World Cup: just one more thing Robert

Actually, this won’t be quite the last word on Robert Green’s fumble. Indeed, Jeremy Robson argues, it will haunt the poor man forever – though he feels the blame actually lies elsewhere. Step forward, Mr Capello. …

Quite why English players and managers wait until they reach a World Cup finals to press the self destruct button, who knows?

Robert Green has committed himself to cameo clips for the next several decades.

As Pete Sixsmith has most eloquently reminded us of telling and memorable moments which defined previous tournaments, the world’s public will need no prompting to recall Green’s career defining error. It will feature alongside Maradona’s handball, the Zaire player hoofing the ball away at a free kick in West Germany in 1974, Cruyff’s turn, Zidane’s head butt together with a host of other comical, ridiculous as well as wonderful moments.

You can try and forget about it Robert, try all you want, but you won’t.

Even if there was the slightest chance that you can put it behind you, then you will be constantly reminded of it every time you look at youtube or when the World Cup comes around.

Green is arguably the poorest of the three goalkeepers that England have taken to the World Cup. The pundits have been harping on about the lack of an English goalkeeper who is “world class.” They are frankly missing the point.

The hundreds of millions, watching the England v USA game must have wondered where this clown had been unearthed. It didn’t require a “World Class” goalkeeper to stop Clint Dempsey’s shot.

A pub goalkeeper would normally be adequate, or the bloke who plays in the stiffs for Dagenham & Redbridge, or even the bloke who keeps goal for the Black Horse on a Sunday morning after half a dozen pints of Stella the night before.

All sorts of excuses have been trotted out already. “But what about his save in the second half?” some have said.

Sorry folks, but it doesn’t wash, and whatever he did for the remainder of the game, or achieves in the rest of the tournament will not assuage this national embarrassment.

If it is any consolation to Robert Green, he can rest assured that his is not the first howler committed in a World Cup, and he can be pretty sure that it won’t be England’s last, either. That is why he is there. It’s rather like praising the linesman for being able to lift his flag.

Apologists for Green have thankfully been few in number, as there is no excuse for what happened. Neither Capello nor the England back four could possibly have any confidence in Green after what happened yesterday. As I once heard a Sunderland fan comment many years ago during a game in which Gordon Chisholm was having a particularly bad afternoon: “It’s not you son, it’s them that pick yer!”

There are those who may blame Capello, If you’re taking three goalkeepers to the World Cup with a combined age just under 70, without either of them being the established number 1, then it is probably time to look elsewhere. He handed it to Green. Unfortunately both the responsibility as well as the ball was too hot to handle.

32 thoughts on “World Cup: just one more thing Robert”

  1. Jeremy – one more thing – if you’re not bothered by it – why are you writing about it? Just a thought


    And from Salut! Sunderland: thanks gentlemen, but that’s about all for now …

  2. Why are you giving me your resume? Do you seek to impress me? Born and raised in the north east for 25 years and you support FRANCE. I’ll leave your personality assessment to everyone elses judgement.

    Is that your best shot Bill – “your humour’s pathetic”?? Your experience in the field of writing is undermined somewhat by your lack of contribution to creativity.

    Yes – I’ll have the last word. Thank you youngster. My last word is to Geraldine. Why are you crawling up the bum of a turn-coat? He’s probably wearing black and white – let me tell yer. Nice bit of “artist” dropping there – a vane attempt to elevate your dwindling status!!

    You two boys are a tick on my skin. This is way too easy for me. Please for the love of Jihosapher – give me something to retaliate.

    PS – I am a genius – good spot Jer.

  3. I’d still be trying to figure out the water’s wet and the sky is blue Bill, if I could be bothered that is.

    This whole thread has developed a mystical Salvador Dali type feel to it.

    Maybe Martin’s a genius, but I’m not confident about that.

  4. Born and raised in north-east England; left when I was 25. Canadian by choice. Worked in the Brit press on staff for seven years, freelance for many years after that.
    English humour? I don’t think so. English humour’s quite often funny. Yours is just pathetic.
    Okay, you go ahead now and have the last word. It’s only fair to let you win something.

  5. By the way – I live in Vancouver. All of my Canadian friends have brains and they are supporting a team that with innate ability who historically under-perform due to mental weakness caused by over expectancy.

    Their allegiance can be explained by their heritage, and also because they choose to support a team that don’t cheat, and fall over like pansies when they’ve not been touched. Ooh – did I say that?

  6. Oh my giddy aunt. Now I’ve heard it all.

    How can you – as a Canadian (now the les-bleus thing makes a lot of sense) POSSIBLY speak intelligently about our press. It’s not a fixation – it’s a fact. The teams inability is far from “innate”. If your knowledge of “soccer” is on par with your knowledge of sheep, you would know that.

    When we get knocked out of the world cup – go see the reporting for yourself first hand. I’m guessing that you are from Quebec or Montreal – which explains a lot about your personality.

