There’s constructive criticism, there’s the occasional understandable tantrum, and there’s downright cruelty to footballers. I thought
Pete Sixsmithhad already been as damning as it was possible to be in his assessment of England at group stage. But comparing yesterday to our worst times as Sunderland fans – has the man no heart? …
As Joan Dawson put it when the fourth goal went in: “We’re Sunderland fans, we are used to rubbish like this.” It didn’t make the abysmal performance seem any better, but it did throw things into perspective a wee bit.
Terry and Upson as Breen and Collins; Barry as Shaun Cunnington; Rooney as David Rush; Johnson as Cec Irwin, Steve Whitworth, Bernt Haas and any other ineffectual show pony full back you care to name … this was a performance that had me looking into the past and being able to equate the national team with all the worst things I have seen at Sunderland over the years.
It was a truly remarkable performance. That a “team” of allegedly world class players could perform with such ineptitude almost (to use a hoary old cliché) beggars belief.
The next time I see Terry or Upson or Rooney at the Stadium of Light, I will be reminded not of their strengths but of that miserable afternoon in Bloemfontein, where they showed not so much feet of clay as feet of cast iron.
The manager really should go. I thought Capello was the real thing, but he has not made one iota of difference to the smug, superior attitude of the players he has worked with. There are clearly huge flaws in his thinking and an amazing lack of imagination and flexibility in his tactics.
He should be sacked for replacing Defoe with Heskey when England went 4-1 down; I don’t think I have ever seen such a pointless, stupid and at the same time revealing substitution. It showed him up as a man who could not summon up anything other than what he had previously convinced himself of.
There will be a drip, drip of revelations from the squad, served up nicely in time for the Christmas book market, making rich men even richer and shifting the blame on to everyone but themselves.
Because the whole thing comes down to self inflated egos, stroked and massaged by press and TV which results in a world inhabited by super beings who have no contact with the mugs who watch them. This is a turning point for the Premier League and all the rubbish that inhabits it – the Ashleys, the Gary Cooks, the Glaziers and the Gilletts and the Hickses.
The boom that started in 1990 is over. Gazza’s tears from Italia 90 are about to be superseded by Rooney’s caustic comments as he left the field after the debacle against Algeria. The game has been caught out and demeaned by those who play it and those who control it.
This will have an effect at every level. Those who might have turned up at Sunderland half a dozen times a season will be less inclined to fork out to see the so called superstars.
The likes of Rooney, Terry, Lampard and Gerrard, underachievers to a man, will take some fearful stick from those who still turn up. The affection for the game will die in many people’s hearts as this lot start slinging mud at all and sundry and fail to look at themselves for the mess that the national team is in.
I said after the opening game that these players look good because they are coupled with excellent foreign players in their club sides and because they play to a set pattern every week. I am sure that Capello approached Scholes because he knew that he played a major part in making Rooney tick. He threaded the balls through, something that Barry, Lampard and Milner cannot do. As a result, Rooney comes for the ball himself, reducing his impact on the game.
Where do we go from here? Capello will go sooner rather than later. This is the end of Terry, James and a number of others. Young players need to be encouraged – Adam Johnson, Ashley Young, Jordan Henderson, Stuart Downing are names that spring to mind. Whoever takes on the role of head coach needs to get out of London and the poisonous media that pushes players from fashionable clubs at the expense of the Darren Bents of this world. Will it happen? Don’t hold your breath.