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Short summer in FInland

Norwich - Crystal Palace 3-1
Crystal Palace (res) - Colchester 1-1
Crystal Palace - Grimsby 2-0

It has been raining on me whole season. Injuries just keeps pouring on. I have still been struggeling with a mysterious calf injury that has prevented me training for past few weeks. Now I am starting to be fit and I would really need some sunshine for a change.

But what can I do when the summer in England is very beautiful but quite short! This year it was Wednesday. However there was no game of football at that Wednesday because English people don’t play football at summers. On the other hand we played a game at rainy, cold and muddy last Saturday against Norwich.

By one definition football is an outside sport played on a firm grass pitch. So obviously it makes sense to play it at every other season than summer. Yeahright, seems like English culture is a bit masochistic since the meaning of sport here involves rather to get dirty and exhausted than to play when the conditions are best for the game.

English people like particularly to talk about two things, football and weather. Both of them in here are as unpredictable as Crystal Palace. There is lot of unexpected sun and rain and you never know from where the wind is going to blow. It would be gambling at any given day to leave from home without an umbrella or to bet for any beforehand obvious result.

Weather has four main effects to a game. First of all it creates more laundry. That is dirty but not so dangerous though. More worrying is weathers effect on players’ mental state. Many times it is not just storming outside but also inside players’ head. The weather has also its marks on the condition of the pitch. It can make the pitch an arena anything from the mud-path to an ice-skating track or a swimming pool. And finally the physical requirements of the game changes with the weather conditions. So overall it almost seems like weather is playing as big of a role as any skills and tactics.

Obviously weather forecast can’t decide the winner of the game, but it sets some question marks into many things. Not always the best footballing team will win the championship because winter months conditions don’t always allow all the skills and finesses, and all this will make the game bit raw and unpredictable. There is often this odd bounce that can make the result. The weaker and more physical team benefits most from the bad conditions. That is how it goes: if you play Grimsby at home you hope the weather and the pitch to be perfect but you will pray for a snow if you were to play against Arsenal at Highbury.

The most talented players are good at optimal conditions. The best players are capable to play good in every condition. Lets face it: it is not often optimal conditions in English football. As soon as it starts pouring rain with a heavy north wind the game changes as well. You have to adjust with it; but not everybody can. You fancy rather having a hard-boiled Scottish bulldozer than melodramatic skinny Italian on your side in a muddy winter evening.

Actually if you think of it, there should be specialists for each weather conditions. The Rainman would be the Daddy at the slippery pitch, dancing around slipping players. On a hot day it would be wiser to use warm-blooded South American players than stone-cold Finns. Not to mention to have a specialist to get you going when it is windy. So why not train once a week by putting players with they full kit on into a shower room or have a heavy smoker in the team just in the possible case of a fog.

Half of the football season is been played in unreliable weather conditions, so it is important to save something for the rainy day. Bad weather increases physical requirements and it all starts from the mental state. It isn’t always the perfect sunny day at Wembley and you got to get the result at chilly Stockport as well. On a dark and cold December afternoon it makes you think that sometimes it would be easier to work in a Barcley’s bank in Croydon instead of running around on your shorts and t-shirt at the icy pitch. It takes talent to take you somewhere but it takes character to keep you there.

Weather is an issue for players but also for people on the stands. Even the hard-core fans must be sometimes tempted to stay at home watching Eastenders instead of dragging themselves boldly into a freezing stadium week in week out, not to mention travelling to away games. After all even the best game, hot dog and a coffee can’t warm you up if your nose hair is frozen. On the other hand a beautiful day makes you usually happier and as a result of that the same game of football will instantly look better into your eyes. The set-up, in which weather is playing an important role, makes part of the atmosphere and enjoyment of the game.

A wise man once said:” Conditions don’t make the people, people make the conditions.” I am not that wise but it doesn’t need a rocket-scientist to realise that even though the weather has always been like a rat in England still the conditions have been improving. Clubs are using a lot of time and money to keep the pitch and stadium in good condition. Most of the grounds have a heating underneath the pitch and the stands. That has helped to make the game become better and look better. Obviously no grounds-man is more powerful than the almighty Master of the weather, but overall the better conditions have increased the level of the game.

Weather is important. It can make the game different, even dangerous. Lot more injuries will happen on winter months, and many times the dodgy weather and conditions are the trigger. However bad weather also has a crucial positive role for players. It gives you a lot of excuses. It is easier to say that I had sun in my eyes or I slipped than to admit the fact that I am actually quite incapable of doing lot of things. Weather has saved many faces indeed. The golden rule is: if nothing else works, blame the weather.

It is about that time again when the weather starts to show its power over football. There will be postponed games. There will odd bounces from the bad pitch to decide the games. Players will be soaking in the rain and mud and getting dirtier than Christina Aguilera. There will happen more injuries, surprises and amusing scenes to laugh at. The icy ball will hurt your freezing nose again.

So here I am moaning about the weather. But when you think of it, this all means that I have only become spoiled during the years. I can’t believe that I am now complaining about small showers, when I used to train every year three months in a snow. I am after all from the deep frozen country Finland. You have no idea how much it hurts to kick a ball when your feet are frozen to your boots and you are breathing ice-sticks. In Finland we are definitely playing on that sole sunny Wednesday.

This time I recommend:

1. Not believing weather forecasts
- It is only a guess here in England -

2. NLP
- Very powerful tool of changing almost anything in your life by thought -

3. Café Rouge
- Good variations of dishes -

I do not recommend:

1. Christina Aguilera
- Not just dirty but also absolutely below the average -

2. Moaning about weather
- It is the same sun and rain for all -

3. Summer in England or winter in Finland
- Both are seasons with only a little hope from weather forecast -


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