Archive for the 'Villains' Category

21
Oct
10

Deconstructing Rooney’s Statement

Rooney writes out another statement regarding the need for lower carbon emissions

Rooney writes out another statement regarding the need for lower carbon emissions

Wayne Rooney’s statement was delivered to the world’s press yesterday with the sort of fanfare usually reserved for general election results or the announcement of who’s been voted off the Xfactor. Within minutes of Rooney releasing his excuse, sorry, reason for wanting to leave Manchester United, millions of United fans around the world were analysing every word, sentence and nuance to see what exactly was going on in the mind of the player formerly known as a fan’s favourite.

While it’s quite obvious Rooney didn’t sit down in front of his Macbook and write the statement himself before emailing it to the press, it’s obviously the crux of why he wants to leave- at least in public.

So what did Rooney’s statement tell us? Well he wants to leave that much is certain but are the reasons for him leaving valid? Looking over the statement fully, it seems as though Rooney’s memory and argument is just a tad selective to say the least.

It begins…..

 
 “I met with David Gill last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad.
I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.
I was interested to hear what Sir Alex had to say yesterday and surprised by some of it.
It is absolutely true, as he said, that my agent and I have had a number of meetings with the club about a new contract. During those meetings in August I asked for assurances about the continued ability of the club to attract the top players in the world.
   Here seems to be the main argument, in fact you could say it’s the only argument Rooney is making, that United cannot continue to attract the top players. Well that would indicate that in the past United have attracted the world’s top players, yet is this the case?

Looking back over the past six years, since Rooney joined United, the players who’ve come to Old Trafford have not always been the best in the World, but have more often than not grown into that bracket. Some of United’s best signings during this period have not necessarily been ‘stars’ as such-although they certainly are now.

Fergie’s most astute signings in the period since Rooney joined United were arguably Edwin Van Der Sar, Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic who went to Old Trafford for a combined fee of around £14.5 million and United had little competition for their signatures.
United have spent big money on the likes of Anderson, Nani, Michael Carrick, Owen Hargreaves and of course Dimitar Berbatov and there’s no denying that these players were all sought after but were they considered among the ‘top players in the world’?

Anderson and Nani were seen as potential future stars, while Carrick was a highly thought of England fringe type midfielder whose £18.6 million fee left many feeling United had overpaid slightly. As for Hargreaves, he certainly was considered a top midfielder but even before he went to United, his injury problems were well documented. As for Berbatov, he was a shining star in the Premier League and the noisy neighbours were certainly interested, but it’s questionable as to whether he was really considered one of the world’s top strikers. He was probably a rung below the likes of Rooney, David Villa, Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres as being one of the truly top strikers in world football. Of course there was also a certain gentleman from Argentina who arrived, but the fact he was signed on a loan deal from West Ham or whoever the fook owned him, speaks volumes as to his standing in world football at the time.

The point I’m making is that since Rooney’s arrival United’s signings have often been ones that will grow in time, or players who aren’t quite attracting the rest of Europe’s elite but are still capable of doing a good job. Rooney’s argument that he wants to leave Old Trafford because he doesn’t feel the club will ‘continue to attract the ‘top players in the world’ is slightly flawed as United often don’t really go for the very top players.

Fergie has been bitten once with Juan Sebastian Veron who was considered one of the world’s best midfielders and came with a price tag that seemed to underline that fact to the tune of £29.1 million. However Veron’s time at Old Trafford was something of a disaster and he ended up leaving for just over half that fee, mainly due to Chelsea’s reckless spending in the early phase of the Abramovich era.

When Rooney claims its anxieties over the ability of the club to attract the world’s top players which is making him leave, it’s as though he wants Fergie to change his whole transfer policy and suddenly start bidding for big name players. Let’s not forget even a certain Cristiano Ronaldo was not a real star when he arrived at United- in fact I along with more than a few other fans were disappointed when we learnt it wasn’t the man now known as ‘Fat Ronaldo’ that was signing.

If Fergie had gone out last summer and spent £40 million on the likes of Joleon Lescott and Emannuel Adebayor would that have convinced Rooney of United’s ambition? Perhaps a £45 million bid for Zlatan Imbrahimovic would have made the scouse striker stay. The only problem with any of those signings is they’d arguably not improve United’s team one iota and been a complete waste of money, but hey at least it shows ambition.

