|A Game Of One Half And Two Gods
Author: A.A. Pessimal PM
Pedestriana, Goddess of Football, has returned to the Disc. But every quality in the Discworld calls into existance its opposite. She discovers another, darker, Football-God has arisen too. Who will win?Rated: Fiction K - English - Fantasy/Humor - Blind Io & Offler - Words: 5,275 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 1 - Published: 11-26-10 - id: 6505642
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Equal and Opposite, or A God of Two Halves
A musing after reading "Unseen Academicals" that something was missing and could usefully have been rescued from a one-line joke in another book.
On reflection, I don't think the "missing" factor was missing at all – it was there, all along, horribly unspoken, but acting through the medium of characters like Andy Shank and his posse. And we mere humans do not know the half of the combat taking place on the immortal plane of the Gods and the supernatural entities – all we saw in "Academicals" was Pedestriana, plucky barefoot goddess of Football (1), manifesting in triumph at the end of the match at the Hippo.
But it might so easily have gone the other way… everything, after all, has its opposite…
The goddess Pedestriana had re-entered the world after a long sabbatical, in an explosion of golden light and pottery shards that had left Royal Art Museum night-watchman Rudolph Scatterling in a gibbering incoherent heap on the floor to be found by the day staff in the morning. After soothing his nerves, allowing him an opportunity to clean up and having found him a fresh pair of trousers to go home in, Sir Reynold and his staff had decided it was just one of those things that can happen at night in a museum, and had set about collecting the shards for re-assembly, looking on it as a jigsaw enthusiast does a fresh puzzle. They hadn't stopped to ask what, if anything, had re-entered the world: such things were too immediate and contemporary. Scatterling had reported an explosion of golden light, but that was for wizards or perhaps priests to work out, as it was self-evidently not here now.
At least the incident had generated several boxes of pottery shards, all known to be from catalogued whole or partial artefacts, that could now be used as cheap training exercises for the current crop of archaeology students to try their hand at re-assembling. Serendipity, really.
And then they found the Urn….
All that is old news now and fairly well known, especially to those whose business it is to Work out What The Hell Happened.
Pedestriana, most noble Goddess of all that is fine and decent and life-transcending in the sport of Football, re-entered the world after several thousand years in a limbo of quiescence. The sport, debased from what it had been, suddenly transformed and hundreds of thousands of people realised, as they had never done before, how it could sublimate their hopes and dreams through the prowess of a team of chosen champions. And the selected heroes, the champions themselves, realised how fortunate and favoured they were to be elevated above the run of their fellow men. (2)
But what is not so well-known is that her return allowed a gateway for Another to return. For everything on the Disc has its opposite and both must be allowed to flourish so as to retain the Balance.
If the wizards of Unseen University had not been as single-minded as they were in forming a team that would fight to retain the bequest that paid the food bill, they might have noticed. Very few people other than the wizards were in a position to know.
So the Loosing of the Beast went largely unremarked. Indeed, in places like the Shades and the worst parts of Dimwell, the Beast already worked through indirect suggestion via human intermediaries whose minds were but a lesser reflection of its. Like calls to like, after all.
And a mind like Andy Shanks' was predisposed to worship of the Beast and all it stood for. Andy took it to the football on the fateful day Mr Nutt was stabbed to death, and it liked what it saw. And it discovered it could talk to its human servants, directly, mind to mind – even though they thought it was the dark thoughts of their own minds that were talking.
So things were doomed to escalate from the moment two stray Dimmers were waylaid by a group of Dollies in an alley. The Beast egged them on exultantly to perform the dark deed that would secure him on this plane, noting to its disgust that the human worm called Trevor Likely appeared unreachable to it, as though…. her…. Hand was already upon him. And when Andy Shank's Massive Posse weighed in, several more puny human minds arrived that were open to its promptings.
The puny mind called Algernon Stollop acted first in a flash of steel. Mr Nutt dropped like a brick, as Likely screamed with fear and denial.
The Beast screamed with exultation as the human worms conferred on what to do next. It could sense some more of its unwitting servants, those others who made the atmosphere around a football match such a joy and a delight to it, approaching at the run. For every act born of anger, violence, chaos and fear in a crowd honours and exalts Me. And every counter-act by the forces of Law, performed in an equal spirit of fear and anger and violence, also honours Me. The lawless and the would-be law enforcer, all dancing to My choreography on the same side.
