From our correspondent, George Orwell:
Now that the brief visit of the Dynamo football team has come to an end, it is possible to say publicly what many were thinking privately before the Dynamos ever arrived. That is, that sport is an unfailing cause of ill-will, and that if such a visit as this had any effect at all on Anglo-soviet relations, it could only be to make them slightly worse than before.
Even the newspapers have been unable to conceal the fact that at least two of the four matches played led to much bad feeling. At the Arsenal match, I am told by someone who was there, a British and a Russian player came to blows and the crowd booed the referee. The Glasgow match, someone else informs me, was simply a free-for-all from the start. And then there was the controversy, typical of our nationalist age, about the composition of the Arsenal team. Was it really an all-England team, as claimed by the Russians, or merely a league team, as claimed by the British? And did the Dynamos end their tour abruptly to avoid playing an all-England team? As usual, everyone answers these questions according to his political predilections. Not quite everyone, however. I noted with interest, as an instance of the vicious passions that football provokes, that the sporting correspondent of the russophile News Chronicle took the anti-Russian line and maintained that Arsenal was not an all-England team. No doubt the controversy will continue to echo for years in the footnotes of history books. Meanwhile the result of the Dynamos’ tour, in so far as it has had any result, will have been to create fresh animosity on both sides.
Highlights from the Dynamos’ tour can be downloaded free of charge from here. Commentary from Arsenal’s match with Dynamos was included in one of the recent BBC Radio programmes made to celebrate the 80th anniversary of football commentary – it consists mostly of the commentator admitting that the fog is preventing him from seeing what’s going on.