To be fair to Rooney he’s actually not the first talismanic striker to leave Old Trafford due to a percieved lack of ambition by the club in regards to transfers.
Believe it or not Eric “The King” Cantona actually cited the same reason as part of his decision to retire. This is an extract from Fergie’s book Managing My Life:

 
 
“He [Cantona] was totally straightforward with me. He did want to finish….When I asked him again why he felt that way, he was not as vague as he had been previously and specified two recent trends at Old Trafford that had left him disillusioned. He said he felt he had become a pawn of Manchester United’s merchandising department and that he was not going to accept such treatment any longer. His second complaint was that United were not ambitious enough in the purchase of players. I had a lot of sympathy with him on both counts.” 
Of course there’s a world of difference between Eric’s retirement and Rooney’s desire to leave for greener pastures. After all Cantona wasn’t seeking more money elsewhere, or a club with more ambition, he’d more or less had enough of football and the lack of signing top players was simply one of his reasons. The fact Fergie sympathised said it all, at that time -1997- United hadn’t been ambitious enough in the transfer market. However the signings of Jaap Stam and Dwight Yorke, less than a year later would certainly address that issue.

The reason I mention Cantona’s comment is because it’s worth noting that Rooney hasn’t been the only one who’s had thoughts like that while being United’s star player. However, Cantona was leaving football altogether and was at a club that hadn’t won the CL twice in the past 11 years not to mention the league 11 times out of 18. There’s similarities between the two statements but there’s also a lot of differences, especially in the context of the times they were made.

The final part of Rooney’s statement, arguably is the most contradictory.

 
 I have never had anything but complete respect for MUFC. How could I not have done, given its fantastic history and especially the last six years in which I have been lucky to play a part?
For me it’s all about winning trophies – as the club has always done under Sir Alex. Because of that I think the questions I was asking were justified.
Despite recent difficulties, I know I will always owe Sir Alex Ferguson a huge debt. He is a great manager and mentor who has helped and supported me from the day he signed me from Everton when I was only 18.
For Manchester United’s sake I wish he could go on forever because he’s a one-off and a genius.”
  

If Fergie’s a genius and United have always won trophies under him, then why does Rooney want to leave? Fergie shows no signs of retiring for at least the next few years and as he’s stated himself his health is fine. Had Fergie announced he was retiring at the end of this season or even the next one, Rooney’s statement would make sense, but he hasn’t so it doesn’t.

Rooney’s statement has been seen by some as simply yet another reason why the Glazer family have to be removed, after all, it’s surely the debt they saddled the club with that’s caused Rooney to believe the club can no longer compete. However, while the debt and the interest are a joke, Rooney seems to have forgotten that United are not usually ones for making record-breaking bids for the world’s top stars.
Although, Fergie has been willing to splash that sort of cash on occasion- Rio Ferdinand, Rooney himself, it’s been extremely rare and not happened at all of late.

Whether more will come to light as to how much wages and signing-on fee have dictated remains to be seen but Rooney’s argument that United lack the ability to attract top players, seems a little hollow.
United lacking ambition? As Fergie succinctly put it last night following United Champion’s League win:

“Have I not won 30 trophies?”

 

 

 
02
Sep
10

Premier League most hated XI

Drogba -everyone's favourite post match commentator

Drogba -everyone's favourite post match commentator

Over the years there have been many great players who’ve graced the Premier League, making it the most enjoyable entertaining and exciting domestic competition in the world. Players such as Cantona, Shearer, Henry, Ronaldo, Fabregas and Franny Jeffers have given even the non-football lovers a reason to tune in to Match of the Day on a Saturday night as they show us how the beautiful game can be truly just that. There have also been another set of players though, throughout the years, men who may have footballing ability but also have the knack of causing most of us to scream in anger whenever they touch the ball. I’m talking about the sort of players who if your daughter brought them home, you’d wish she was a lesbian. Players we love to hate.

Now, not many of us actually know Premier League players on a personal level, but we can pretty much garner all we need to know about someone from their attitude on the pitch. Some players such as Paul Scholes for example, will never be truly hated, which is somewhat surprising considering he’s fouled every single Premier League player at least twice, because they just get on with the game in a quiet manner. However for every Paul Scholes, there’s a Robbie Savage, the sort of player that even some of his own fans struggle to find a fondness for. Here’s my own personal Premier League XI made up of players you’d rather glass, than have a pint with.

