Jack The Lad: Swans and science

6th September 2017

Premier League action is back on the agenda this weekend with supporter-turned-blogger Jack The Lad discusses the Swans, science and Sunday's opponents.

This weekend, as well as hosting Newcastle United on Sunday, Swansea will be hosting a science festival at the city’s Waterfront Museum.

This started me thinking about the connection between science and football.

There’s been plenty of scientific research into player performance, kits, balls, pitches, etc, but I have come up with a few questions of my own to put to the boffins gathering in the city this weekend.

The first one not only involves science, but also the supporters of Sunday afternoon’s visitors.

How does a Newcastle United supporter placed in sub-zero temperatures with absolutely no external insulation on the upper half of his body (ie, a football shirt) survive 90 minutes of football without transforming from a living, breathing human being into an ice cube?

Conversely, how is it that I can be placed into exactly the same environment, wearing half the contents of my wardrobe and sock draw, and still lose the feeling in my fingers and toes?

Is there something we need to know about the insulating properties of Newcastle Brown?

It’s not as if I’m unfamiliar with the cold. I have lived, played and watched football for many years in the upper reaches of the Amman Valley where the wind blows so hard I once saw a goal kick blown back over the taker’s head for a corner.

Which brings me to my second question: Why was it that the ball only ever seemed to be volleyed from close range into my face or the exposed flesh of my upper inner thighs on particularly arctic-like afternoons?

And why did the stinging and redness seem to last longer than even the most venomous bee or wasp sting, even when doused in icy cold water from the “magic sponge”?

These are the questions the science festival should be tackling.

Another thing . . . why is it that when I splash out umpteen million on an in-form striker for my fantasy football team, he’s either instantly injured or suddenly can’t hit a barn door with a banjo?

And why is it that when fixtures change for TV purposes, it never works in my favour? It always means that a game is moved to a date I can’t make rather than moving from a date when I can’t attend to one that I can!

I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the above has nothing to do with science and everything to do with my misfortune.

I wonder when Swansea will stage a Bad Luck Festival? I could make an expert contribution to that one.

Anyway, in the spirit of this weekend’s Swansea University-backed science event, I’m going to try a little experiment of my own the next time the thermometer dips below zero on matchday.

Instead of externally insulating myself with several layers of knitwear, I’ll internally insulate myself with several pints of Newcastle Brown. I’ll report my findings to next year’s festival.

You never know, I might even earn myself a research scholarship. Stranger things really have happened!

C’mon you Swans!