They’re going home…

England 2014 World Cup Home Kit (3)

Well here’s the official England football shirt showing the single star for our sole World Cup win way back when I was just a young lad. And the FA aren’t going to be adding any more stars following our exit from the excellent 2014 World Cup. Still we did last 8 days at the tournament before getting eliminated. Sigh. Only two things make me happy thinking about this; the thought of Colleen having to re-pack those 15 cases and knowing that the extended holiday for the 70 people – that’s right seventy! – who made up the FA’s official tour party will shortly be over. At least we didn’t lose on penalties I suppose.

Now who’s your favourite for the World Cup? It would be nice to see a new name on the trophy I reckon – Chile perhaps? Then they too can enjoy decades of hurt waiting for the second one to arrive.  It’s nice to share.

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Why do we bother, Fawlty?

It’s one of the classic lines from Fawlty Towers uttered by the hotel’s oldest client and Basil’s dead-pan response, ‘I didn’t know you did Major’ was one of the all-time great put downs. It’s an exchange that puts me in mind of the situation involving the England team’s training regime in preparation for the World Cup. You see Roy and the boys are busy doing their squat thrusts at a training camp down in exclusive Vale do Lobo on the Algarve. I’m sure it’s great fun but why are they there rather than at the National Football Centre in Burton, a purpose-designed facility costing some £120m, which was built to be the base for England team get togethers? Ah you’ll reply, it’s to give the team some warm weather preparation before the lads hit the steamy heat of Manaus in Brazil. But it’s no big secret that the Algarve in late spring, delightful as it is, tends to be cool and blustery as yesterday’s high temperature of 15° indicates. So Roy’s had the lads playing in jumpers and extra layers to get them sweating up a bit. Of course he has. And I wonder how much the 50-man jaunt to Portugal has cost, whilst the FA’s own facilities (bathed in a mini heatwave a few days ago) stand empty and unloved?

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Is it just me or has top level football completely lost all sense of value and proportion? As the Major may have put it ‘Just what is the point of St George’s Park, Fawlty?’ Answers on a post card to the FA Chairman Greg Dyke.

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A boorish, bungling freeloader…

Oh dear it’s not a very flattering description is it, but there’s more. The comments on this particular person were released this week by members of the diplomatic service via WikiLeaks and the Daily Mail. We learn that the person was described as ‘cocky’ and ‘rude’ by a U.S. ambassador as he carried out his duties as Britain’s special trade representative to the Middle East. Colleagues put this behaviour down to an inferiority complex about being mentally challenged – something of a family trait. This may be a slight exaggeration, but his attitude certainly drew attention to the fact that he was invariably out of his depth at meetings.

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Basta!

It’s one of the first words you learn in Italy; something every shopkeeper asks you. It means ‘Is that everything?’ or more simply, ‘Enough?’ And I think Capello has shown in the brevity of his meeting with the unapologetic and graceless Terry that he’d had enough of his tenure as captain. Rightly in my view Capello has said that the role is as much to do with what you do off the field as well as on it. And he acted decisively in correcting the decision he’d made two years ago. I have to say that the more I see of Capello the more I like him. He’s dour and stern-looking but he sure knows how to deal with these pampered charmless nitwits. Could you imagine Steve McClaren striking fear in the hearts of his players? Nah. But I bet you very few of them will want to cross Il Capo. Bravo!

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cap’n rio

What do you make of the appointment of Rio Ferdinand as England’s captain for tonight’s match against France? For one thing it shows yet again that Capello is his own boss. I admire the fact he’s dropped Terry from the role because he didn’t think his recent haranguing of the referee was appropriate behaviour for an England captain. It doesn’t necessarily mean Terry’s forever out of favour; as with Beckham’s re-selection for this squad (and after being dropped at Real) he’s prepared to be forgiving and pragmatic once the players have learned their lesson. It’s a bit schoolmasterish but hey, after the indulgence by Sven GE and the faux mateyness of Quiff McClaren, it’s exactly what these over-paid, self-absorbed and irresponsible footballers need. I don’t think anyone’s going to cross this guy lightly.

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no way FA – say jose

So after acting like a prick-tease for the last two weeks Jose Mourinho has finally confirmed that he doesn’t fancy a fling with the FA. Only after a lot of heart-searching you understand. Do me favour Jose, we all know you’ve been flirting like crazy with a big European club since leaving Chelsea and now they’ve taken the bait. It can’t be long before you ‘re in bed with them. Who’s the lucky one to get the special one? Well the talk in the sports bars is that it’s down on their luck AC Milan but I’ve been advocating the real deal Real Madrid for months (see my premonition about his sacking in the posting ‘Forecasting’, 21 Sept). So we’ll see eh! Continue reading

Harry’s game

Well I know ‘arry Redknapp was a lot of people’s choice for the next England manager but surely that’s unlikely following his arrest yesterday by Fraud Squad detectives investigating alleged corruption in football. I heard Harry’s press conference earlier where he explained that he was simply questioned about the financial payments made between the agent Willie Mckay and the player Amdy Faye which he fervently denied had absolutely nothing to do with him, his  CE Peter Storrie, former Chairman Milan Mandaric nor his club Portsmouth. I can absolutely believe him and his annoyance at the timing of this but you sense that the FA, who were themselves caught scandalously with their pants down only recently, will steer clear of appointing any manager with the slightest whiff of trouble about them. So no chance now for Harry (sadly) nor Big Sam and no way back for El Tel, Sven and Glenn. It’s looking like a 2 horse race for me  O’Neill or Capello unless you know something I don’t….