View Full Version : Rules Of The Game

31st Mar 2004, 07:49


Matches shall be played over three unequal periods: two playtimes and
Each of these periods shall begin shortly after the ringing of a bell, and
although a bell is also rung towards the end of these periods,
play may continue for up to ten minutes afterwards, depending on the
"bottle" of the participants.

There is a sliding scale from those who hasten to stand in line as soon as
the bell rings, known as "poofs", through those who will hang on
until the time they estimate it takes the teachers to down the last of their
G & T's and journey from the staff room, known as "chancers",
and finally to those who will hang on until a teacher actually has to
physically retrieve them, known as "nutters".

It is important, in picking the sides, to achieve a fair balance of poofs,
chancers and nutters in order that the scoreline achieved over a
sustained period of play is not totally nullified by a five-minute post-bell
onslaught of five nutters against one.

The scoreline to be carried over from the previous period of the match is in
the trust of the last nutters to leave the field of play.


The object is to force the ball between two large, unkempt piles of jackets,
in lieu of goalposts.
These piles may grow or shrink throughout the match, depending on the number
of participants and the prevailing weather.
It is important that the sleeve of one of the jackets should jut out across
the goalmouth, as it will often be claimed that the ball
went "over the post" and is thus disallowed.

In the absence of a crossbar, the upper limit of the target area is observed
as being slightly above head height,
regardless of the height of the keeper.

The width of the pitch is variable. In the absence of roads, water hazards
etc, the width is determined by how far out the attacking winger
has to go before the pursuing defender gives up.

At free kicks, the scale of the pitch justifies placing a wall of players
eighteen inches from the ball.
It is the formal response to "yards", which the kick-taker will incant
meaninglessly as he places the ball.


Playground football tactics are best explained in terms of team formation.
Whereas senior sides tend to choose - according to circumstance - from e.g.
4-4-2, 4-3-3, 5-3-2, the playground side is usually more
rigid in sticking to the all-purpose 1-1-17 formation.


Much stoppage time in the senior game is down to injured players requiring
treatment on the field of play.
The playground game flows more freely, with play continuing around or even
on top of a participant who has fallen - or more likely been pushed - over.

Other stoppages :

1. Ball on school roof or over school wall.
The retrieval time itself is negligible in these cases. The stoppage is most prolonged by the argument to decide which player must risk life, limb or six of the best to scale the drainpipe or negotiate the barbed wire in order to return to play.
Disputes usually arise between the player who actually struck ball and any others he claims it may have struck before disappearing into forbidden territory.

2. Bigger boys steal the ball.
The intruders will seldom actually steal the ball, but will improvise their own kickabout amongst themselves, occasionally inviting the younger players to attempt to tackle them. Standing around looking bored and unimpressed usually results in a quick restart.

3. Menopausal old bag confiscates ball.
More of a threat in the street or local green kickabout than within the school walls. Sad, blue-rinsed, ill-tempered, Tory-voting cat-owner transfers her anger about the array of failures that has been her life to nine-year-olds who have committed the heinous crime of letting their ball cross her privet Line of Death. Interruption (loss of ball) is predicted to last "until you learn how to play with it properly".


Goal-scorers are entitled to a maximum run of thirty yards with their hands in the air, but making it 34-12 does not entitle the player to drop to his knees and make the sign of the cross.

A fabulous solo dismantling of the defence or 25-yard rocket (actually eight yards, but calculated as relative distance because
"it's not a full-size pitch") will elicit applause and back-pats from the entire team and the more magnanimous of the opponents.
However, a tap-in in the midst of a chaotic scramble will be heralded with the epithet "****ing poacher" from the opposing defence. "****ing goal-hanger" is the preferred alternative. Applying an unnecessary final touch when a ball is already rolling into the goal will elicit a burst nose from the original striker. Kneeling down to head the ball over the line when defence and keeper are already beaten will elicit a thoroughly deserved kicking.


At senior level, each side often has one appointed penalty-taker, who will defer to a team-mate in special circumstances,
such as his requiring one more for a hat trick. In the playground the best player usually takes the penalties but he may defer to the 'best fighter' or if the side is comfortably in front, the ball-owner may be invited to take a penalty.

Goalkeepers are often the subject of temporary substitutions at penalties.


This is known also as the Summer Holidays, when the players dabble briefly in other sports: tennis for a fortnight while Wimbledon is on the telly; pitch-and-putt for four days during the Open; and cricket for about an hour and a half until they reckon it really is as boring playing as it is to watch.

4th Apr 2004, 12:03
Aaah, jumpers for goalposts. Marvellous!