Thank you for your thoughtful response! The current soccer situation hadn't occurred to me, but you're right there is a mood a of the 'ghost games' about it! There's an obscure origin to this image - it started out a s a tribute to Chris Sievey, the genius inside Frank Sidebottom. Probably an obscure reference outside of the UK, and I decided not to refer to it in the title. But more generally, as you say it's about distant goals, and the positions we end up trapped in.