For The Set Pieces, Will Green wrote a piece on three Yorkshire football clubs (Scarborough Athletic, FC Halifax Town, and North Ferriby) who had fallen from grace due to financial instability:
Football doesn’t really do finality. There’s always another match, another season, as David Mitchell surmised when he screeched “the football will never stop” in the famous Mitchell and Webb sketch. Clubs going bust is one of the few lines you can draw, though – a sign that something has irrevocably changed.
Yet Scarborough, Halifax and North Ferriby are doing their best to combat that. With fan-led engagement and an embracing of their roots, all three demonstrate that committed supporters can overcome poor administration. It’s a message that’s relevant across the football pyramid.
That first line about football’s asymptotic relationship with finality reminded me of an essay written by Jon Mackenzie:
There can be no ‘end of history’ for football, then, precisely because football is not teleological—aimed towards a particular end—but dialectic—structured around two opposites which are antagonistic to one another. There is no resolution into a higher synthesis here, only a never-ending opposition which will endlessly generate new possibilities. If the history of football teaches us anything, it teaches us that the search for its final telos is unproductive. For it is precisely the oppositional nature of the game that propels the history of football. As soon as a hegemony is achieved, those teams at periphery begin their machinations, plotting the downfall of the dominant sides by frustrating them in their attempts to play. Success can only end in greater opposition. The circle continues. In the end, therefore, football will have no end. Long live the beautiful game.