My mate Andy Smart was reading one of them Girl With The Dragon Tattoo books the other day. Unputdownable Swedish crime thriller, he says. Maybe there's a section investigating the criminal line-up of forwards in Sven's squad for 2006, I jested. But his eyes were gone, his head back in his book.
Apparently the twists and turns are endless, but it can't be any more winding than the tales worming their way out of the England camp. First of all you had David James's post-match interview, which barely suppressed a right old strop.
James is renowned for straight-talking, although given that there was a little clip of him saying he'll be watching James Corden's World Cup every night on the self-same programme I doubt his word, now. I've watched it once. He really is the fat kid in the sweetshop at the mo. Lock him in, pull down the blinds and leave him to it, I reckon.
Call Crimestoppers now on....
The keeper retracted any implied criticism but it was enough for that acme of moral decency John Terry to enter the press conference fray. John, unaware that the only armband he was likely to be wearing this summer is inflatable, assertively stated that words would be spoken in a team meeting coming up. He praised Joe Cole and promised that if, a la Cantona at Crystal Palace a while back, the shit hit the fan, then so be it.
Cue Fabio, betraying no sign of tension, to announce that Terry had made a big mistake. Very big. Which made you wonder which one he was talking about: knobbing the mate's ex, the Stamford Bridge tours, the touting of his England skipper brand round all and sundry by his agents, the haircut, the star-jump handballs, etc., etc.
The meeting took place and as far as we can tell, not so much as a sparrow's chirrup in complaint came forth. Not even from JT.
Then JT rows back on yesterday's wind-up with a downright neutered statement, as if all that happened in the 'clear-the-air' talks was that Capello stuffed Terry's head into a welly-boot and held some pliers over his knackers.
Vice-captain Lamps has said that there's no mutiny on the cards, the actual skipper has become invertebrate during the past couple of days, everyone else has distanced themselves from King Chav, and nothing's changed.
It's not good, though, is it? There's a clip of England training on the Beeb website and it's about as jolly as an Eastenders Christmas special. The most worrying aspect of the camp at the mo is the patent lack of enjoyment. Even James Corden on a spit couldn't cheer them up right now.
If only we did things the French way, eh? Then we'd really know what was going on.
I have sympathy with the footballers to an extent. Dommenech is the least well-equipped manager at the tournament. Ever since he proposed to his missus in the aftermath of World Cup final defeat I've seen the imaginary tattoo 'TOOL' stamped a cross his forehead.
Oh, well, back to see shadow puppetry pour moi
Here's a bloke who fails to take Benzema and Nasri to the finals and then watched the FFF send his best surviving striker home. On the other hand, Anelka is as tedious a prima donna as football has ever seen. You can't look at the bloke without thinking how he's always tried to blame his crucial 2008 Champs League penalty miss on someone else.
Trouble is, while most players would delight in the absence of such an unlovable and unreliable team-mate, there's more than one rotten pomme in the French barrel. Gallas is rumoured to be stropping that Evra is skipper; Gourcuff is supposed to eat alone at dinner; and all of them seem to think they can just piss away the aspirations of their countrymen in a petty little infight.
Dommenech missed a chance to show some bottle and instead read out the statement from the players looking all too spookily like Neville Bloody Chamberlain.
The French government have already approved the building of 23 naughty steps in public places across the country. Not sure how they'll cope although Henry will probably handle it - after all that's how they got to the finals in the first place.
I trust the French will do the decent thing before they leave and get themselves a good thumping from the host nation. As yet we don't know which players will be available to play. If none of them turn up then at least they can say they finished the tournament with their best performance.
As for Terry, well despite everything England Expects each man to do his duty, with or without a smile on his face. Still it's all grist to the mill of that really blllody tedious post-WC ritual - the auto-bore-ography. Somehow, JT's is looking like the best read at the mo. Oh, hush my cynical mouth.