January 07, 2007

Aide-memoire

Here's something that requires a little explanation.

I was browsing: browsing through the Observer's list of fifty heartbreaking moments in the history of sport. I remember some of them: I remember number 28 particularly, the French Cup Final, in 2000, between Nantes and Calais.

I remember little enough about the match, save that it took place, the result, and the fact that I watched it on television. There is a reason why I should remember this: I nearly died that day, or in the morning after, and watching that match, in the evening, is the last clear memory I have, perhaps the last entirely reliable memory I have for that whole month, since the next three or four weeks are all but lost to me. For that reason, I am sure of the date: the match took place on the seventh of May. Which made the piece, by Julie Welch, a little puzzling, requiring a little explanation. It claims that the match took place on the ninth.

So I Googled a little, and searched a little, and after a while came up with a match report from John Lichfield of the Independent, which confirmed, in its second paragraph, that the match took place on a Sunday night - which, as I had thought, fell on the seventh. An odd mistake, but not important: it was only because of the coincidence, because of old memory revived, that I had noticed it in the first place.

But, having located the match report, I read on - and I got a second sense of coincidence. Here's how Welch had described the late, extra-time penalty and winning goal:
Then Nantes's substitute striker, Alain Caveglia, got loose inside the box. Three times Calais's centre-back Fabrice Baron blocked him with clumsy lunges. At the third tackle, Caveglia flung himself optimistically forward and the referee pointed to the spot. Sibierski's spot-kick hit goalkeeper Cedric Schille on the knee and bounced into the roof of the net.
Whereas, reading the Independent's more contemporaneous report, it was described a little differently. A little, but not too much:
As the game meandered towards extra time, with the Nantes players looking increasingly jittery, their substitute striker, Alain Caveglia, got loose inside the box. The Calais central defender Fabrice Baron, a youth worker by trade, made three clumsy attempts to tackle him, all of which looked possible penalties.

At the third tackle, Caveglia flung himself theatrically forward. The referee, Mr Colombo, pointed to the spot - a courageous decision in the circumstances, with the whole nation, outside Nantes, supporting Calais. Even Caveglia said afterwards that "to be frank" he could not be sure it was a penalty, although he felt that he was fouled at least once.

Sibierski's spot-kick hit the Calais goalkeeper Cedric Schille on the right knee and bounced into the roof of the net. The dream was over, although Calais missed a good chance to equalise in injury time
.
Got loose inside the box. That phrase of Welch's sounds familiar: Lichfield wrote got loose inside the box as well. He wrote Fabrice Baron, a youth worker by trade, made three clumsy attempts to tackle him: Welch has three times Calais's centre-back Fabrice Baron blocked him with clumsy lunges, which omits Lichfield's reference to Monsieur Baron's occupation, but otherwise retains his use of clumsy.

Lichfield describes the outcome of the clumsy challenges: at the third tackle, Caveglia flung himself theatrically forward: Welch has at the third tackle, Caveglia flung himself optimistically forward, varying only in the adverb and in no other way. Much the same can be said of her description of the penalty: Sibierski's spot-kick hit goalkeeper Cedric Schille on the knee and bounced into the roof of the net. Lichfield wrote: Sibierski's spot-kick hit the Calais goalkeeper Cedric Schille on the right knee and bounced into the roof of the net, reminding us of Schille's team and specifying which knee the penalty hit, but otherwise identical to the sentence later "written" by Julie Welch.

Perhaps this may help us understand the mistake in the date: because the original Independent piece appeared on the ninth of May 2000, two days after the game was played. If you copy in haste, you may not always spot that kind of thing.

4 Comments:

At January 09, 2007 10:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear EJH, Just came across this fascinating blog. 'Defrogged librarian'? That sounds vaguely familar. I defrogged myself from IC , in Summer 2005. Shall we start a group of defrogged librarians? Cheers, sleuthmedical@yahoo.com

 
At January 20, 2007 4:30 am, Anonymous Ian said...

Contact Private Eye, claim your five pounds: they're running this story somewhat later than you...

 
At January 20, 2007 1:08 pm, Blogger ejh said...

If they are it's probably because I forwarded it to them! I'd appreciate more information, actually, as my copy hasn't yet arrived (and may never do as the Spanish postal system is less than perfect...)

 
At January 20, 2007 11:11 pm, Anonymous Ian said...

Not much more to add, really. It's a box like they have for things like "Just Fancy That", although in this case they have entitled it "Great minds..." and have a paragraph made up of the phrases that recur in each writer's piece. As usual, there is no further explicit comment.

I rather suspect Ms. Welch has had cause to contemplate the nature of coincidence herself, recently.

 

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