There are no EBAC Northern League friendlies to tempt him out of the house this month and Durham’s attempts to retain the County Championship seemed destined to be thwarted by the weather, so with only Rugby League and reruns of Midsummer Murders to occupy him, Peter Sixsmith takes a break from determining the futures of some of the nation’s finest to share his thoughts on the forthcoming World Cup, the loss of a dependable member of the SAFC playing staff and the break up of the Eastern bloc.
RIMET – COLBACK – KRENZ
Not a bad half back line for those of us old enough to remember half back lines. They appear together because the three of them have taken up a fair proportion of my thoughts over the last few weeks and I feel a screaming need to write about them.
Let’s start with Jules Rimet. He is the man to thank for the extravaganza about to get under way in Brazil. He was the President of the French Football Federation who came up with the idea of the World Cup 84 years ago. He went on to become President of FIFA and was probably a tad more respected than Sepp Blatter is now. Being called racist by the likes of Blatter is akin to being called ugly by a frog. (Good job there’s no capital letter or that would have been racist! – Ed :-))
It all kicks off on Thursday and I am struggling to work up any enthusiasm about it. There are no wall charts pinned up around Sixsmith Towers. The Union Flag does not fly from the South Turret. Bunting does not drape the trees in the deer park. Pardew the butler has hinted at replacing the trusty Ecko 17” black and white with a more up to date set (he rather fancies a 20” Ferguson) but it will have to come out of his wages.
I will watch most of the games but I no longer seem to know any of the players who are playing. Time was I could reel off the Costa Rican midfield as easily as Michael Gove can dash off an article for The Times, but age and cynicism has meant that I no longer know which clubs the entire Dutch squad play for or who is Iran’s dead ball specialist.
I will be looking out for Greece as Sixsmith Minor lives there, Bosnia because I think that they have done remarkably well to get there and the USA just to see if Jozy can hit the back of the net.
As for England, I hope they do well because I genuinely like Roy Hodgson. Of the players in the squad the only one I dislike intensely is Lampard and they have Jordan Henderson. But I fear they will struggle to get out of the group.
As for Jack Colback, there has been much discussion about him in the North East over the last few days. Most Sunderland supporters are saying that he is an average player, most Newcastle fans are suggesting that this is an emotional homecoming on a par with Stanley Matthews returning to Stoke City. The truth, as always, probably lies in the middle.
The statement that the club put out is quite scathing with regard to our former mid field player. In a game where truth and honesty are usually locked in the cellar along with the mad aunt and her crazy son, it was refreshing to read a good, old fashioned piece of bile on the club web site. It was clear that they thought that he had pulled a fast one and that he and his agent have been economical with the truth with regards to him signing or even being interested in a new contract. Words like “leaves a bitter taste”, to “leave in such a manner” and “extremely disappointed” are polite ways of calling him an ungrateful and dishonest wretch. But, he had the right to leave and if he chooses to work for Newcastle United that is his prerogative. I never liked him anyway.
And the third one? Well done if you knew that he was the man who pulled down the curtain on the German Democratic Republic. Of 302 GCSE candidates whose answer papers have been marked by the servants, only two of the candidates mentioned him. Pardew even attempted to sign him for the Estate team but decided against it when he realised that Egon’s goal scoring record was on a par with that of Luuk de Jong.
Ah well – back to the grindstone.
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