Sorry fellas – it’s Greek Drama time. First France, then Italy and now England, have made their way, without protest or struggle, to the dustbin of football history.
Shameful, shambolic, devoid of ambition and passion, the leading players for these teams have trashed their manhood and become women. Hubris allowed them to tell us, arrogantly, how they would strut their stuff and achieve success. Nemesis had other ideas.
It was ever thus.
How did this come about? Well, you tell unseasoned teenagers that they are godlike in form and pay them a weekly wage that removes their psyche from the toil of honest labour and you’re asking for trouble.
To a certain extent the problems normally associated with male adolescence can be contained whilst they play in the Premier League - the squads are big and the best managers are strict disciplinarians. To maintain their brand value the players have to mind their P’s and Q’s.
Moreover, the media have their own rules of engagement based on the ability to sell newspapers and are quick to vilify loss of form and social indiscretions. Yes, it’s hypocrisy: we’re all sinners and we all do it – or we’d like to – but it’s the British way. We build them up to knock them down.
But, in the World Cup, once you’re in the last twenty three, you’re there for the duration of the tournament. Furthermore, you’re surrounded by other godlike creatures in the same squad. How can you fail? Even if you can’t do it, the others will carry you. Won’t they?
And look at the sacrifices they have to make. Weeks, living away from your friendly, neighbourhood nightclub and the young women who admire the car you’ve just spent a week’s wages on. No booze, no sex, no distractions, and, their country expects them to give their all in the cause of national glory.
It’s not fair. The French team made a declaration of intent. If their country expected them to endure these hardships then they wouldn’t train. Why should they? After all, they were gods.
John Terry also gave us his Unilateral Declaration of Independence. He called a press conference to tell the world about his superior intellect and leadership abilities. Fabio Capello was crap, but, never mind, John Terry would save the day with his superior intellect and leadership abilities. And when the job was done a grateful nation would restore John to his ancient birthright: King of All He Could Shag.
It wasn’t just John Terry. If the National team are to sort this out they have to recognise some harsh truths. The malaise goes deep and it infects everything. All the usual suspects are there. The Great Analysts of the BBC were on hand to give us their verdicts. Hansen and Shearer told us what was what.
First, David James was England’s best player. Excuse me? He gifted the Germans goals two and three. His technique is woeful. How could Podolski score DIRECTLY from that angle? I’ll tell you how – James dived over the ball. Brad Friedel would never have allowed that second goal – not like that. The technique is to go on your haunches, hands by your side and make yourself as wide as possible. Muller’s shot for goal number three was blasted directly at James and what did he do? He dived out of the way. But not to worry, the Alans have given us their thoughts and soon it will be an urban legend. David James was England’s best player.
Glen Johnson is in way over his head. Take a look at his attempt to stop the cross for the final goal. The ball went through his legs. But, of course, he’s good going forward. When was that?
I’ve had enough – it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Some of you will ask “Why dwell on Hansen and Shearer?” Because someone needs to ask the right questions. Let’s start with this question. “Who coaches these infant prodigies and what are they teaching them?” Maybe the next will be – and this one’s for Capello - “If these player’s techniques are so abject, why pick them to play?” Next might be “Would it be fair to say that if you can’t spot the duffers, should you be managing our National Team, Mr Capello?”.
I’ll tell you something the whole of this country knows in its heart but is too polite to say. If we’re going down in flames, let’s do it with an Englishman at the helm. Some of you with delicate stomachs need to get a bucket handy. There’s only one contender, really – the Arthur Daley of football management – Sir 'Arry Redknapp.
I know I’m in a group that can’t get into double figures, but I love him. He’s a character and a proper person. He loves his country and hates paying taxes. Can this be wrong?