World Cup: the inquest begins


The morning after a bad England performance is usually a good time to be out of England, or at least out of reach of the papers. Jeremy Robson is out of England, but it doesn’t stop him entering rant mode. Never mind the controversy, he says, feel the lack of depth …

This year, I will be 50 years old and, for the first time in my life, I have been humiliated by my country.

Not let down, or disappointed, but humiliated. It’s as simple as that.

I didn’t expect England to win the World Cup, far from it. My expectations were not high. I wasn’t optimistic when I saw Capello’s squad and witnessed the preparations he was making while banking 6 million quid for the trouble.

When the machinations of the group left us to face the Germans in the last 16 it seemed like a good way to be able to leave South Africa. We’d put up a bit of a show, some fight. There’d be some grit and spirit, doubtless some controversy. This is obligatory against the Germans. We would lose, and gain some admiration for the manner of the loss. It would be typical England World Cup fare, out manoeuvred by the workmanlike efficiency of a well organised disciplined German outfit that we just couldn’t match.

But oh no! We were beaten by a team that really didn’t have to try that hard or play that well. Wilting like an uprooted daffodil as soon as Klose ran down the middle.

Our two forwards (three if you count Heskey and consider this waste of ectoplasm a forward), who didn’t get a shot on goal in an hour and a half. An apology of a winger that seemed to think that getting beyond the full back was beyond him. James Milner has the pace of a Trabant with a worn out clutch. He has the credentials for international football that would make Justin Timberlake look like a shoo-in should the surviving members of Led Zeppelin decide to reform without Robert Plant.

Humiliation isn’t the end of it. I was sat watching this game with my eight-year-old son who is experiencing the World Cup for the first time. He went quiet as the English collapse continued in the second half going to 3-1, and then he started to cry. His tears were more of bewilderment than anything else. At eight, your emotions all come out the same. It’s far too young to be feel humiliated by your national team. Thank goodness.

When I was nine, I watched my first World Cup. England’s team consisted of the two Bobbys: Charlton and Moore, with the former’s brother Big Jack, Alan Ball, Francis Lee, “Banks of England” in goal, and Norman Hunter. Legends of the game, men of principle of stout heart who justifiably earned the respect of the rank and file English football supporters. Contrast this with the pitiful excuses for men that wore and shamed the English shirt yesterday.

Today we have players with a predilection for anal stimulation with a mobile phone, another who paid for sex with grandmothers at a Merseyside brothel, and another that couldn’t keep his hands off a team mate’s missus. Is it any wonder it turned out like they did.

“Three lions on the shirt”: I wonder what three scroats would look like?

If any of this current crop had the intellect of a low fat yoghurt they would cringe at how they compare with their forbears. One of the most glaring observations that I made during this tournament was the complete lack of awareness that this lot had about the feelings of the average fan.

I really rather doubt whether any of them read much. On the rare occasion that they do they probably jump right to the end of an article or book to see if it has a happy ending. I hope that maybe one of them will read this in which case I have simple message for every one of them. I hope you feel as humiliated as the rest of us. Now f*** off!

9 thoughts on “World Cup: the inquest begins”

  1. Not much to smile at in the Dutch game. The second half is slightly more entertaining than the first but even their celebrations are ponderous. Roll on this afternoon’s match.

  2. “Oh, c’mon, Jeremy, fair’s fair. I know a couple of pubs that Rooney could get a game for. The Blind Beggar and the Lame Duck.”

    Thanks for making me smirk Bill. I can do with that this morning.

  3. The Dutch are not an entertaining side to watch. That was a loooong first half. I guess pragmatic might be the best description of their brand of football. Or dour. Or perhaps simply dull. Mind you, the Slovaks aren’t helping. This is a game with very little structural integrity.

  4. You have the feeling that Capello had some obligation to given them all a run out. That’s the only explanation, for his mystifying decisions other than complete cluelessness.

    Rarely if ever, have we watched a performance and concluded that there wasn’t anytihing remotely positive to come from this. Nothing at all. There isn’t a single player from yesterday that should wear an England shirt ever again. People are still saying that Rooney is World Class but just had a poor tournament. He’s not even pub class!

  5. The Holland team playing this afternoon are numbered 1 to 11. This indicates that the Dutch manager knew his best 11 before the tournament began and will play his strongest team as much as possible. The same cannot be said of Capello and England.

  6. Bent absolutely could have made a difference. All the supposed reasons that he wasn’t selected are the reasons he SHOULD have been on the team.
    Humiliated, Jeremy? These guys couldn’t even spell the word, let alone tell you what it means. What they’re best at is coming up with excuses for themselves. They’ll blame their entire performance on that disallowed goal. They’ll tell you they were robbed. That’s their story and they’ll stick to it.
    Rooney will say, straight-faced, that he didn’t think he had a bad World-Cup run. Capello, equally po-faced, will back him up. And then they’ll be outraged at the fans’ outrage.
    As I’ve said before, when I left England in 1973, I left. I don’t regard myself as English and I don’t support the national team. But I do support good football and I’ll applaud anyone who plays it. These guys? They couldn’t even give you a good game of blow football, let alone Subbuteo.

  7. Completely agree, Jeremy. Capello should lead the way and do the honourable thing and offer his resignation but he won’t.

    I’m so glad Darren wasn’t involved with this shower even though he could have made a massive difference, if played.

    My young, American, son was massively behind England. I really feel for him. I’m used to this shite. He can’t understand it.

    Can’t wait for next season to get started and put all of this behind us. Come on Quinn and Bruce, save all our souls…

  8. Sixer made a good point earlier in the World Cup, which Garth Crooks reiterated on UK TV this morning and that is that when playing in the Premiership, our so called English stars are surrounded by foreign players with skill, awareness, vision, tactical nous, intelligence, ambition and a passion for playing for their country. In the Premier League, the Best of English look better than they really are because of the quality around them.

    The money factor is relevant too, because most English players of ability go from working class streets to unbelievable wealth, at an age when most of us were deciding whether to revise for our exams or have another game of Subbuteo. I don’t care what anyone says, the fact that someone of relative immaturity has the money to have whatever he wants, must lead to an attitude that borders on complacency and a lack of desire in many blessed with the ability to control and kick a ball better than most. When you earn in a month, what the average worker earns in a lifetime, a win bonus can’t be that much of an incentive. And we are the mugs who go on paying for it with our SKY HD subscriptions, overpriced replica shirts and inflated ticket prices.

    You may argue whether or not these were the best available 23 players. It says a lot, and has been said a lot, that a squad that included Heskey (as a starter no less) cannot be that strong. But we had players who failed to perform and what is worse, showed little hunger or passion. Players who we are told are “The Golden Generation!” Rooney failed to turn up. Lampard despite scoring a good goal was ineffectual. Gerrard drifted in and out of the game. And whilst we were being told that John Terry was a rock against Slovenia (!?) am I the only one who thought his passing and distribution in that game was dreadful? Apart from that he was shown to be naive tactically and part of a back four whose positional sense was worse than that of many a non league side I have watched.

    Maybe the stoic Englishmen hid their passion, self belief and hunger in the stiff upper lip tradition, but if they did then they hid it really well. I couldn’t see it.

    Compare with the Argentineans in the later kick off. They may have seemed equally naive at the back but they showed urgency and commitment and a pride in playing for their national side.

    Haway Paraguay!

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