Sunday, October 03, 2004

The Guardian parodies itself in its sports pages (what else is new?)

Newcastle United fly out of Israel this morning having negotiated safe passage in a country where the phrase has connotations far beyond football.

On a day of extensive bloodshed 70 miles south of Tel Aviv, the Uefa Cup was of diminished importance, even to the minor miracle that is Bnei Sakhnin, but Newcastle still had a job to do.


As for Sakhnin, they and their 12,000 fans go back to the hills of Galilee and a life framed by violence. With no stadium and no money, theirs was a romantic tale of over-achievement, though the claims to Sakhnin demonstrating the power of Arab-Jew co-operation were left looking weak when the news came through shortly before kick-off that the Israeli military had killed 28 Palestinians near Gaza City.

The atmosphere was subdued and any chance that it might be aroused by Sakhnin staging one of the great upsets was removed when Kluivert collected a lovely back-heel from Jermaine Jenas and side-footed in the first.

I’m sure Guardian-reading sports fans (an oxymoron?) are very grateful for this highly politicized report of an international soccer game.

Scroll down to the photos of little Dorit and Yuval for balance.