He could even hear, among the thousands who had gathered for the game between the Whoppers and the Angels, the beginning of a chant in His honour.
The Beast screamed with exultant joy, and hundreds of receptive minds turned to hear It, as Constable Haddock of the Watch handcuffed Trevor Likely and led him away.
"Whats'ch all thith, then?" Crocodile-headed Offler asked, hampered by his teeth, as Blind Io and Fate unpacked the box that had suddenly appeared in Dunmanifestin. Other Gods and deities gathered to look.
"It's a new Game of some sort." Io said. "Seems interesting and worth a try. It's a new way of deciding the fates of Mortals."
Offler, who was all in favour of that, nodded the sort of nod and smiled the sort of grin only a crocodile-headed God is capable of.
As Io and Fate laid out the green felt cloth with its strange runic inscription, over the top of the squared table normally used for the Game, the Lady took a peek at the box contents.
Fate smiled a happy smile.
"There aren't any dice in this one, my Lady" he said, pleasantly. "According to the blurb on the box, it is When Football moved from the grass to the table! This is The Hobby(3)! A game of skill and manual dexterity! "
The Lady had brought out several of the figures inside the box. As she studied them, the look of distaste on her face at their being no dice changed to a slight smile.
"So I perceive!" she said. She replaced one figure and brought out another. Almost to a man, the playing figures were rooted on weighted half-spherical bases, bringing their centres of gravity down to tabletop level.
"This is acceptable." she said, mildly.
"And the goalposts go here and here. The outer white line delineates the limits of the game area. The little figurines skid along the felt almost frictionlessly… remarkable!"
"Tell me what we're playing for." Blind Io said. "There has to be a reason for this game to suddenly turn up on the doorstep. Is it to do with this new interest in "foote-the-balle" down in Ankh-Morpork?"
"Well, you thaid it, Io" Offler remarked, languidly. "Ath above, tho below!"
"Right. OK" said the Chief of the Gods. He read from the rules.
Two players will each take a Teamme, and selectte a Custodian of the Goal and ten Players."
Fate drew Ankh-Morpork United. The Lady opted for the Unseen Academicals. A figure showing a almost spherical referee, whose girth threatened to be wider than his base, appeared on the pitch. Meanwhile, other minor Gods were busily populating the grandstand sections with figures, and dotting the edge of the playing field with miscellaneous items such as Watchmen, a Doctor, cheerleaders, and others whose purpose was not immediate.
"According to the advanced rules," said Errata, Goddess of misunderstandings, "these add a random factor that may influence play at crucial moments."
Io snorted. He mistrusted his Goddess of Disorder, considering her to be a bit of a discordant influence and a trouble maker. Fate took the rulebook from her and scrutinised it.
"Io, Eris."(4) he said. "She's right, I'm afraid. And she is a Goddess of random factors, after all."
"Has anyone worked out yet what the stakes are?" Io asked again.
The Lady reached into the box and brought out the last two playing pieces.
"It would appear to be a situation where two aspirant Gods have both arisen, but there is only one space available here in Dunmanifestin." she said. She lifted out the playing pieces representing the two hopefuls.
"Great Old Ones!" cursed Io. "She's back? The P.E. Mistress?"
The Goddesses groaned.
"Next thing we know it's going to be physical jerks on the patio at six in the morning." groaned Astoria, goddess of love. "Pedestriana running up and down calling us all a bunch of soft nellies and yelling at us to put some wellie into it. Friendly fixtures against other Pantheons from around the Multiverse."
"Yes, but look at the alternative!" said Frigger, goddess of fertility and earthy language. "Do we really want that crawling all over the lettuce patch?"
"Uggh!" said the gods, in unison, regarding the other potential new deity. It was not a nice looking God. Black predominated and there was a certain suggestion of ooze about it.
"Let's kick off, then. Fate versus the Lady. Let's see who's got the God Factor, shall we? And which teams are these two sponsoring, by the way?"
Commander Vimes paced restlessly, smoking yet another cigar. Other Watchmen watched him anxiously, a small knot of Order on the fringes of over a hundred thousand people who had packed the Hippo for the big game. They knew the signs. Worried about the potential for civic disorder and impotent of anything practical he could do about it, forced into a position where he had to trust the notoriously flaky Old Dean 's commonsense and ability to read a situation, the Boss was on the edge of a catastrophe curve of his very own – he was about to Go Spare in a big way. They feared this more than they did the potential riot that was all around them.