Goalkeeper- Jens Lehman- Where do we start with Mr. Lehmann? Who can forget his chuckle-brothers esque shoving match with that other loveable chap Didier Drogba, or perhaps chasing a hapless linesman for 30 yards to berate him for a disputable decision. Lehmann also had a penchant for running out of his area often when not really required and for shoving, pushing, and generally antagonising anyone who came near him at a corner. He left Arsenal in 2008 after 199 appearances , during which he picked up a Premier League and FA cup winner’s medal- and got himself sent of in the Champions League final. He was soon up to his old tricks in Germany, racing out of his area allowing Cologne’s Wilfried Sanou to fire into an empty net from 45 yards, he then got in trouble for attending Oktoberfest immediately after, despite being told not to. No doubt he found a few Colonge fans to buy him drinks.

Left back There was only ever going to be one wasn’t there, in fact its so obvious I’m not even going to put his name. The Chelsea left-back is actually one of the best in the world and has won every domestic honour there is several times, but he’s also one of the most hated men ever to put on a pair of football boots. When he’s not refusing to be booked by referees, he’s busy lamenting the fact that Thierry Henry got more chants than he did, or complaining that £3 million plus a year, is enough to make you crash your car- more than a few people were probably wishing it did.

Right back- Gary Neville- I’m sorry but let’s be honest, while there are United fans that love Neville, they both live in Stretford apparently, for many, he’s become something of an embarassment. He may be one of the best right backs Old Trafford has ever seen, but more often than not his behaviour leaves a lot to be desired. Constantly saying anything to wind up the opposition, Neville is hated by anyone outside Old Trafford and even a few inside. As his appearances have become fewer his comments have increased, as have his actions. When he’s not giving players the bird, refusing to shake former collegues hands, or hiding behind Roy Keane in the tunnel, he’s making statements on anything from -deep breath now- Liverpool’s European exit, Carlos Tevez’s worth, Fabio Capello’s management ability, or how Premier League players are worth their wages. If Fred the Red ever retires, United have a ready made mascot.

Centre back- William Gallas- Who can forget the sight of the happy-go-lucky Frenchman sitting in the St.Andrews centre circle sulking, as Birmingham’s James McFadden tucked away penalty. The fact that Gallas was captain only made it more ridiculous. He took a leaf out of the Roy Keane school of youngster morale boosting by claiming in an interview that Arsenal’s younger players needed to “show more courage” if they were to succeed, perhaps sulking in the centre circle is a good way for them to start. Gallas was subsequently dropped from the squad for the next match before being stripped of the captaincy. A must for every dressing room in need of a sense of camaraderie or wishing to give a good example to the younger players.

Centre back- John Terry- Sorry Chelsea fans, well actually I’m not, but it’s yet another Chelsea defender who falls into the most hated category. His Guinness record breaking crying marathon following the Champion’s League final, apparently it lasted 34 days, still makes me wonder how anyone on earth could call him the ‘new Bobby Moore,’ I don’t recall England’s World Cup winning captain, sobbing his eyes out as he’s pictured with Pele in 1970. A player that often finds himself booed at away grounds- except at Old Trafford where, following Moscow,  he always gets and ironic cheer.

Left midfield- El Hadji Diouf- Although he can play in a number of positions for the purposes of this team he’s out on the left wing. What can you say about Diouf, honest, genuine, decent, clean, none of these words coud be used to describe a player who is almost as famous for spitting at people as he is for any footballing acheivements. Celtic fans, Arjan De Zeeuw and fans from Middlesboro have all been treated to a ‘gobby’ from the lovely lad from Senegal. Diouf isn’t a one-trick pony however, no no, he’s got more to his game than just spittting. How about a bit of abuse to those horrible nasty ball-boys at Goodison Park, that’s what’s missing in the modern game. 

Right midfield- Cristiano Ronaldo- okay, I still love Ronnie, but as someone said to me when he was still at United: “He might be a tw*t, but he’s our tw*t.” I had to agree.

Centre midfield- Steven Gerrard- arguably the most difficult time I’ve ever had as a football fan was supporting England with Gerrard wearing the captain’s armband. His camera -kissing celebration at Old Trafford as Liverpool stormed to another trophyless season was bad enough but it was his ‘accidental’ assist to Drogba to gift Chelsea the title cemented my dislike of him. He should have been banned for a year, mind you making him England Captain was probably punishment enough.

