Thursday, August 17, 2006

An Anaemic Reaction

So, we had our first glimpse of the future of the England football team, and it's... not much different to before, to be honest. Don't get me wrong, a 4-0 in an international match against anybody is a great result, but Greece were terrible. Really, really bad. To be absolutely honest, I was only half-watching it, but that's the effect that England have been having on me lately. For years, I laboured under the impression that playing for your country was the absolute pinnacle of any footballer's career, and that to win the World Cup would be sporting equivalent of winning an Oscar, but it appears that I was being somewhat naive. They don't really care at all. Kissing the England badge means no more than the player that kisses his badge a couple of weeks before accepting a more lucrative contract elsewhere. England last night were no more than "okay", but it wouldn't have bothered me if that much if they'd lost 4-0.

The problem with the England national team starts from the very top, and it works something like this. If a club side loses its manager, in choosing a new one it is making statement about the club itself, and its aspirations for the future. Under what circumstances would a club side promote the assistant to the previous manager? It would if that club had been successful, and if that assistant had proved himself to a part of a winning team, and capable of progressing to the next level. The England team has not, over the last five years, been successful, and there is very little doubt that McClaren had been part of that lack of success. Eriksson's dwindling band of supporters claim the ease with which England qualified for three major tournaments in a row. They are, I presume, forgetting the need for Beckham's last minute equalizer against Greece in 2001, and the ignomious defeat against Northern Ireland eleven months ago. They are, presumably, also forgetting defeats by France, Portugal (twice!) and Brazil which showed a lack of tactical nous that bordered on alarming. McClaren was part of that, and he was a bigger part of it than a lot of people might think.

Of course, I'll happily eat my words if I'm wrong, but I can't see it happening, can you? The FA had the chance to pick more or less any coach in the world. There are some that wouldn't leave their club jobs, and some that wouldn't want the enormous hassle of it, but there are plenty that would have relished the challenge. The opportunity was there for the FA to pick the right man, but they picked the yes man instead. They chose deliberately not to rock the boat, and if or when England fail again, it will be them that should be held accountable. I know. Fat chance. If there's a dirty, filthy foreigner to blame, then that'll probably do. Again.

I have a WHOLE DAY OFF WORK tomorrow, so I can't see myself doing anything other than jabbering complete bollocks all day. I might even take the time to upload some frankly dreadful Cup Final songs and Football TV theme tunes. Oh yes. I'm going to take football to a new, sexier level.


Ed said...

Greece are the worst team to ever win a major international tournament. Even the Danes in 1992 can point that either side of their shock victory, they had a team who were serious competition for any European power on their day.

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