At least a dozen chants were going on in various parts of the ground at any one time.
But the one the Watchmen unanimously agreed was the scariest, the one with overtones to it, was the one that went
Yer-what! Yer-what, yer-what, yer-what!
Never taken up by more than a couple of hundred voices for very long, but always breaking out afresh in a different part of the ground, it was troubling, as if all the potential for violence and destruction and random wanton wrecking was condensed, like some arcane magical spell, into those two repeated syllables and that repeated chant. The watchmen looked carefully around them, trying to disguise their fear.
And in the psychic ether, the immortal being, the Beast Yob-Soddoth, allowed conditional entry into the world as counter to the return of Pedestriana, roared its laughter.
This morning the Dungeon Dimensions. Today, the earth plane. Tomorrow, who knows, Dunmanifestin.
It just had to defeat its old enemy first.
The God clustered round the playing arena, as the match continued, reflecting the drama being played out in the mortal world below. They knew the stakes: if Fate, playing as proxy for the dark being Yob-Soddoth, won the game, then the former denizen of the darkest quarters of the Dungeon Dimensions would be elevated to the fellowship of Dunmanifestin.
"We've not had a proper Dark God up here for simply ages!" Petulia, Goddess of Negotiable Affection, breathed to Bibulous, Lord of Getting It On Down and Partying.
"But I do hope he's got a proper human form to wear. Well, humanoid, anyway".
"Well, if it comes to that, I'm sure we can get him gussied up!" said Vidal, God of Hairdressing. Nat, the God of Tailoring, nodded guarded approval.
"Bit of a challenge." he said. "But gevalt, I've schmattered worse. Anyone remember Donald The Duck God? All tush and no legs? Now there was a fitting problem!"
And a toga covers all sizes, he added, uncharitably.
For looked at closely (an act most sentient species would recoil from), Yob-Soddoth took the form of a creature that was a cross between a huge slug and an outsized centipede. He (or It, or as a long shot perhaps She) had hundreds of paired legs, each one boasting a turn-up of some kind, posing a trousering problem that even Nat would have scratched his divine skull at. Each leg terminated in a human foot which was clad in a high-ankled boot with at least fifteen pairs of eyelets Its hide, or skin, or carapace, looked black at first glance. But should the observer making that first glance have been resolute enough to come back for a second, he or she would have noted that the hide, or carapace, or whatever, was not truly black.
In defiance of the common convention that when all colours are brought together they become as white, Yob-Soddoth's hide was made up of hundreds and thousands, maybe millions, of soiled football club scarves. They hadn't been soiled to begin with; but on contact with his hide, taken in the mass and against all normal rules of colour perception, they all faded to a uniform dirty shade which from a distance looked black.
And every football club there ever was at all places and times in the multiverse was represented here: the shame, the scandal, the violence, the greed, the amorality, the fear. The dark side of a game for which Pedestriana represents the light and the hope and the joy and the elation.
Draw closer to Yob-Soddoth, taking care to avoid the lethal boots. Listen, pilgrim in the dungeon dimensions. You will hear a susurration of angry and fearful voices speaking . Up close, it is possible to discern the words…
Oh God, I only wanted a quiet day at the football…
We'd better do something, sarge, or these yobs are going to walk all over us! And there's more of them than of us!
I'm a long way from home and these Italian fans are charging into our terrace… why are their police doing nothing? I don't want to die here…
Are you bastards from the Edgeley Defence Force up for a fight or not? We'll show you who the daddy is!
Millwall! Nobody loves us, and we don't care!
No! That tackle's taken my knee out! My career's over! Goodbye to eighty grand a week and back to the ordinary people and obscurity!
From a distance, it all blends together into a continual drawling cry of Yer-what! Yer-what, yer-what, yer-what! But all of football is there. All of the dark side of football.
Meanwhile back in Dunmanifestin, the playing piece called Bengo Macarona has taken on a life of his own and has zipped around the green beize, scoring two goals.
"That was nothing to do with me" said the Lady. "Not consciously, anyway!"
"Doesn't matter. Your team captain has been gracious enough to give one of his spare goals to the other side. So you're still only one apiece." pointed out Flatus, God of Wind. "Either of you might still win."
