Supporting England

For English, European and World football topics.
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Post by Scottish » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:26 am

the hibLOG wrote:I have also just read a claim that the FA lost the consignment of Jabulani footballs sent to them at the beginning of the year, preventing the squad familiarising themselves with them in advance of the tournament. Bad workmen and their tools, and all that.
I read that as well. It left me wondering how badly strapped for cash the FA must be that they couldn't afford another delivery.

I'm surprised the Souness claim hasn't been given more traction in the press. Possibly because it was made on the 'backwater' of RTE in Dublin rather than the BBC & ITV sets in South Africa.

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Supporting England

Post by Snuff » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:26 pm

Anent Souness's theory.

In middle distance athletics (1500 - 10000 metres), the top runners tend to be Africans who live at altitude: Kenyans, Ethiopians etc. Top sea level athletes such as Paula Radcliffe therefore live and at altitude for most of the year to try to nullify this natural advantage - Radcliffe lives mostly in Arizona.

There is therefore an advantage when coming down from altitude to run at sea level, so obviously the reverse should be the case when going up to altitude, as England have done.

However, I vaguely remember some research was done prior to a Lions Tour to South Africa and received wisdom was something along the lines of, the Lions, being used to playing at sea level should go out to South Africa early and go straight to altitude for two weeks - then move to sea level at Cape Town for ten days, before going back to altitude. Apparently this was the best way to avoid the bad effects of switching.

As I say, it was some years ago and I'm now a bit vague on it. But England did have that horror game v Algeria after a spell on the High Veldt, so maybe they got the timing wrong.

Or perhaps, and more likely - they're not half as good as they think they are.
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Post by problemchild » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:34 pm

Did anyone else see Garth Crooks doing his nut on BBC3 after Nigeria went out? He was like an articulate Ian Wright.

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Post by Scottish » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:41 pm

problemchild wrote:Did anyone else see Garth Crooks doing his nut on BBC3 after Nigeria went out? He was like an articulate Ian Wright.
Garth "England were playing against twelve men out there and one of them was Swiss" (speaking about referee Urs Meier in Euro 2004)Crooks?

No, never saw that. Was busy switching between the two games but managed to catch Yakubu winning the best Chris Iwelumo impersonation award.

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Re: Supporting England

Post by the hibLOG » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:49 pm

Snuff wrote:Anent Souness's theory. etc
Yes, but Souness's point is that it takes a while for your body to start recovering and getting used to the altitude after an initial period of decline lasting 3 or 4 weeks. So if you live and train at altitude you will be over that and getting the benefit. As he said, back at pre-season training after a month in Mexico he was flying. Just ask George McCluskey how far over the ball he was. :wink:
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Supporting England

Post by Snuff » Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:49 am

About Garth Crooks: some years ago, after work, we were discussing Garth Crooks in the pub and one of the guys - he was from Johnstone so we had to make allowances - said: "Garth Crooks, what does a country singer know about football?"

That said, Garth Brooks would probably be a more coherent commentator than the ex-Spurs man.

AS for Yakuba's 'Chris Iwelumo moment'; I thought Yakuba's miss was worse than big Chris's; Chris was off-balance because, being Scottish and wan fittit, he had to use his right, when the chance fell to his left foot. The Nigerian is naturally two-footed and was balanced when he missed, but at least, he can blame the ball.
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Re: Supporting England

Post by Scottish » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:36 am

Snuff wrote: That said, Garth Brooks would probably be a more coherent commentator than the ex-Spurs man.
They both have "Friends In Low Places."

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Post by Snuff » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:03 am

Friends in low places - nice one David.

But any more like that and I'll send some of the Cumnock Academy kids, including Number One Grandson, who are on holiday in Barcelona this week round to see you.
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Re: Supporting England

Post by Scottish » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:06 am

Snuff wrote: "Garth Crooks, what does a country singer know about football?"
Even worse when they stick to sports they do know

Bobby Bare

Hope they're enjoying themselves. Weather not too great today (warm though) and public holiday tomorrow so everything shut. Big fireworks displays tonight.

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Post by Scottish » Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:39 pm

I suppose that's the Souness theory debunked. If anything it was Slovenia who played like a side at their lowest point. Or was it the merciless hammering they endured in their 0-1 thrashing by the World champions-to-be that just made them look that bad?

At any rate it seems a shame not to show this pic, courtesy of the Telegraph, which would have adorned a million bedroom walls had the Slovenes done the business.

Image

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Post by Snuff » Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:48 pm

As I said before: I didn't think the Slovenians believed they could beat England. That's the impression I got throughout.

