This week’s Cafe Calcio is about women’s football and goes out at 9.00pm this evening on London’s Resonance FM. If you don’t live within their catchment area, though, you can tune in by clicking here and, in addition to this, the show will be repeated tomorrow morning at 11.00am and a podcast version of the show is also available that you can listen to by clicking here. Tonight, the Cafe Calcio art masterclass continues with romanticism, and here is Chris Roberts on the subject.

As Wikipedia tells us, Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the late 18th century – partly as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, as well as the social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment. The movement believed that strong emotion was the true source of aesthetic experience, placing emphasis on trepidation, horror and awe. It elevated folk art and ancient custom to something noble and prized spontaneity as well as embracing the exotic and unfamiliar. The modern sense of a romantic character may be expressed in Byronic ideals of a gifted, perhaps misunderstood loner, creatively following the dictates of his inspiration rather than the mores of contemporary society.

In terms of players and romanticism, we need look no further than the elegant wasters of the 1970s. Mavericks that delighted the crowds, excited the media and infuriated their managers such as George Best, Frank Worthington, Charlie George, Tony Currie or Stan Bowles. Long haired jessies who fitted into the glam rock era perfectly and represented the triumph of the individual and beauty in an age of grimness and violence on as well as off the pitch. They splashed their way through Miss Worlds, guzzled their way through Nebuchadnezzars of champagne and revelled in a full life of the senses.

Whilst these players were huge favourites with the fans, many supporters may associate true romanticism with cup giant-killings, or the success of smaller town sides against more established teams. This, again, may be best exemplified in the 1970s and early 1980s and the domestic and European successes of the likes Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Ipswich Town. The irony here is that, in order to be a romantic team, it was perhaps necessary for these sides not to have too many romantic players in their teams. Fans yearn for an heroic, nobler past when money, agents and the media did not clutter the pure enjoyment of the game yet forget the very real dangers of age they are romanticising much in much the same way that painters, poets and philosophers of Romanticism ignored the grubby reality of past glories.

The poet WB Yeats, though, had clearly watched his team prison sexed by a superior outfit when he penned this:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

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