Get in there son! This is the moment that I forgave Wayne Rooney for all his wingeing sins over the summer as he scored the first goal against Poland last night. What a great game it was too; I never thought I’d admit again to watching England and really enjoy the manner in which they played. Terrific stuff. Instead of trying to play slow possession football like Spain and failing miserably, we’ve actually re-discovered how to play like England again. Pace down the wings, lots of passion, strong and skilful forwards, balanced midfield, lots of tempo and yes mistakes too but only because we were pressing hard up the pitch. Credit to the manager too; I also thought Hodgson got his team selections just right in the last two matches. I never thought I’d say this either but well done Roy. All that pre-match nonsense about the insanity of selling 20,000 tickets to the Polish fans and handing them an advantage was just a load of baloney. Wembley for once sounded great with tremendous atmosphere which seemed to inspire the players. And now we can look forward to watching the playoffs without trepidation. I shall enjoy seeing Ronaldo and Benzema playing with fear in their eyes that they might miss out on the greatest venue for a World Cup finals. I hear the FA have already got the hotel booked in Rio. Wey hey. I”m not going to get all giddy about England’s chances but, if this team keeps fit, for once we can enjoy the challenge that lies ahead methinks. I’m not sure anyone will fancy having a resurgent England in their Group, well except Spain, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and….argh bugger it, bring them on! If all else fails we’ve always got Rickie Lambert. Remember when he used to lead the England line?
Well, as matches go that was a nerve-jangling belter today. England beat mighty Slovenia 1-0 thanks to a goal from deadly Defoe but ooh it could have gone agonisingly wrong if the leader of the failed palazzo coup, ‘modest’ John Terry, hadn’t shown that he had the right stuff after all and defended as if his life depended on it. Look at that action shot above of JT pulling off the rarely seen sliding head tackle. Continue reading →
This time I thought it would be interesting to listen in on an interview between Alan Green, the highly opinionated football commentator (‘disgusted’ of N Ireland) who comments on everything under the sun bar the actual game he’s watching and Steve MCClaren, prize tosspot, luckiest man alive and newly-appointed manager of FC Twente, following his sacking and £2.5m pay-off from the FA after his hopeless tenure as England’s worst ever manager and recent lucrative media career as ‘expert’ pundit for the BBC at the Euro 2008 tournament.
So Man City finally sack Sven GE as their manager yesterday. Sven, of course, once accepted the job of managing Blackburn Rovers before giving back word. Now Man City are chasing Mark Hughes the current Blackburn manager, who once played for Chelsea. Chelsea once interviewed Sven GE for their manager’s job before giving it to Jose Mourinho, who surfaced yesterday as the new manager of Inter Milan, having sacked Roberto Mancini the other day. Mancini is one of the candidates for the Chelsea job which became vacant following the departure of Avram Grant, who is one of the candidates for the Man City job. So too is Big Phil Scolari, the current manager of the Portuguese national side, but Phil is also being chased by Chelsea. If he cannot be prised away then Chelsea may well plump for the afore-mentioned Hughes. Sven GE is unlikley to return to Blackburn and will probably take up a role with the Mexican national side. Blackburn may therefore go for Sam Allardyce who used to manage rivals Bolton before he moved to a bigger job at Newcastle from whence he got sacked earlier this season. The Newcastle job was probably the one that ought to have been offered to Sven GE but they’ve now appointed Kevin Keegan, who’s done the job previously. That was before he went to Man City who finally sacked Sven GE as their manager yesterday…..
I heard a quirky little news item on the radio (online) tonight which made me a little nostalgic for the UK. The leader of Blackpool Town council, Christopher Thistlethwaite (actually that wasn’t his name, it was the name of a class friend at school but it sounds very Lancastrian), has just issued a civic decree renouncing the 44-year ban placed by the Town Fathers on the Rolling Stones preventing them from performing in the town. Eh?
Well an interesting day in the 6 Nations yesterday. After trouncing Italy, Wales roll on towards a possible Grand Slam. It’s not going to happen again is it? That match again Ireland will be tough, especially because the Irish seem to have found their form following up their storming second half against France with a comprehensive win against Scotland yesterday. The Scots are looking poor this year – they found a try at least yesterday but it could be a lonely soul in the season. I blame their shirts. Ever since they’ve been wearing these barbeque shirts, they’ve played like king prawns –
The Irish one is as bad – a real horror of pea and avocado greens:
Anyway the key point of this posting is to write favourably about England’s performance away to France yesterday. Thankfully the team have stopped Steve McClaren from doing the half-time team talk and they turned in a second half effort to match the first half performance. If only they’d done the same thing against Wales who they absolutely pasted in that first 40 minutes, it would be they looking at a potential Grand Slam now. Ah well.
It’s not been a classic tournament but it’s turning into a good 6 Nations with 4 of the teams aiming and fully capable of winning it. I can’t wait for the next round now.
So Fabio Capello is the new manager of England. I know there’s a lot of gnashing of teeth that it’s not an Englishman but come on is there really a better home-grown candidate out there? There were good shouts for Coppell and Redknapp but neither of them can show a CV which comes anywhere near to Capello’s. Then again Coppell didn’t want it and though Redknapp did, the recent incidents with the fraud squad made him untouchable so far as the FA is concerned. O’Neill is the best qualified home grown manager (of those who might have wanted the job but aren’t discounted by having done it before) by a mile but he’d been burned by the FA’s cack-handedness last time around and had no intention of dancing to their tune this time.