Week of two halves, but football is the winner

Mark Rice-Oxley
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

It was, as the commentators might have said, a week of two halves. The first half was grim, as Money romped into a 2-0 lead with some pretty cynical tactics, yellow cards galore and the crowd booing from the stands.

But in a stunning second half transformation, Football came roaring back, putting Money in its place with a passionate display to take the match 3-2.

Yes, the biggest Upside of the week was certainly the revolt led by fans to a supreme act of greed by a group of clubs that we might now start to call Big Phootball. The scuffle over the mooted European Super League taught us five things.

A mural showing Juventus president Andrea Agnelli making a hole in a football with a knife.
A mural showing Juventus president Andrea Agnelli puncturing a football with a knife. Juventus was one of three Italian clubs among the founding members of Super League. Photograph: Andrew Medichini/AP

Protest does work. Fans – ordinary people – do have power. Money doesn’t always win. Capitalism does have boundaries. And yes, a second-half fightback is always thrilling to watch (even if there will probably be a return match, at some point).

If you haven’t seen them, three good things from the Guardian this week sum up this episode:

• The full story of how the plan fell apart. Two-minute read
• A nice drop of schadenfreude from Jonathan Liew. Three-minute read
• A jolly cartoon by David Squires. Quick chuckle

If you’d like to hear more, we’re holding a live event on it all next week.
Otherwise, this week we were mildly reassured by:

• A surge in book sales. 90-second read
• The verdict on an important verdict. Half hour podcast
• Turning carbon into useful stuff. Three-minute read
• The happiness guru, on how to feel better. Four-minute read
• The green group who bought a forest to save it. Four-minute read, with added picture goodness
• The deepest carbon reduction yet? Three minute read

Lucky numbers

Business and governments have launched a $1bn fund to protect tropical forests.

Blue-headed Parrots perching on a lone branch.
Saved by the billion... blue-headed parrots Photograph: CheSampson/Alamy

Covid is no longer the leading cause of death in England and Wales. And the first wave and lockdown do not appear to have resulted in higher rates of suicide.

And UK business optimism is rising at its fastest rate for almost 50 years.

What we liked

Los Angeles is to become the largest city to experiment with basic income, according to this Bloomberg report.

The Christian Science Monitor, often a good destination to read about people making a difference, has not one but two worthy pieces this week: the resumption of US aid to Palestinians; and the strong social safety net that Germany has established for its performing artists. Sehr gut!

These top entries for the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards are worth browsing for a few moments. Beautiful.

What we heard

Inbox a little quiet this week. So here’s what we’ll do. A little laughter goes a long way at times like these. So send us a few sentences about something amusing, odd, or funny that has happened to you lately. We will publish the ones that make us lol.

For example … a few weeks ago, I rather furtively dumped a few empty cardboard boxes in a refuse skip sitting in front of a house a few hundred yards down the road.

The next morning they were all back in a pile outside my front door. I’d left the mailing label on one of them. D’oh!

Where was the Upside?

On a small planet far far away, where scientists conducted the first powered, controlled flight on Mars.

In this image made available by NASA, the Mars Ingenuity helicopter hovers above the surface of the planet.
In this image made available by NASA, the Mars Ingenuity helicopter hovers above the surface of the planet. Photograph: AP

Thanks for reading. Do sign up to this weekly email if you haven’t already. Oh, and don’t forget to tell us about a funny thing that happened to you.