Check that, World Table Football Champions. The Guardian’s Rob Smyth notes his country’s triumph over Germany (on penalties!) in the Table Soccer Federation World Championships with a resigned tone (“given that England have lost twice on penalties to Germany in real football, this may be as pyrrhic a victory as stealing somebody’s online lover after he had an affair with your wife but, well, they all count.”)
If the reaction to recent sporting triumphs in this country is anything to go by, then MBEs for the two players, Joe Hamilton (above) and Rob Atha, should be a shoo-in “ well, they did more than Paul Collingwood “ along with an open-top bus ride. There must also be the possibility of appearances on The One Show, Loose Women and The Wright Stuff, romantic links with a Pussycat Doll in the Sun’s Bizarre column, and the obligatory picture of one or both staggering out of Boujis after a losing battle with something abv-related. Hamilton is a kitchen planner by day, which could also lead to dozens of happy children and bemused clients when a Bonzini table rocks up next to the dining table.
The result might even launch a renaissance in table football, a sport previously associated with socially inept and/or borderline-alcoholic men with a strength of wrist that probably shouldn’t be dwelt upon. (There is a reason for this perception.) It actually has a rich cultural tradition, having appeared in heavyweight pieces of art such as Il Postino and, er, House and Friends. And anybody who has ended up with a twisted retina after trying to follow the work of a tricky attacker will know that there is much skill involved.