Dunno about you lot but I’ve not seen too much of the following: anger, despair, dismay. Mostly it’s been a mixture of bewilderment and resignation. Most of us knew we weren’t good enough after the first game. The rest of us knew it after the second, bar the silly numpties who though 1-0 v Slovenia was somehow a turning point.
I also had the solace of an evening chain-smoking and catching up on my lost beer. And any road, relax. We’ll have some proper footy to watch for a couple of weeks.
The post mortem has started in earnest. Fact is, this corpse has been long dead. Let’s line up the guilty parties who have been firing arrows into the English cadaver.
1. Fabio Capello. 6 million quid a year and he’s made Jonathan Ross look like good value. There’s no doubt he’s been stubborn and regimented in a way that the average English superstar doesn’t need. Heskey for Defoe at the end will be as resonant a death knell as Graham Taylor’s Alan Smith for Lineker in ’92. He never took the Gerrard/Lampard decision but stuck ‘em both in in the wrong positions. He was a relief after the boot-licking brolly-holder but it’s clear that the utter tools at his disposal weren’t up to it.
2. The FA. Enough with the kowtowing and cringing as they roll out their begging blankets to the good and great of European football. Time for some economy and humility. Sack Fabio and get someone weird in (but not Hoddle). Becks? We’d still be shit but it’d be one for the ladies.
3. John Terry – caught out of position all game long and all season long when he;s been off the pitch. I’ve heard it said he was playing out of position in the back four but given he and Upson played together for a lot of the qualifiers that’s so much twenty-twenty vision slurry.
4. The referee/linesman. This is what the pig-ignorant people who are pulling the wool over heir eyes are saying this morning. If Lamps’s goal had been given we’d have gone in 2-2 and the whole picture would’ve changed. We wouldn’t have been pushing for the equaliser and the breakaway goals wouldn’t have happened. Bollocks. Anyone who thinks that the Germans wouldn’t have continue to flit gaily through the English defence like Hansel and Gretel on a toddle through the Black Forest is in the land where Reason eats canteloupes and rides on the back a four-winged goose singing ‘Shaddap Ya Face’ (that’s the brandy kicking in). Which is NOT to say that it’s not a fucking scandal.
5. The press. They build us up so they can knock us down. Maybe. And just maybe we all delude ourselves that our footballers are really good when they are quite good to downright cack. Certainly someone has been lying about Wayne R, cos if he’s 100% fit then I’m Fatima Whitbread’s waxer (I’m not, by the way).
Am I the only one who thought Wayne carried all the lightness and grace of Chrissy ‘Christ you’ve gone to seed’ Waddle? Our reporters have talked up this golden generation but that there’s Fools Gold! I had no expectation after Slovenia and yet the red-tops talked it up like the Germans were quaking in their boots and our team of Godfrey, Wilson and Jones were going to shake off the Dad’s Army tag. Twats.
6. Landon Donovan. That last minute frigging goal deprived us of a cushy game against Ghana, then Uruguay. Shit, we’d be in the semis by now. Anyone think Ghana wouldn’t have beaten us? Seriously? It’d be harder to beat a carpet.
7. Germany. Well they’re a good thing to blame cos they were 400 times better than us. As they were in 2006 with another ‘average’ team. Hansen, Shearer and Dixon were right bullish before the match about England’s superiority but I thought, well in what sphere are you operating when you can say that Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Klose, even the lad Muller, wouldn’t waltz into the England XI. And we accuse the Germans of arrogance.
8. And this is the real answer. English footballers are dense. This is the crux, right? So what if Gerrard plays wide left. SO what if Lampard tries playing deeper. So what if it’s 4-4-2 when 4-4-1-1 looks better. Intelligent players could adapt.
The players England have available are quite simply a product of the system in which they grew up. And that system hasn’t changed since 1966. Forget the blip of 1990. (England played well in one game of that tournament and that was the one they lost). There are 900 pro footy coaches in this country. There are 17,000 in Germany.
By and large English schoolkids get the same dumb-ass, brain-dead instruction from the age of 9. Emphasis is still placed on hoofing it long. They play on full size pitches where the big hoof reaps dividends (Miroslav Klose will explain how it works).
You learn from the womb whether you’re a midfielder or a centre-half and chances are that’ll never change. And woe betide you if you’re titchy like that midget Messi, or you bring the ball out from the back like you’re a fucking Brazilian, or you try a Ronaldo lollipop when your mates are expecting you to kick it in to the car-park and get rid.
For too many years we’ve been gasping like my missus during a Clooney movie at the technical genius of them foreign types. It’s not genius. It’s just that they learn how to use the ball properly. Every other nation left in this competition treat the ball as a friend. Our boys treat it like piss-soaked bus shelter in need of a good kicking.
In other words, WE ARE A BIT CRAP.
Now let’s enjoy some proper football and not tarnish our minds with giving the overpaid chumps a second thought. I love you, beer. Let’s never fall out again!