"What a choice." The Goddess Anoia said, with her usual dry sardonic edge. She cupped one elbow in the palm of her smoking hand, and glared at the board. "either some Dark Dungeon entity gets promoted to here, and we all know what that means in terms of lack of table-manners and general much-to-be-desired, or else it's is a cold shower at half-past-far-too-early followed by a bracing jog round the mountain." She paused, and took a deliberate drag, daring Blind Io to order her to take it outside. "And I don't know about you, but I didn't slog it out on the circuit for several millennia to get here just to enjoy the cold-shower routine! She'll want me to give up smoking, too!"
The Gods sighed and watched the game, in several states of gloomy and depressed.
"I bet it was sodding Hoki." Said Reg, God of Club Musicians. "The bastard's still barred, so he gift-wraps a game with a booby-prize in and leaves it on the doorstep early doors, when Ronnie Soak's just delivered the ambrosia."
The gods nodded, gloomily.
And then roared
"OOH! DIRTY!" as one God, as several of Fate's playing pieces converged on Macarona and put the boot in. Or at least, the blunt edge of their half-spheres .
"Are you blind, ref?" demanded Cephut, God of cutlery and by oversight, sword-and-weapon smithing. The globular piece representing Dean Henry began to roll down the board of its own accord.
Fate looked up.
"Now that was destined to happen…."
In the psychic miasma above the packed Hippo, their God-natures made strong by the sheer raw belief of the crowd, stern Pedestriana locked glares with her old enemy, sensed but unseen by the humans. Beneath them, Dean Henry had been forced to admit he hadn't seen a thing, and Macarona was being given a dose of happiness by Doctor Lawn. .
"We both have our Avatar down there" she said, coldly. "You have Andy Shank. I have Juliet Stollop. "
"Agreed" said the loathsome one.
"Let me propose that our combat now be played out by proxy according to the acts of our Avatars and their acolytes. Let them be true to their own nature. Let them decide which of us prevails by the strength of their thoughts and actions."
"Then, Lady, I shall win. For the human animal given a choice will come to Me. You are, as always, naïve!"
"Perhaps, Dark One. Only perhaps. It may be that we are equal and opposite and neither of us prevails completely. We will see."
"And when I win, I will banish you from the world, as before!"
Pedestriana shook her head.
"No, Dark One. We were both brought to this place for a purpose. I fear that if I prevail today, I can never banish you, although you may grow weak. Nor can you banish me, for I grow weak. The seed of me is in you as your seed is in me."
Yob-Soddoth considered this.
"Like the Wintersmith and the Summer Lady, sort of thing?" said the Dark Creature. "Although I'm of the inclination to give that bloody nonce a really good kicking, you wouldn't want him anywhere near your thirteen year old daughter…"
"You have no daughters, thirteen years old or otherwise!". she said, recognising another of the strands of unthinking hatred and violence that made up Yob-Soddoth.
"And yes, we are like the Wintersmith and the Summer Lady…"
"Are you callin' me a paedo?"
"…in that the one may never be totally banished by the other, however triumphant they seemingly are in their own season. The world requires both. Today, one of us becomes triumphant but must live with the knowledge that however diminished, the other is still in the world."
Down below, a phalanx of hard cases was forming up around Andy Shank to prevent any UU player from taking the ball from him.
In the clash of golden light and dark anti-light happening in the psychic ether, Pedestriana's light weakened and faltered. The crowd sensed this as a change in light quality on the pitch. Some looked upwards. The Shank phalanx rumbled down the pitch.
"Should they be doing that?" Astoria asked, as the figures on the green beize formed a rough phalanx around the player with the ball.
"You've got to admit, it's original." said Blind Io. "Here… what's just happened to your custodian, Lady?"
For the Lady's Custodian of the Goals, the simian who had effortlessly saved a dozen times, was flopped forward off his long manipulative handle, as if melted. A familiar looking yellow fibrous mass was at his feet.
"He ate the poisoned banana." said Erata. "Thrown from the crowd. I told you there'd be a random factor!"
But a new piece appeared on the sidelines. Something about its stance, its barrel chest, its determined functional ugliness…
"I thought we'd got rid of all those a long time ago!" said Offler, consternated.
"A few remain in far Überwald." Fate said, dismissively. "A breeding stock, perhaps, if the Dark Empire ever rise again. One such has made his way to Ankh-Morpork. Hardly surprising, as representatives of all races find their way there eventually."