Technically, Slovenia's players were better, but it was as if they never thought they could win.

Just watched a good German team beat a Ghanaian team which was better than anything England faced. All the match lacked was the sight of the supposed family at war: the Boeteng brothers disputing a 50/50 ball in midfield.

Then, at the end, Kevin Keegan immediately tips England to beat them.

Given his tipping record, that's great news for Germany.

It also allows me to continue the country music thread - England's team song is surely Mac Davis's "Oh Lord It's Hard To Be Humble, When You're Perfect In Every Way."
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Post by Scottish » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:20 pm

Snuff wrote:
It also allows me to continue the country music thread - England's team song is surely Mac Davis's "Oh Lord It's Hard To Be Humble, When You're Perfect In Every Way."
Just as long as it isn't Hank Williams and 'You Win Again' or Emmylou Harris's 'Easy From Now On'

I'd go for Asleep At The Wheel's version of 'There Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens' though I’m sure there are plenty of country songs that could apply to England. The old gospel song “I’ll Fly Away” is appropriate for the match on the Sabbath.

For John Terry -See The Big Man Cry or Oh Lonesome Me or Big Bad John
Capello - Take This Job And Shove It or Man Of Constant Sorrow or He'll Have To Go
Gazza - Crying Time or Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain
Anyone left out of the squad - Heartaches By The Numbers
Players dropping like sacks of spuds to win fouls - Please Help Me I'm Falling
Jamie Carragher - All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down
David Beckham - Am I That Easy To Forget
Joe Cole - You're Free To Go or When Will I Be Loved
Robert Green - Have Mercy or Why Me, Lord?
Wayne Bridge - Why Have You Left The One You Left Me For
The whole squad - Outbound Plane

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Re: Supporting England

Post by Scottish » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:11 am

Snuff wrote:
I don't know about that, but I certainly feel Friday night in Cape Town was maybe England's Iran.
Time to revisit this, I think. Perhaps not Iran but this tournament certainly SHOULD be their 1978. Travelling on a wave of false optimism, fed by a coach who believed (at least in public) his players were far better than they actually were, a humiliating defeat, one encouraging but ultimately meaningless victory, exiting in the last 16 amid stories of squad disharmony and a press turned feral in calling for the manager's head. It all adds to the Iran/Algeria comparison.

I think it is actually a good thing for England that they were humiliated rather than just beaten. The latter would have allowed them to make Frank Lampard a reverse 21st century Geoff Hurst and add this failure to the long list of others which have (allegedly) been the result of cheating foreigners, dodgy officials and poor managers.

If they don't sit down after this and think long and hard about their position in the pecking order then they never will, thus dooming every future squad to the unrealistic expectations of being potential tournament winners when there is absolutely nothing to back it up.

There is only one way for England to have any chance of winning the World Cup in the foreseeable future and that's the way they did it the last time. Tournament at home, good management, decent players on the whole but with a couple of outstanding ones to call on when it counts.

They might be able to get all of those except the last because there is no one on the horizon and pity any if there were. They'd be subject to the Gazza/Beckham/Rooney/Walcott press treatment and a media gaze that grows more intense each passing year.

As the press rather belatedly seems to have recognised (it took them ten years to realise they didn't have an international goalkeeper worth the name) this is the end of the line for the non-performers. With the exception of Rooney their big name players will be too old come 2014 and in any case the odds against any European country winning in Brazil are high, let alone one with no tournament pedigree.

There is no one coming through the ranks as Trevor Brooking admits. The future is dim. It may even be that in the years ahead people begin to hark back to the 'Golden Age' of Sven-Goran Eriksson when England not only qualified with ease they reached the last eight in three tournaments running - the only England manager to do so since Alf Ramsey!

I hope they just don't opt for the 'blame the manager' option. Capello arrived with a huge reputation and great track record. But, as Marcello Lippi also found out, these don't count for much if the material you have to work with can't be changed through judicious use of the transfer market.

Capello though did make mistakes. Not knowing who his best keeper was, chopping and changing in a seeming panic (Carragher is the man to replace Ferdinand/King, no he isn't, yes he is, no he isn't, Heskey must play alongside Rooney, no, throw on Crouch, maybe Defoe, Crouch again, nah, back to Heskey, Milner must play, no, get him off now, Milner must play).

You might not be able to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear but you should at least produce a half-edible pork pie.