Centre midfield- Lee Bowyer – The former Charlton,

Leeds, West Ham  and Newcastle man has found an army of haters wherever he’s gone. It’s not just the fact that he holds the record for the most bookings in Premier League history or that he’s even been sent off for fighting with his own team-mates, its also that, well he’s just got one of those faces, hasn’t he?

Striker- Craig Bellamy- It takes a special player to get a list of enemies as long as Bellamy’s but the diminutive Welsh striker has managed to leave a trail of p*ssed off people behind him, wherever he’s gone. A career that took in Norwich, Coventry, Liverpool, Celtic, Newcastle and West Ham saw arguments with managers, and team-mates, ‘putt’ the striker on the most hated list of many. When Bellamy joined newly rich Manchester City  life at Eastlands was fairly quiet for the little Welsh one, although he did find time to assault a United fan- who was being held by stewards- in the Manchester derby, United fans don’t hold grudges though, even giving Bellamy a bit of money on his next trip to Old Trafford. There was also his public support of John Terry which no doubt endeared him to Chelsea fans. He’s a player that can often be seen winding up the opposition and he usually succeeds in that endeavour. Bellamy’s loan move to Cardiff left Pentonville rather disheartened as they were looking for a new forward.

Striker- Didier Drogba- For me one of the  funniest sights in recent Premier League history was Drogba having a ‘fit’ after being flying kicked by Jonny Evans, only to be booked by the referee. The Chelsea forward has become so known for falling over at the drop of a hat, that he’s even admitted it in interviews. Talking of interviews his post-match analysis following Chelsea’s Champion’s League exit to Barcelona was legendary. When he’s not diving, sulking and swearing he does score a lot of goals, but he’s done enough over the past few years to edge his way on to here.

Subs bench– Mark Bosnich, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kevin Davies, Duncan Ferguson, Robbie Savage, Michael Brown, Stephen Hunt.

22
Jun
10

World cup diary – the trouble with FIFA

Amazingly I'm the only one who didn't get nicked that day

With the World Cup finally beginning to live up to the hype it seems football’s world governing body can pat themselves on the back for a job well done.
Not only are goals finally flying in, but with all the scaremongering about potential robbery rape and murder the fact that there have been relatively few violent incidents also means the safety aspect has been well handled.

Well while the World Cup may be a success- unless you’re English, or an Italian manager- FIFA’s handling of certain aspects has been nothing short of shocking.
There was the whole orange dress girls debacle, where FIFA inadvertently gave the chaps at Bavaria Beer far more publicity than the scantily clad ladies did alone. I was at the Holland Denmark game and had my picture taken with a pair of the ladies in question and had no idea what they were meant to be advertising. It wasn’t until they were arrested and the story hit the headlines worldwide that I along with most other people realised they were part of an advertising campaign for Bavaria Beer.
Not only did FIFA give the company more publicity they could ever have dreamed of, they also made themselves look harsh and foolish for over-reacting.

Then there’s the FIFA fan parks which are scattered around the country. Here you can watch all the World Cup games on huge screens free of charge with entertainment in between games. Simple eh?
Well not when they’re run by FIFA. Before the World Cup thousands of South Africans applied for licences to trade at these parks. The cost wasn’t cheap – around 20,000 rand –around 2000 english pounds as a deposit plus a lot more in expenses.
FIFA promised these traders they’d be given prime locations in the parks and that entertainment would be put on near their stalls to keep punters happy.
In the fan park at Innesfree park I visited the stalls were set so far behind the screen, I almost didn’t realise they were there.
The Coca-Cola stalls as well as other sponsors MTN were in prime locations where you literally couldn’t miss them.
The place was like a ghost town and I spoke to a couple of the traders about their predicament.
Jamiliah Khan was running a food stall with her family, she was quite vocal in her anger at the situation:

“My kids education fund, I’ve dug into that, it’s going to take me years to recoup my losses.
They promised that there was going to be a stunning line-up of entertainment that was going to pull crowds.
We thought it was going to be win-win situation for everybody but it’s only a win-win situation for coca-cola and FIFA the small vendors get screwed.”

