Second Glance

Article excerpt

Byline: David Williamson

"The drama of democracy has all the traits of our beautiful game

SEVENTY years ago yesterday the first televised FA Cup final took place when Huddersfield Town faced Preston North End.

It would be another 30 years before the final would be broadcast in colour, but anyone who watched the flickering images of footballers was pulled into the drama of the beautiful game.

Television is a medium designed for football. Drama is best watched on the stage of a theatre or a cinema screen, and music should be heard live or through superior headphones.

But the act of watching a match on a small screen is a tribal rite of global power.

Television never seems as "live" as when teams dash onto the pitch. Whether someone is watching in Wembley, Soweto or Beijing, he or she is united in not knowing what is going to happen next.

In an age when movies are formulaic and sodden with computer-generated imagery, and "reality" TV is manipulated by canny and callous producers, the rawness of the football event is all the more compelling.

The players may be rendered the same size as Subbuteo figures, but this hardly matters - in some ways it is almost an improvement. This is a game in which the orchestration of the team is a work of choreography best observed from above.

Chess enthusiasts are not excited by the carving of the pieces; instead, they are animated by the ruthless strategy that pushes each one across the board. …