There was a simering in the air, as the simian playing piece disappeared briefly, to re-appear near the Doctor on the sidelines. Seamlessly, the figure of the Orc took its place on the custodian's manipulative handle. It somehow appeared right that a tabletop game involving control of a ball should incorporate such figures. They seemed right for the task.(5)
Its playing half-sphere, now without a figure, scuttled off the board, but did not disappear.
And the game resumed.
Andy Shanks' continual gamesmanship, designed to stay within the laws of the game while breaking its spirit in every conceivable way, mounted up fresh offences against football, every one of which Pedestriana felt like a wound.
She heard Yob Soddoth exult. She heard the roar of the crowd, regardless of what they were actually chanting, become
Yer what, yer-what, yer-what, yer-what! repeated over again, like a curse on a prayer wheel, channelling energy and succour to its originator.
She felt herself weaken and her head swim. Darkness washed over the Hippo. Fights started to break out in the stands.
The small knot of Watchmen gathered in the lee of the gates shivered at the subtle change in the mood of the crowd. The more experienced of them could read the mood of the City from instant to instant: the moment of change was as obvious to them as the weather going from merely cloudy to the beginning of rain.
"Damn!" said Vimes, feelingly, as the cry of Orc! Orc! Orc! Orc! went up from inside. "Damn Ridcully, Damn, bloody, Vetinari. This is all going wahoonie-shaped!"
"It's not looking good, sir." Captain Carrot said, a look of worry spreading across his broad honest face. "According to some very old books, when they used to have chariot races here, pitched battles between the rival teams' fans once went on for weeks and brought down the Emperor. In the old Latatian days."(6)
"You're not helping, Carrot" Vimes said, severely.
And then the Gods saw a running figure nimbly sprint around the upper rim of the grandstand. The chant, that they were hearing as a muted Yer what, yer-what, yer-what, yer-what! Subtly and gradually found itself being drowned out with Likely! Likely! Likely!
Blind Io turned to Errata.
"Another of your bloody random factors?"
Errata, She who is known as Eris, Discordia, Our Lady of Chaos, or just "Oh No! It's her again!" throughout the infinite Multiverse, shrugged.
"They just turn up" she said, with disarming truth.
And fresh light suffused the sky as One took the field, an unwitting acolyte of Pedestriana, who although he failed to score on five or six occasions, failed in such a way, by such heartbreakingly narrow margins, that he embodied the spirit of Football. Outside the field, the policemen sighed and relaxed, feeling unaccountably easier.
And the orang-utan, noble and plucky ape, returned to the field of play, freeing up the Orc to range forwards in support of Dave Likely. Again, another archetype of the Spirit of Football was played(7, 8) , as thought it were an ace in a card game, and the Light drew stronger. And thren the last Random Factor happened. The ball dissappeard, causing Gods to look for it all over the marbled floors of Dunmanifestin. Only Errata had seen it disappear among the dancing cheerleaders.
"It's alright, they've got a ball back" she shouted. The Gods returned. "Only it's not the one they started with."
It was oddly-shaped, but glowed from within and shone like a diamond.
And under the boot of Trevor Likely, it scored the winning goal.
The Referee blew to acknowledge the goal and end the game."
"Do you yield?" Pedestriana asked Yob-Soddoth, who knew he was trailing on points. The Dark One hissed.
"It is not over yet, Shining One! Behold…."
And his earthly avatar, Andy Shanks, moved to kick Dave Likely in the groin. Then something strange happened as the malice of the kicker returned to him. Shanks screamed and fell, clutching himself. On the psychic plane, the slug-like mass of Yob-Soddoth convulsively curled up like a slug hit by salt, his eye-stalks crossing in agony. It rolled and shuddered, groaning a high-pitched groan.
"As above, so below!" Pedestriana said, mildly. "The thought came from you. The result returns to you. My game, I think."
Shanks had dragged himself upright. Only to be grabbed and punched by his own team captain. This was not the sort of punch to give succour to Yob-Soddoth. Rather it was justice delayed, humiliation rightly received, played out in front of thousands.
Yob-Soddoth screamed a defiant final scream of pain and hatred and vengeance. Then he dissappeared, falling back to the Dungeon Dimensions, where he would be weakened but not out of the reach of the right sort of human mind.
Pedestriana nodded. There was just one last thing to do on the Earth Plane…
…And Juliet Stollop arose, garbed in golden light, the earthly embodiment of the victor and an unwitting Avatar of her Goddess.
