centuries BC and Archimedes had already discovered the joyful abandon of kicking an old ball of leather around the Pantheon during a debating contest with Pythagorus (an early proponent of the 2-4-2 triangle formation)
Unfortunately, these early football games were strictly limited to the brightest minds of the age; only those with a firm grasp of Aristotelian ethics were allowed to enter the field of play.
During the Renaissance, as high culture blossomed, football sadly slipped into obscurity with Rene Descartes casting doubting about whether the ball really existed – and the German philosopher Immanuel Kant delving into the controversial existential question of why did England always lose on penalties?
It was not until Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels groundbreaking work on the dialectical materialism of the offside rule, that the game could finally be taken from the dry, academic environs of obscure philosophy to the working class streets of northern England.
Communism may have come and gone, but Karl Marx’s legacy to football is one of his much under-appreciated legacies.