In sorting out his affairs my dad had decided to sell his World Cup programme from 1966. At the final he had bumped into Lev Yashin and got him to sign his programme.
So last weekend I touched something that had been touched by Lev Yashin (holder of the Order of Lenin).
Today I find a splendid piece on Norm's blog by Ramachandra Guha, that eulogises the book Football in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano, that mentions Lev Yashin.
Galeano can write as evocatively about the Russian Lev Yashin and the Hungarian Ferenc Puskas as about footballers from Latin America, while James could frankly admit to, and document in detail, his admiration of the extraordinary English cricketer W.G. Grace.As E.M. Forster said "Only connect".
One might say that football has been to Latin America what cricket once was to the West Indies: not just a sport, but the chief vehicle of cultural expression, with the play and the players half-consciously mirroring the dilemmas and aspirations of society as a whole.
Yet Galeano, like James, is no arid sociologist: he is a true lover of his game, steeped in its folklore and deeply knowledgeable about its practice and practitioners. The shelf of books on sport that count as literature is a small one. But on this shelf one finds both Football in Sun and Shadow and Beyond a Boundary, perhaps nesting - as they do in my home - side by side.
Let's leave with a quote from the great Lev Yashin
"What kind of a goalkeeper is the one who is not tormented by the goal he has allowed? He must be tormented! And if he is calm, that means the end. No matter what he had in the past, he has no future."