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‘No, they wouldn’t’

In the year 1540, even though King Henry VIII owned a pair of football boots worth £100 in today’s money, he banned the game of football – or ‘fotebale’ as he spelt it.  The big-bellied beardie was too busy ‘chopping and changing’ his wives to learn to read and write to a decent standard.

He banned ‘fotebale’ because gangs of boisterous lads kicking a ball around narrow Tudor streets often led to outbursts of violence and sometimes erupted into riots.  As they say, there’s nothing new under the sun…

Although the ban was only temporary, this was quite a significant moment in history, being the first recorded case of …“Reign stopping play!”

I only mention this in the hope it might amuse some readers and bring a tiny glimmer of a smile to those amongst you who rarely see humour in anything.

No names – you know who you are.

Being an historical moment, it loosely connects with something that’s irritated me for some time – and I don’t mean the rash on the back of my neck.

Last Friday, October the 9th, John Lennon would have been 80.

Sadly, because of what happened outside his New York apartment on December 8, 1980, we’ll never know what great songs he might have gone on to write and record or what amazing musical collaborations we were deprived of.

So, what is it that I find irritating?

Well, while it’s quite legitimate for me to say John Lennon would have been 80 last week, I find it ridiculous when radio and TV presenters announce that particular day is the birth date of a famous person who’d died many years ago so “Had they lived” they would have been 150, 175 or even 200!

Whenever I hear that nonsense, I want to shout at the radio or TV “No, they wouldn’t, you stupid person!

Because nobody ever lives to be that old!”

I’m so glad I got that off my chest.

Incidentally, my research revealed that ‘fotebale’ banning Henry VIII was born on June the 28th in 1491.  So next year, had he lived, he’ll be 530…

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