At first it stemmed from a game where one load of village peasants would attempt to evade another load of peasants in order to deposit a pig's bladder in the opponent's side of the village. Injury and death were not uncommon.
It later settled down into a game where two teams 1 of eleven men would each attempt to get past the opposing team and non-manually deposit a round ball through a vertical rectangular area (called a goal) at the other end of the football pitch. To do this they have to avoid the Goalkeeper, a slightly stupid2 taller-than-average humanoid who wears thick gloves in all weathers and outer clothing whose colours clash violently. When protecting the goal where the opposing supporters are based, the goalkeeper has to dodge coins, darts and toilet rolls. Ironically, however, all this is actually helping the goalie train his reflexes in case of a Penalty Kick 3 .
On each team there are Defenders, Midfielders and Strikers.
The defenders are the last line of defence before the goalkeeper. Because the goalkeeper will shout at them should he fail to save a goal, they usually believe the prudent thing is to get the ball away from themselves as soon as they possibly can.
If this proves tricky, because an opponent still has the ball, they need to utilise all their skills to hack down the other player while looking as innocent as Oliver Twist at a gruel-eating competition.
Once a player is injured, the game is stopped while officials run on to the pitch to administer Magic Spray 4 to the affected part of their body.
The midfielders provide a second row of defence, but also have a responsibility to create chances for the strikers, while keeping one eye open for a chance at goal themselves. The strain of having all these things to think about at once leads many midfielders into alcoholism, kebab abuse or just sort of standing around looking a bit confused.
The strikers form the attacking unit of the team. Their only purpose is to run over to the crowd and make up celebratory mime routines. To this end they have to stick the ball in the back of the net.
It's not easy being a striker; they have to endure extremely high wages, beautiful women, free tickets to expensive events and the worship of small boys.
The footballers all have Agents who try to make the players on their books as unhappy as possible by haggling with their team to get them paid more per week than the GDP of a large African nation.
Some employ increasingly bizarre tactics to get their deals done, involving smoking enormous cigars or (in some cases) by being women.
On each side of the pitch along the horizontal edges run the Linesmen 5.
They are paid a pittance to wave flags at the wrong time in a vain attempt to attract the attention of the Referee who they secretly love.
The referee's job is to be hated by the crowd, be sworn at by the players and to pause the game just when it is starting to flow. He speaks through a small metal tube in the manner of an unimaginative bird.
The ref has two cards with which to impose punishment on players he deems to have committed foul play. The Yellow Card translates as "You really should be more careful, old son" and the Red Card means "Leave my pitch immediately and go and smash up my TV".
In the Dugouts at one side of the pitch towards its centre sit the Coaching Staff and the Manager of each team. Their job is to attempt telekinetically to impose their will on the players by means of abuse, gurning and gesticulation.
Each manager varies in plumage but has to have at least one fatal flaw whether it be over-tanning, mumbo-jumbo beliefs or a tendency to clock-watch.
The Fans or Supporters are the spectators who dress in the manner of their team and turn up every other Saturday of the football season to eat stale pies and help pay for the jewellery of the Chairman's female partner.
The fans usually have such a hard time getting to away matches that they have to start their journey slightly before the end of the previous week's home game.
For cup matches it is nearly impossible to obtain tickets in advance so there are mobs of Touts ready and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice of selling on tickets to fans at a cost of ten times their cover price 6.
The Chairman of a football team is responsible for firing everyone around him and placing large amounts of unearned currency in offshore bank accounts.
While the game is ongoing a bank of Pundits sit in a glass-walled room high above the pitch with their backs to the game and then pretend they have seen it when it’s over.
Most large conurbations have at least two football teams. The team name for one of these is usually 'United' which implies the entire town/city is behind them. This seems strange as the supporters of the other team(s) in the same town usually laugh when the United team lose and cry when they win. An exception to this is Manchester United where everyone who doesn't support them in the entire country despises their victories. Unless it's against the Germans of course.
Although there have been some intelligent goalkeepers, such as the Algerian philosopher Albert Camus, the average intelligence quotient for all goalies is dragged down into subnormality by something known only as The David Icke Constant.
A bizarre form of torture dreamed up by FIFA to enable Germany to beat England.
The exact chemical formula for this spray is kept a closely-guarded secret so as to avoid the whole population of the Earth developing immortality overnight, thus preventing global starvation of Malthusian proportions.
Linesmen are now known as Referee's Assistants by the FA or Dozy Blind ****S by supporters.
Any gross profits touts make is offset by the high ongoing charges they have to pay to recharge their Shields of Invisibility lest the police notice their oh-so-subtle movements.
And it costs a lot for make-up artists to keep a tout looking both ugly and oily at the same time.