Clever bloke though. Not just scrapping the 'sacking' clause of his contract BEFORE the World Cup but his ability to speak and understand perfect English when things are going well yet change to using an interpreter when things go awry, thus giving him more time to prepare his answers (aside - I was told many years ago the best way to cover a poor interview response was to swear loudly into the microphone, thus forcing the reporter to rewind the tape and ask the question again, giving you thirty seconds to prepare a response. Tip: not recommended for live interviews).

I do think there is something to the idea that being cooped up together for weeks on end had an effect. Some countries seem to take to this no problem but as France, not just this time, and Holland, in the past, have shown, having over twenty young men kept in purdah for weeks on end is not ideal. Anyone who has experienced anything similar will tell you the same story - best friends become worst enemies, trivial incidents balloon out of all proportion, frustrations develop, factions emerge. So the idea that the martinet Capello was a refreshing change from the past when away for a few days in qualifiers but a nightmare when stuck with for six weeks seems plausible to me.

That said, other countries seem to cope. Germany, Brazil, Argentina, never seem to be plagued by internal discontent while it never sees to be far away from the French, Dutch & Irish.

Perhaps players from countries with an authoritarian tradition prosper in these circumstances? In any case it must be a difficult job to tell a multi-millionaire in his mid-twenties that. no, he can't go for a pint, a drive or play any sport which might cause injury.

Maintaining focus and discipline for weeks on end is not easy no matter who is in charge or the approach adopted.

So, either Capello struggles on, as Ally McLeod did back in 1978, just one bad defeat away from dismissal. Or England turn to someone new. Names mentioned are Roy Hodgson - good club record and also international one but in his 60s and more likely to steady the ship rather than make real progress. The 'Ron Greenwood' option for the 21st century. Or Harry Redknapp or Sam Allardyce. God help them if either. It would be back to the 'we're English, they don't like it up 'em' mentality in a minute.

Perhaps they could take a leaf out of another country's book and look at an appointment which seemed ridiculous at the time but is working out fine right now - Diego Armando Maradona.

I don't mean the man himself - though that would be fun - but that type of appointment. A national hero, most skilled player of his generation, never out of the headlines for long, even after his playing career has ended. A man who can overcome the greatest of adversity, from weight problems to substance abuse and dependency and can ignore decades of scornful headlines. A man with a poor record in club management at a low level but who can respond to his country's call with gusto

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Step forward England's Maradona - Paul John Gascoigne!

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Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:47 pm

Perhaps Craig Levein is the wrong man for Ecosse, a Scotland vs. England match with Gascoigne in the visitors` dug out & either James Callaghan Charnley or William McClure Johnston in ours would be a treat.

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Post by Alan McCabe » Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:38 pm

Let's be honest here and declare, even allowing for our disdain towards everything English when World Cup Finals come around, we saw this coming a mile off!

Yet, listening to the various radio and television phone-ins, the English press, players, managers and supporters still, on the whole, don't get it....they ain't anywhere near as good as they think they are.

A big part of this, I reckon, is the veritable propaganda machines that masquerade as Sky Sports and Match of the Day on BBC. Incessant declarations of "Best players in the world", "Best League in the World", "Most exciting football in the World" are stated with such frequency that the watching public actually believe it as footballing gospel. The Premiership currently, IIRC, leads on only one level now, ignoring the subjective titles, namely "the most bankrupt league in the world". Germany has overtaken in both attendances and profitability, the latter a direct result of their strict rules on fiscal club management.

The foreign contingent playing down south inevitably have an effect on the national team's chances also. I was debating at work with someone old enough to recall the halcyon days of the 'Inter League' matches and asked just how many Englishmen could conceivably be picked in a squad of 16 if the 'Football League', using its antiquated title, was to compete once more. I think fewer than 5 English players would be selected which is a damning indictment of the current regime.

Money talks though, and through Sky TVs continuous multi-million pound propping up of the whole Greed-is-Good League (as aptly described by Brian Glanville), nothing is likey to change in the near future. In three months time, thanks to those propaganda machines cranking back into operation, few Anglos will even be bothering as they laud a new fresh group of foreigners ripping the defences of Top-20 World clubs such as Wigan, Blackpool and Wolves to pieces while such luminaries as Mark 'part-time comedian' Lawrenson, Lee 'playing in the hole' Dixon and Jamie 'we was robbed' Redknapp tell everyone how rosy the garden is.

One final point of a truly nationalistic nature - I wouldn't mind a crack at the English with our own national side just now (I'd love to hear Lineker say "You wouldn't swap any of ours for theirs" when he loses that debate easily with the very first selection!).

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