Joseph Molwatnwa was another trader who was furious with FIFA’s broken promises:

“It’s bad, bad, bad, horrible, they’re changing the rules every day- there’s no entertainment it’s terrible. We’ve lost a lot of money.
“The first day this was open people came because Bafana bafana were playing, but it wasn’t arranged properly, there was only one till open.
“We’ve decided to close down and pack up, FIFA said there would be twenty thousand people a day but there’s been around only twenty people. It’s a disaster.”

Jameliah Khan and family- picture by Jon Devo

While the official fan parks have been something of a total let down that’s not the only area that FIFA have behaved badly.
Recently stewards at five stadiums across the country went on strike due to a pay dispute. This meant that the South African police force has had to step in. While that may seem hardly the fault of Sepp Blatter and his mob, once you scratch beneath the surface you can see it’s again down to the misdeeds of the ‘evil empire.’
Workers were told that they would be given 500 rand per day but then were only paid them 190 causing uproar.
FIFA awarded the security contract to Stallion Security despite several warning signs that this would lead to disaster.

The security company lost their international partner, Securitas from Sweden, earlier this year when they pulled out of the tournament, apparently following financial disputes.
The South African Police Service also had to step in to protect another FIFA tournament in June last year, after the local organising committee and Stallion fell out over money shortly before the Confederations Cup.
According to the FIFA safety guidelines, the local organising committee and FIFA itself, is responsible for safety at stadiums on the day of matches.

While everyone I’ve met here is justifiably proud to not only be hosting the World Cup but also to have done it with a warmth and friendliness I’ve not seen since my raving days ended, there are some major concerns.
Last week thousands took to the streets of Johannesburg in protest at the amount of money the government is spending on the World Cup when so many people are living in poverty.

FIFA has made record profits from the South African World Cup and many here feel the South African bid committee allowed football’s governing body to make far too many stipulations just to have a successful bid.
Here the South African government could be accused of adhering to too many demands, but FIFA should be held culpable for exploiting the situation to their utmost benefit.
South Africa missed out on the World Cup in 2006 by a single vote, after Charles Dempsey- who’s almost as famous as Francois Peinaar in parts of South Africa- abstained from voting despite being told by his confederation to vote for South Africa.

Many of the stadiums here will likely be unused or even demolished after the tournament as some are in areas where there will be absolutely no need for them.
It seems in the nation’s eagerness to become the first African host of a world cup- it was announced that this tournament would be in an African country before the bids were in- the government may have given too much leeway and paid a price that people here will have to live with for many years to come.
The question is did FIFA exploit South Africa, or is this nation’s government to blame? Personally I have only two words in my answer – Sepp Blatter.

03
Mar
10

To boo or not to boo?

Bridge- one of the more random victims of booing

One of the more bizarre elements of the Stamford bridge soap opera on Saturday was the Chelsea fan’s decision to boo Wayne Bridge.

Obviously upset over the way he allowed his ex-girlfriend to sleep with their skipper and ruin his sterling reputation, the home fans made sure Bridge knew about their disgust every time he touched the ball.

Quite what the Chelsea faithful hoped to achieve is anyone’s guess. Maybe they felt their actions would leave Bridge curled up in a fetal position on the centre circle sobbing uncontrollably.

The fact is Bridge shrugged off the boos and produced arguably his best performance since the entire episode started.

Bridge’s reaction is hardly unique, time and time again a player who receives booing from the opposition merely goes about his job as usual, sometimes even seeming more motivated.

1998 was a case in point, David Beckham, following the World Cup was the most hated man in England and was treated to some of the most fervent abuse in the history of the Premier League. Did Beckham crumble every time he played away? Well not exactly, instead he had a superb season which culminated in winning the treble. You’d think this would make fans realise that booing is not the answer but no. Cristiano Ronaldo got the same treatment eight years later and promptly went about helping United to their first title in four seasons.

I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t booed before. I remember as a 14 year-old watching Barcelona versus Man United back in the mid 90’s. A certain Ronald Koeman was on the receiving end of a chorus of boos every time he touched the ball. His crime? He’d pulled down David Platt- while through on goal- in an England world cup qualifier and then had the cheek to not only not get sent off but to also go on and score a free-kick. The swine. As you would expect he seemed pretty indifferent to the treatment he received as United managed to salvage a draw thanks to a Lee Sharpe back heel.

Wayne Rooney recently made a plea to England fans to give Terry a break and not boo him. Quite a remarkable request when you think about it. Please England fans don’t boo your former captain. Although to be fair to Rooney he’s probably right to worry, just ask Owen Hargreaves, Ashley Cole or Frank Lampard.

