I was just going through some old newspaper clippings I have and came across this article in the TDN from the mid 90s written by someone called Noddy. A very interesting piece it is too. I reprint it in full.
For some time now rumours have been rife in the world of football that the game's governing body, FIFA, has been considering sweeping rule changes. This week, the weighty deliberations of the game's mental giants have finally resulted in action. FIFA has announced, after much consideration, the rule change that will take the world's favourite sport into the 21st century. And a bold, radical change it is too. Linesmen will, in future, be known as assistant referees.
There can be little doubt that this dramatic step will utterly transform the international state of soccer. For it is clear that the game is in trouble, and radical change was necessary. After all, if the game was any good in its present form, why is it not more popular in America? Soccer clearly has some catching up to do if it is to equal the worldwide appeal of baseball and American Football.
FIFA announced that it had considered enlarging the size of the goals, but rejected this change after it became clear that nobody, anywhere, wanted it. How narrow minded! How blinkered! This idea was clearly intended to produce higher scorelines; as Noddy's readers no doubt know, it is not uncommon for American Football teams to score 20, 30, 40 points. This must therefore be a good thing.
What has not until now been common knowledge is that FIFA spent much of its time debating a highly secret set of proposals submitted by the little nodding man himself. The time has come to reveal to a wider public Noddy's revolutionary package for the transformation of soccer.
1) Two balls! Twice the action, twice the excitement. No more waiting around for the ball to be returned from the crowd. And, to make the most of the extra goal chances that would inevitably arise:
2) Three goals! Yes, the game should be played on a triangular pitch with a goal on each side. Imagine the thrills! Spectators would hardly know where to look, so much exciting action will be swirling around the pitch -- especially sinch each match would be contested by:
3) Four teams! Perhaps playing under some kind of tag system, perhaps all hurled into action at the same time in one huge, festive feast of football.
4) Linesmen will, in future, be known as "sir".
5) Anyway, isn't there somewhat demeaning about players being obliged to kick the ball all the time? Why shouldn't they be allowed to pick it up and throw it?
6) And why should it be round anyway? This makes it harder to get a grip on. Why not a kind of ovoid shape?
These daring proposals were clearly too drastic for the greybeards and fuddy-duddies at FIFA to stomach. The world of football is the poorer for this craven refusal to face realities.
Keep watching though, people thought Noddy mad when he suggested the six-ball over and the use of pyjamas as a way to get bums on seats for cricket. The five-point try in rugby union was originally tested on the fields of Toytown and Noddy's suggestion that basketball games be reduced to the final 10 minutes is still being given serious consideration.
Wake up FIFA it's almost the 21st century.