Words: Rhys Thomas
Images: Offside Sports Photography

We love the weather, don't we, love talking about the weather. We also love football, and when the ruthless forces of both come together we really, really love that.

Just look at that lad from Oxford there, rising above his man to nut the ball away as the snow falls and his penis shoots up inside himself, and he knows that the landing will feel like hitting concrete.

It's beautiful, in a way. Like watching your favourite film when drunk. Waterlogged pitches, orange balls, muddy socks. Huge scars down the pitch from slide tackles. The wind. The footballers looking like actual humans, worse than humans really; like wet, cold, miserable humans. Like us. Lovely. And the fans who go to watch it, and stay there, in all sorts of weather with their bloody ponchos on, begging to catch hypothermia just so they can tell their mates: I was there. Stupid really. What would their nan say? She'd say well done, up the team, rain or shine.

Here are a just few of our favourites (bad weather games, not nans):

Maccabi Haifa v Dynamo Kiev (2012)

This is a classic, right off You've Been Framed. In a friendly, ahead of Israel's friendly with Ukraine, you can see it coming so far off that we didn't even need to write the article. Keeper has it for a goal kick, takes the punt, and a menacing gust of wind comes at the ball, gives it the natural laces… ball floats back down; keeper is frazzled, misses the bounce. Goal. Outstanding.

Tromsø v Chelsea (1997)

Foreshadowing the shit-storm snowstorm that finds its way through the gates in the second half, huge snowdrifts wait just behind the advertising hoardings like extremely large, bored subs. And then it all goes mad, slide tackles looking like explosions, players tripping left right and everywhere, the ball popping out in all places, causing ridiculous chances, a footballing upset, and one of the most thrilling games of the year. Chelsea lose 3-2.

Kazakhstan League Match (2013)

We have no idea who is playing, except that it's from the Kazakhstan Premier League, and that the video is utter chaos. The ball is floating, the ref is having none of it, almost gives the puddle a yellow, the crowd agree. Get back in your horrible liquid golf bunker, you. The man with the drainage truck is doing less than Pirlo on the front post. Next thing a seriously inventive corner takes place, giving it the chip and volley, it is wonderful seeing innovation on a set piece – one to try down the park with your mates.

Bosnia v Republic of Ireland (2016)

Big game this, a Euro qualifier, but the weather waits for nobody. Basically, nobody can see the ball in this game. This is 22 men, officials, and fans all running around, presumably, if they're even there at all. There are goals sometimes and whistles and stuff. A draw just makes sense, at this point. Nobody had a chance in hell. Should’ve just called it. They didn’t. And we’re glad of it.

Zarya v Volyn (2011)

The music on this video is fantastic. And the actual game is the most relatable of all. It starts on the Friday night, in the arse end of winter, absolutely everyone hunched over their phones waiting for the text: game is off lads, see you in training next week. It doesn’t come. The game is on. You turn up, park right next to a massive puddle, of course. Excellent. Soaking, both teams wearing head to toe grey from the mud, bibs making no difference. The wingers are practically swimming, you can slide tackle someone eighty feet away, everyone misses the bobbling ball and laces a gallon of water at the defender instead. Then the warm shower after it ends 0-0. This is why we love football.

Leicester v Southampton (1983)

Now we're talking! Balding centre-mids in short-shorts making cut-short through balls, slipping over and realising they're prone, spinning around in the waterlogged grass, soaking wet and kicking their legs in vain. In the years before socks, before... standards. The beautiful game.

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