And they think it's all over?
"Welcome to Dunmanifestin!" Blind Io said to the new girl. Other deities gave her cautious nods and acknowledgements.
"You've got a suite of rooms here. Clear out all the boxes of paper-clips and office supplies, if you can. There's a stationery cupboard down the hall. Used to belong to Nuggan, who was a proper little tit who got himself diminished by his humans. Went utterly insane in the end, poor soul. But hre brought it on himself. Panpunitoplasty. I ask you. "
And so Pedestriana moved in.
And they think it's all over?
"What do we do with the Game?" Fate asked, having meticulously packed the football game back into its box.
"Put it with the rest." said Offler, dismissively. "You never know, thomebody might want to play it again thoon. Get more teamth and it might be a hit. It definithley hath potential."
"And no dice!" said Fate. "Hard for her to play her usual tricks with that. And after a while, it builds a momentum. It almost feels like it's playing itself!"
And they think it's all over?
A whistle broke the sleeping silence at five-thirty. Frigger, Goddess of fertility and earthly language, groaned and said something heartfelt in Hublandish. Urika, Goddess of Saunas and Rolling Nekkid In The Snow, nudged her in the ribs.
"This cøulð be fun!" she said. "Ås they do in ðe Hublånåð, jeg?"
They trotted out in their sports kit.
"Right, girls!" Said Pedestriana. "Three-mile jog just to warm us up. It snowed during the night, by the way, but only a soft Nellie would worry about that. Let's give it some wellie!"
(1) By coincidence, in the ongoingViz! comic saga of everyday life at Fulchester United Football Club (itself a spoof of the classic soccer cartoon comic Roy of the Rovers), F.U.F.C.'S striker, notably buxom Red Indian squaw Brown Fox is described as "the plucky barefoot Goddess of Football".
(2) Save in faraway isolated Tezuman, where the local variant of the game, played as fast and as furious as any in Ankh-Morpork, required the losing side to be ritually sacrificed to a very demanding local Goddess, who Pedestriana took care to dissociate herself from. The life of a professional footballer in Tezuman is short, consists largely of bowel-knotting terror, and punctuated by moments of relief that he has survived until the following Saturday. At least life insurance salesmen lose interest, though.
(3) The game designer, Peter Upton, originally wanted to call his invention "The Hobby". But a trademark court ruled that this was too general a term to be copyrighted, as in principle everything defined as "a hobby" might then belong to the copyright owner. Mr Upton went away and thought about it. Then he discovered there is a class of birds of prey known as Hobbies, or "hobby-hawks". He then re-applied to register his game using the Latin classification for "The Hobby" , as winged eagle-like bird. Dropping the prefix Falco, the court accepted Subbuteo as a valid trademark. And thus was a legend born.
(4) I have longed for a way of sneaking that into Discworld…. Readers of Shea and Wilson's Illuminatus!will get the reference straight away.
(5) I'm thinking of the Games Workshop's cult board gameBlood Bowl, in which teams of fantasy critters battle it out in a sport of agility, graced, dexterity and sadistic violence not unlike American Football. Any BB player will tell you Orcs are the best, being nearest to American footballers in physical shape, tirelessness, machismo and lack of IQ points.
(6) Really true. This happened in the 500's, when the Eastern Roman Empire was starting to get Byzantine and out of touch with the people, The fans of the two largest chariot teams, the Greens and the Whites, were what in modern days might be called Firms of soccer hooligans who hated each other with all the passion of Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers. (well, this was Constantinople, modern Istanbul. If you prefer, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe). The two Firms of charioteering hooligans ran riot after a particularly dodgy match and it went on for weeks, causing untold damage and loss of life, and the fall of an Emperor. Truly it isn't just about football….
(7) Even though only a few years earlier he had been in the Luftwaffe and had even bombed what would become his club's ground (8), ex German PoW Bert Trautmann was loved by the Manchester City fans of the 1950's. The big German goalie even returned to the goal after treatment for a neck injury, in an FA Cup Final, playing the last ten minutes of the game in pain, not knowing he had a fracture in a neck bone that, if aggravated, could have killed him. City won. Trautmann became a legend.
(8) City fans forgave him for this as, in a spirit of even-handedness, he had bombed arch-rivals Manchester United too, causing a lot more damage to their Old Trafford ground.