If Footballers Were Crisps

The following is a paid advertisement from the FFB Podcast feature: Crisp World Cup.


Have you ever looked at a bag of crisps and reckoned that it could curl one into the bottom corner in the 90th minute of a Clasico? FFB Podcast has.

We’re talking flavours, brands and textures. Who could possibly resemble the nobbly texture of a Nik Nak, for instance, or who could supply Ready Salted performances week after week?

Let’s kick things off in the right way: with those who are the best in the world. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi is a lovely fiery packet of Chilli Heatwave Doritos. He stitches play together in a way that a Chilli Doritos packet stitches together a perfect lunch from Subway. If your Xavi and Iniesta are the foot long you’ve ordered in that they’re the backbone of the entire occasion then Messi is the link from them to that needlessly flashy player they always have – Neymar, Thierry Henry and Alexis Sanchez in the past – who, of course, are those beautiful cookies that Subway lure you in with at the counter.

Alternatively, Cristiano Ronaldo is a big share bag… of anything. He tries to carry all the work of a team on his own, there’s no need to fill your lunch with anything else if you’ve got a 300g bag of Bugles crammed into your briefcase when you go to work.

Entering our own British shores, we’re filled with pride from the many British companies that represent us in crisp form. More locally than that, to us anyway, are Seabrook’s. Those special kind of crisps that bob about in corner shops and the odd supermarket up north. There’s a very specific division of the East Midlands that devotes its time to eating Seabrook’s. The King Power Stadium (ironically, former Walkers Stadium but let’s not allow facts to distort this severely rushed article) has the likes of Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy and what better Brexit flavours is there than Cheese & Onion and Prawn Cocktail. Maguire is the Cheese & Onion, for that kick, that power, that big slab of a head he has, Vardy is the Prawn Cocktail. He’s a nuisance. You can’t get rid of him. They sting a bit if you’ve got chapped lips. That sort of thing.

I mentioned texture earlier. Texture’s a big thing in the crisp world and no crisps are polarising in the sense of texture than a good old Nik Nak. These crisps cannot be global on any stage or in any reality. They’re resigned to dark alcoves of cupboards where they likely go out of date, forgotten about. They’re good on the odd occasion (Nice ‘n’ Spicy and Rib ‘n’ Saucy) but downright confusing and taste absolutely wrong (Scampi ‘n’ Lemon). Considering that the duo of Iain Dowie and David Wheater have nobbly heads and fulfill the majority of the aforementioned criteria, they must be chosen as Nik Naks.

Scampi ‘n’ Lemon is a crisp flavour nobody asked for and one that sticks around in your mouth for a long time, even avec toothpaste. So on that vein, I’d like to introduce Salt & Vinegar – the worst crisp flavour on the planet. With having a bad taste in your mouth in mind, I present Jamie Redknapp. Redknapp’s punditry leaves you gagging for the television remote to utilise the overused ‘MUTE’ button upon seeing his golden punditry. Of course, Jamie Redknapp is more of a Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar (probably from M&S, let’s be honest) to the alternative: Chipsticks.

Chipsticks. There’s a packet of crisps that you enjoyed as a child. Here’s a couple more: Space Invaders. Transform-a-Snack. They all have the promise of youth and they’re the best treat you can possibly ask for off your parents round yet another trip to Woolworths after school. Then you go back to them a decade, two decades later and you taste them for what they really are: poor, without foundation and entirely flavourless. Now, in this thinly-veiled analogy I am, of course, discussing misused talent or unfounded potential. So in that thought I’ll offer three players, but feel free to add your own: Ravel Morrison. Adel Taarabt. Freddy Adu. Adu is the king of the unfulfilled talent clique and, as the king of the corner shop crisps, he must be a Space Invader.

Drifting away slightly and to a manager who deserves a special mention. Picture this: it’s February. Your club is going down the pan and are firmly rooted to the relegation places in the Premier League. A couple of days go past, you lose another game under the inevitable return of that caretaker manager you hear about every 18-24 months and then you pick up a newspaper or Twitter and you see ‘ALAN PARDEW’ trending. Your heart sinks. You think of that stupid, stupid fucking dance he did at Wembley, you think of the headbutt on David Meyler, you think of Skips. They have the same effect on you. You buy them because you’ve not got a shred of inspiration and you eat them and this immediate realisation washes over you: shit. I need to go back and get another packet, of a big motivator in a McCoys Flame Grilled Steak or a tactically astute pragmatist in a Wheat Crunchies.

Let’s go from the instant regret of disappointment to the unwavering, unfaltering consistency but in two tiers. Here we have the consistently average and never putting in more than a 5 out of 10 in his life Jay Spearing as a Ready Salted flavour of virtually any crisp. On the other end of the spectrum we have the clincal, deadly, composed finishing of Harry Kane and there’s literally only one TUBE of crisps that you can attribute to the incessant goalscoring of a man in his prime. I am, of course, referring to the Pringles’ old slogan: Once You Pop, You Can’t Stop, which I think is fitting for a man to have claimed the World Cup and Premier League golden boots and is the heir apparent to Alan Shearer’s Premier League goalscoring record.

So go on, nip down to the Tesco Express or the Sainsbury’s Local or the ASDA small version they have on your lunch and think about footballers whilst you eat crisps.

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