Booing the opposition is arguably pointless but what’s to be gained from doing the same to our own players is beyond me.

More often than not a player who’s targeted happens to be one of the more gifted people on the pitch. Ronaldo was picked on because of his behaviour in the World Cup but the fact he was often on the score sheet only increased everyone’s ire.

Sometime’s booing seems understandable, I don’t think even Neville Neville –that is his dad’s name and I haven’t just made it up- would be aggrieved if his Gary doesn’t get the warmest of welcome’s at Anfield. Some players actually seem to thrive off it, rent-a-panto-villain Robbie Savage was someone who generally seemed to revel in the hatred he induced in opposition fans.

Occasionally such behaviour seems ridiculous, and can often be embarrassing to the fans rather than the player. Eboue’s treatment last season, gave many people watching on television the impression that Arsenal fans were a tad fickle to say the least, yet I’m sure the vast majority at the Emirates felt it deplorable.

Attending a charity for match for kids a couple of years ago, I was pleased to see a certain Diego Armando Maradona make an appearance. Although he was playing against the likes of Robbie Williams and Jamie Theakston and was obviously well past his best, it was still a treat to see one of the worlds greatest ever players on a football pitch. My joy was not shared by everyone however as Maradona was booed every time he touched the ball. At a charity match. For Kids. Playing against Jamie Theakston.

There’s no denying that booing will always be a part of our game, as long as there’s diving, fouls, transfers and even goals, you’re going to get players who’ll get stick for whatever reason. The point is that if we look back on many of the players who’ve been given stick over the years, it seems the vast majority treat it like water off a duck’s back, with some even seeming to gain inspiration. It may help some of us vent our anger but in terms of the effect on players it hardly seems worth the effort.

20
Nov
09

Public enemies

Beckham- one fo the few players to receive an orange card.

Thierry Henry’s handball on Wednesday night has already ignited the nations press in a frenzy of hatred anger and in some cases even racism.
Yes Henry was wrong to do what he did and yes, he can hardly expect people to be sympathetic, regardless of his so-called attempted apology.
Yet it seems the world cup in this country is famous for creating villains rather than heroes. Henry joins a list that includes Maradona, KOEMAN, Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo in players who’ve been blamed for costing the nation World Cup success, the difference for Henry of course is that his crime was not even against England.
While the British press’s and indeed much of the public’s sympathy for Ireland is touching, it’s probably undeserved. Would the Irish be as angered or vociferous in their cries of injustice if England had been denied in such a manner?
What Henry has done is simply get the Chelsea fans down at fleet street warmed up for the pantomime season that will be next years World Cup. Without a doubt next year will see the emergence of a new national enemy whose actions will have been deemed to have cost England certain glory.
The last World Cup was a case in point, Wayne Rooney’s sending off was seen by many as the real reason behind England’s failure. Not the fact that Wazza wasn’t fully fit, or that we took one striker barely fit enough to travel, let alone play and another one who’d yet to make his premier league debut as back-up. No, it was all Ronaldo’s fault for winking after Rooney got his marching orders.
Cue hysterical screaming by the press, calling for Ronaldo to be, sold, deported, imprisoned, shot or at least given a Chinese burn, depending on whose column you read. The resultant fall-out no doubt helped contribute to Ronaldo’s house being vandalised but hey he shouldn’t have had the audacity to wink.
Only 8 years earlier it had been national treasure Sir David Beckham (it’s only a matter of time) who’d been blamed for kicking out at Diego Simeone against Argentina, thereby ruining England’s chances. In what should rightly be remembered as the most disgraceful exhibition of unwarranted vilification in the national press’s recent history, Beckham was treated slightly worse than Hitler. One paper even published a dartboard with his face on while burning effigies awaited him on his return from France.
There was no mention of the fact that only two games prior to the Argentina one, England had lost to Romania, or that Hoddle went to the World Cup with no idea of his best team, or that he made Beckham do a press conference explaining how he felt to be dropped. No, it was all Beckham’s fault.
Let’s not even mention Euro 2004, where anything from the WAGs to referee Urs Meier to even the shape of the penalty spot was blamed for England’s exit.
Right now Henry is British public enemy number 1 but he shouldn’t worry too much, next summer there’ll be someone else ready to step into his shoes should England fail, the only question is will he be English?