Tag Archives: Fabio Capello

#oneaday 62: Please release me, let me go

I got a text today from one of my mates who was asking what day I was actually  leaving for the Ukraine to watch England contest the European Championships in June. My answer was simple, this time I am not bothering. England FC have become toxic, much like most football and certainly anything  to do with the Premier League. Yes the quality is there, but the loyalty and committment from many of the players just follows the money.

Two things have happened though that give me some hope and neither would I normally applaud or agree with the outcomes.

First, it looks like John Terry’s time as an England captain is finally over, for a second time. He may even have played his last competitive tournament game for England. I admire John Terry on some levels, there is no doubt that he is a true legend at Chelsea giving any team he plays for 100% of everything he has, and Chelsea rarely lose when he plays. But the FA have decided to sack him as skipper and have shown some leadership, even if it is a tad misguided. Terry is innocent until proven guilty, but the authorities should have brought the trial forward and got it out of the way before May. It is clear that some if not all of the other England players have had enough of their captain. His last outburst in South Africa was damaging beyond repair and he is guilty of hubris on occasion.

In sacking Terry, the FA have now pricked Mr Capello into action and he is not a happy bunny. Fabio has appeared on Italian TV and said that he is effectively unhappy with the decision and with the fact that he was not consulted. David Davies a journalist who used to be an executive director at the FA, has stated that some of his contacts are convinced Capello will quit. Personally I agree with him. Mr Capello has only got 5 months of his contract to run and forefit if he resigns. It will appeal to his Italian sense of ‘justice’ to resign. He knows he can only lose in the summer, he is working for money and no longer cares about what his employers think. If he walks away, in his mind he walks with his dignity intact, it was his decision. I believe Capello has lost the dressing room anyway, so this move would be the only chance of a win he would have this year.

Meanwhile the king in waiting is Poplar’s very own crown prince, Harry Redknapp who is currently on trial for tax evasion. Harry was by all accounts, banged to rights, but given the lead accusor and witness for the prosecution is a News of the World journalist, Harry may just find that his luck is in and he walks free. I hope he is innocent and proved so.  If he is, he will carrying on walking north all the way to Wembley and take control of the England team as soon as the season is over, although the FA will cut a deal with Spurs to borrow him for the friendlies planned between now and June. He will make Scott Parker his captain and try and forge an English birth certifcate  for Luca Modric and Gareth Bale. Harry has plenty of friends who can fix these things.

If Harry falls foul of the law and is detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure, then the FA may turn to the hardest number 3 on the planet. Mr Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce who has been managing the U21s for some time. That would be confusing to many, but the players would love the motivation of messrs Redknapp and/or Pearce and there may just be a modicum more effort shown this summer. Failing that Alan Pardew would do a fine job.

If Capello stays, and worse still Terry is picked for the squad, expect England to repeat their performance in the Euro ’88 tournament P3 W0 D0 L3. Wayne Rooney may not get a game!

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Secrets and Lies

Boy has my head been spinning for the last week or so. As always with ideas, just like Flick in Bug’s Life, my head is always full of them, but my moral compass has been under attack from polar energy.

I flew back from Edinburgh two Fridays ago in order to go to Lords for the England vs Pakistan Test Match. My life is just not right if I don’t get at least one visit to HQ in each and every season. I have not missed the Lords Test since I first started attending in 1975 and it was with some excitement that I went along to St John’s Wood. My very good friend, Rob, was taking his oldest son, Robson, for his very first Test. What a lucky boy, at 9 years old being taken to Lords by your dad. Apparently he had been so excited about this trip for weeks, that he had had trouble sleeping! I think Rob was pretty excited too.

Kirsty and I were late as my flight was delayed, and by the time we got in, England had lost 4 quick wickets and were on 54-5. Poor old Robson, his first morning at Lords and England had not done themselves proud. Mind you, down the years I have seen plenty of batting collapses, given the dominance of the West Indies in the late seventies and all the way through the eighties, and then the re-emergence of Australia from’89 onwards. Much like following our national football team, you have to have lows, plenty of them, to enjoy the highs. It’s a life sentence!

The second hour of the morning went off without issue with Prior and Trott bringing up the hundred before lunch. Other good friends were also in the ground, Simon, Olly, Jason, Keith, Gus, Tom and Doron so lunch was always going to be fluid. Robson was desperate to either get to the Lord’s Shop or get back to the game, but handled himself well and his patience was rewarded. But we missed 2 English wickets after lunch, and now with Broad and Trott at the wicket we were hoping for 150. The rest, as they say is history as a series of records were broken and the two batsmen amassed a 300 partnership. Quite simply amazing, emotional and uplifting. Besides it took out attention away from the merciless pigeon bombing that was going on in the skies above us.

Those pigeons soon cleared the seats around us, with the poor chap sat in front bombed three times before he called it a day. The upshot of all this was as we left, one of the gentlemen who had stayed his ground thanked Kirsty for talking to his 16 year old son and making him feel welcome. What a magnificent game cricket is and all those who support it. Or so I thought.

The rest for the moment is history. A News of the World ‘sting’ exposed possible spot betting fraud from 4 Pakistani players. England’s magnificent win and particularly Broad and Trott’s incredible stand had the gloss somewhat sanded off by this smear. The mood at Lord’s on Sunday morning seemed very black and all commentators felt a sense of sadness and anger.

A few days later the Red Tops did it again and ‘exposed’ Wayne Rooney’s extra marital daliances. All in the public interest you understand. All professional sport seems to have been spoilt by money. And the jealousy rife amongst the press merely exacerbates the situation. Dear old Mr Capello’s £6m per year wages seem to be the key to most of the ire from the media, I say that only because it is mentioned everytime he is mentioned. The members of the media have always seen themselves as kingmakers, guardians of the little secrets and lies that make their publications so irresistable. Witness this last week. The England football team had two convincing performances admittedly against weaker opposition this week, but nevertheless scored 7 and conceded 1. The media were not that noisy about the victories, and nor should they be, but imagine the deluge of abuse that would have come Fabio’s way if we had drawn both games? Indeed you don’t have to imagine too hard, just look at the abuse he got in the run up to the games. Out of order. The exposure of the potential Pakistani cheating will be a good thing for cricket, if it turns out to be based on fact and truth and the early signs are that it is, but if it is actually poppycock, well that will not be such a good thing.

If we could clear our national DNA of one thing, it wouldn’t be the cult of celebrity it would be the fascination with idle gossip fuelled by an underlying, dark, deep rooted envy. If those elements of the media were to concentrate on the facts, then our sporting world would be a little more, well, sporting. The days whereby the media were privileged to the inner sanctum of the sporting world are coming to an end. Information is free and secrets can no longer be secrets. Lies are always lies, but the age of truth is upon us. Let’s hope that leads to more honesty and better sport.

Meanwhile, I am off to see my beloved Hammers (Avram Grant or otherwise) take on the mighty Chelsea. Let’s just hope we get a break and can surprise a few people.

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