    The second paragraph is called English humour. You wouldn’t understand. Keep ’em coming Willie. You are mine for the taking. Marty x

  7. It’s not my national side. I’m Canadian.

    What don’t I understand? Two things:

    Your fixation with the idea that it’s the press that’s keeping your national side in the gutter and not the team’s innate lack of ability, poor coaching and even worse selection.

    And also this: “Allegedly boys, sheep have lubricants and a desert is a lush green pasture – but I was told that by a skeptical grandfather of a journalist – there’s probably nothing in it.”

    But it’s okay; no need at all to explain.

  8. If I was Bill, Heskey would be playing lawn bowls in Wolverhampton, and Rob Green wouldn’t have to face having his pants ripped off and having his bottom beaten by a barge pole. Why? Because Super-Daz would have come off the bench and taken that chance Heskey missed – England would have won, and Green’s mistake would be less relevant.

    What is it that you don’t understand? Like everyone else, I am disappointed by Englands’ performance the other day. But the way it is in Old Blighty is thus: The press seek to ridicule under-achievers, and hound the life and soul out of them in the process. Inevitably, this destroys self belief, and impacts performance. I’m no psychologist, but it’s obvious. Are you denying that this could impact on ability and performance? You’re a journalist right? You know how it is.

    Ask yourself this question. Why do our national side, despite all the unquestionable talent, NEVER perform to their capabilities? They are under tremendous pressure of expectation – thats why. And I believe that if we could convince our gutter dwelling press to shift their attitude, and to report in more of a supportive manner, the pressure would “lessen”, and performances might improve.

    Now – leave your dog leash under the plant pot – and I’ll take him for a walk too.

  9. Is confusion a daily ritual for both of you? A “smiley face” always adds substance to slapstick, I always find.
    Allegedly boys, sheep have lubricants and a desert is a lush green pasture – but I was told that by a skeptical grandfather of a journalist – there’s probably nothing in it.

  10. Nobody’s saying that contributors to Salut Sunderland shouldn’t have they’re say about Green. Even Freddy makes reference to his mistake. The point is this. Historically we (as a nation) mindlessly and systematically berate our team. If the emphasis was more towards supporting, I am pretty sure performances and therefore results would improve. But that’s not going to happen – is it? One great thing about Sunderland fans is they are humble, forgiving and sometimes even appreciative in defeat – especially when their team has given their all. Ask the players what that does for them – and their confidence. Patience and support leads to greater mental strength, leads to fulifilling potential, leads to results, leads to a nice gold world cup. It’s a simple equation, but we in England are committed to over-critical negative persona. That’s all!

  11. No wish to intrude on an entertaining private spat.

    But FreddyFreddy, whose comment has just appeared (sorry, but spam threat means people who haven’t commented in the past have to await moderation) can be reassured that we are indeed getting behind our boys – they’ve got an easy opener against Italy this evening.

    Concentratiing on one man’s mistake is no more surprising when it’s a goalkeeper whose clanger costs us a win than concentrating on pilot error when the plane crashes on landing. The pilot may have had an exemplary flight up to that point, but will not be remembered for that. Harsh, but true. Outfield players also make all sorts of mistakes during games, but only the very worst – a glaring missed sitter or crazy own goal – are likely to stick in the mind as long, and attract as much comment, as the goalie’s fumble. It’s the territory the keeper accepts when he chooses it as his position. Every football fan in England will have had his or her say on Green, so there’s no reason on earth why three contributors to Salut! Sunderland shouldn’t too. That doesn’t mean we don’t sympathise with him.

  12. Well let’s face it – you have to be grateful for something – or do you need me to explain that too? Come on Geraldine – surely you’ve got a little more in your locker than that? Give me something I can get my teeth into.

  13. Jerry – you large oaf!! Is that the best you can do – “Fartin” – who’s the schoolboy son – Robert Green, or you!!! I had to deal with that ryhming analogy lots in my youth, but I thought those days were gone! You are easy fodder for me Sunshine. Bring it on. You are my lamb to the slaughter. Frankly ape, I don’t know how to simplify it any more. There’s a big difference between you and Bill. Bill has the nouse to accept a point when it’s made with a degree of pertinence. He accepts it in good humour, and he knows very well that if he went to a desert he would “happen across” some sand. Despite his chosen career path, I’m also pretty sure he knows (without checking) that there’s wool on a sheep – but what Bill is prepared for is that there are some sheep prone to hereditary baldness, or occasional alopecia. We share the same surname Jer, but alas not the same intellect. Keep on trying to figure it out me old mate. But never forget this. Water is wet, the sky is blue, and you, sir, are a trifle dim.

  14. I am still trying to figure out the argument that’s being presented here. England are weak because of the media. On the contrary I think that problem is that the mediocre are being talked up into being world beaters when they fundamentally are not They perform badly, but must not be criticised. Is that what you are saying “Fartin”?

  15. Chest guards? Absolutely! I believe the Zidane header is taught these days in all the best French académies du football.
    Yes, I understand now, merci beaucoup. But you must understand that, as a journalist, I would not certainly take on face value that there is sand in the desert or wool on a sheep. It’s always best to check. As my late, very lamented grandfather (I believe the original Sunderland fan in my family) often used to say: “Believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see.”

