Friday, 11 June 2010
Greetings from Dubai!!!
Well you know what?
It's finally here. And guess where I am?
Tony Thompson's got hold of some late deal plus a free apartment next to one of the seventeen thousand building sites out here - and me and the lads have taken the Championship football route for a few days away and we're in.... Dubai!
Seems strange not to be standing outside the Blue Bell spilling lager down me shirt as I try to get me flaming lighter to work, but I'm sure I'll manage somehow.
Now I'm sure you'll all be reckoning that I've joined the jet-set now - and I can't think of owt more likely to undermine my working-class credentials - but the wife's really grateful. She can bang on about Nadal's physique for a week and a bit and I can have a right laugh at Tony as his glasses steam up every time he steps out the house.
So I won't have to have the usual World Cup conversation:
Wife: Not more football!
Me: Yes, love. It's the World Cup.
Wife: Who's playing?
Me: North Korea v Ivory Coast
Wife: Why d'you want to watch that?
Me: It's the World Cup.
Wife: Is that your answer to everything
Me: IT'S THE WORLD CUP!(Oooooo! Get in there Mun In Guk!)
Tony managed to get red raw sunburn during his first hour out here - he's paler than Andres Iniesta so he'd need a 200 tog duvet to prevent skin damage, the dozy tool.
Any road, we're all set for Mex v Bafana Bafana in some poncey bar or other. There are enough pink and boozy ex-pats here to convince you that you could be in a boiling hot Benidorm.
Our host tells us that there are 8000 cabin crew living in Dubai. Last night was like watching that God-awful cheesy Virgin ad where togged-up totty catwalk through an airport terminal.
Plus, he tells us, a third of the world's cranes are in Dubai. The streets are paved with sweating Indian subcontinental workers slaving away in 45C heat. And not a Nissan hut in sight. Apparently they're allowed to down tools if the temp hits 50. That's big of them.
It's not all fun and games. It's so bloody hot when you step out of the apartment it's like walking into a very warm sponge-cake. And the price of a beer is steeper than Scott Carson's learning curve, but I hear it's pissing it down in England so I'm not complaining.
Gerrard's making all the right noises about becoming skipper - 'a great honour... them army lads put our job into perspective... Wazza's going to be great, etc.' - but to be honest it shouldn't matter who the captain is.
Shrek 4 - Ogre and Out
I do wonder whether Rooney might take the armband as it might give him that extra edge of self-discipline. Fact is that this permanent apolgia for his temperament - 'Wayne wouldn't be the same player without his aggression' - is a load of bollocks.
If Rooney loses it, it means he's stopped being a good player. He can't channel his aggression usefully at all. Perhaps Stevie will remind him of all the privates in Afghanistan who are supporting him before he treads on those of an opposition centre-back.
If Rooney stays calm, Gerrard finds his game and Ledley stays fit, there's a chance this team could make a good fist of this tournament. I just worry about the USA. No one's taking them seriously but there are in the top 15 in the world, they beat Spain, and Obama's wished them well.
And cos they're playing us I think they might all be looking at this as a chance to raise the profile of a game that the Yanks dismiss as the sporting equivalent of girls playing with their dollies.
Plus I don't care how often their coach says we won't be winding up Wazza. Course they bloody will. Wayne will get more whacks, winks and wallops than a FAI president in a Chelsea basement.
But here's Capello's team for the morra:
Green; Johnson, Terry, King, A.Cole; Lennon, Lampard, Gerrard, J.Cole; Heskey, Rooney.
My best guess.
Now, off to find a telly and some factor 375 sun cream for poor sore Tony.