The astute reader may have noticed my penchant for the classical allusion. In fact, I did once have a vigorous argument with my then boss (while she was giving me a lift home) about the importance of being taught classics at school. She (a distinguished professor of education) was against it, I (a lapsed mathematician) was for it – I rather fear that I may not have won that particular round.
Against this background, I take a positive view of today’s news that a pub landlady in Portsmouth has won the (at least provisional) right to show games of English association football which come to her from Greece (via satellite, rather than delivered by trireme). This right had been disputed by Sky who seemed keen to charge her rather more to show the same bunch of 22 men running around after a ball – but, to be honest, I think the Greeks have greater need of her money.
I presume that this could, to coin a cliché, open the floodgates and across the land pub-based footie fans will be obtaining their “fix” direct from Greece. I am given to understand that much of the joy of such games is the “atmosphere” at the stadium, and so presume that the games will be enjoyed with the sound up. This will mean that a whole new audience will be exposed to the Greek language – albeit both modern and demotic (and perhaps with relatively limited vocabulary, though I will admit to being no expert on the esoteric art of football commentary – or, for that matter, the offside rule).
Surely, though it cannot be long before followers of the blues or greens (or was that Rome?) or whomever will want to put their growing knowledge of the language to greater use. I eagerly anticipate talkSPORT phone-ins (or should that be phones-in?) comprising angry clashes about the role of the Gods in Homer or about Athenian tactics in Thucydides. I can almost hear Alan Hansen’s damning indictment of the “terrible defending” of the Trojans on Match of the Day (bad enough letting a ball through, but a giant wooden horse?)