  16. Hi Bill

    Well, allow me to para-phrase it for you! The “Jerry’ reference was “tongue in cheek”. Hope that helps.
    We have every right to be critical of a bad team performance like the one we witnessed yesterday. But I am talking about the bigger picture, and trying to explain why we do so badly against weaker opposition. We have a habit of “crucifying” our players publicly. Put yourself in their position. They would give their right nut and a Raleigh Grifter to win the world cup, and when they make a mistake they are mortified. Can you proclaim to know how Robert Green must be feeling?? He didn’t do it on purpose – however perplexing and gut wrenching it was to all of us. I just don’t see the point in hanging Green out to dry for the next few decades because he made a mistake in the first game. We do that because that’s how we are indoctrinated. And in that respect we are not very bright! I classify England as “no-hopers” not because they don’t have the prerequisite ability, but because they are mentally weaker than some of their opponents – and that mental weakness will lead to defeat. If we the public, and the press demonstrated more support prior to, during and even after the competition, thereby limiting the pressure on the players, I think we would perform more to our capabilities. No matter how much they are paid, or how “pampered” they are – they are still mere mortals and the pressure they are subjected to is way greater than most other nations. If you dispute this assertion, you are probably the type that would deny that there is sand in the desert, or wool on a sheep. I believe that we mercilessly hound our sporting hero’s and that has consequences when they have to perform. Do you understand now Mr Les-bleus fan? I hear that all of Frances opponents have been encouraged to wear chest guards – is this true?

  17. Rooney looked anything but master-class against the U.S. But I’m not sure what Martin is saying here. He seems both to be calling for the uncritical support of England’s poor, pampered (and in one or two cases appallingly selected) darlings and at the same time dismissing them (quite rightly) as no-hopers. Not sure what he’s saying about Jeremy, either, though that “Jerry” sounds ominous.
    Ah well, good thing I support — without a great deal of optimism — les Bleus.
    Meanwhile, for an interesting and entertaining take on the Dutch — in a broader context, too — may I call some attention to:–kelly-dutch-looking-to-turn-page-on-history-of-failure?bn=1

  18. You’re right Jeremy – Green should not keep net for England. After his gaff he shouldn’t play for the Pig and Whistle. But he made a mistake. He’ll be lambasted forever more for it, but what’s done is done. Like I said – we haven’t got a snowball in Hells chance of getting very far and I believe it is because we are mentally weak. We have the best midfield in the world and Rooney is masterclass. But when it comes to mental strength we are light years behind Germany, Brazil, Italy, even South Korea!! We always under-perform and “cave” under the pressure. Our media is the most vindictive and relentless in the entire world – bar none. That creates huge pressure and adds to the weight of expectation on our already fragile players and partially accounts for the dire performances and results. Sorry if that’s a little complex for you Jerry. I genuinely beleive that supporting rather than berating will bring results – but that’s not the English way. Yes – lets follow your example and tear Robert Green to bits. Yes – that’s the intelligent thing to do. Let’s ignore the disgraceful performance against a side with a quater of the talent, and focus on a mishandling incident. Good call.

  19. articles like this do no more than simply fuel the negative and downbeat mentality that often sees us out of a major tournament.

    give it a rest – getting on rob green’s back doesn’t help anyone. yes, he made a mistake, but you’re talking as if he’s just lost us the world cup.

    he hasn’t. we’re just 90mins into the tournament.

    we need to get behind our side, not wait for every single mistake and immediately jump on their backs, cursing our ‘bad luck’.

    how many articles have you published here criticising green? you’ll have the mail and the mirror fighting over you signature soon.

    get behind your country and your team.

    have a read of this

  20. England won’t be feeling any happier after watching the German rout of Australia — lovely to watch the way they run off the ball and create space. No wonder Luke Wiltshire looked so worried throughout the game. Rather hard on Tim Cahill when he was red-carded by referee Marco Rodriguez, who bore an almost frightening resemblance to Christopher Lee as Dracula.

  21. Martin

    I agree. The performance was an embarrassment, apart from Green’s howler. I said elsewhere on this site that England have a team that would frighten the life out of Honduras or Tristan da Cunha and I still stand by that comment. It was a very poor side selected from what I think is a poorly selected squad with no creativity in the middle of the park and strikers who have failed to deliver at league level (Rooney apart) for the last league season. Yesterday was no surprise, but saying that we were poor anyway does not excuse Green’s horror show. Wait and see if you see something like that from the keepers from Italy, Germany, Holland and Brazil. We can discuss what we see right here in 29 days time.

  22. It’s easy and predictable to jump on the Robert Green bashing bandwaggon. You’re missing the real point. On paper our team was infinitely better than the US, yet the dross they dished out yesterday was to me, way more shameful than one individual mistake. On of my friends said “that was a schoolboy error” I disagreed – a schoolboy would have saved it. But it was a mistake – he’s a human being. We should be debating why England always fail, both in terms of results and performance. Yesterdays performance (or lack thereof) was a monumental embarrassment – period.

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