notes from a rum soaked England fan…

The end of the road…

I was appalled when Steve Mclaren was given the top job in the wake of our failure at the 2006 world cup tournament. Shocked even. Because he was obviously unsuited to the role…I remember his last game as Boss of Boro. A 4-0 mauling at the hands of Spanish conquistadors, Seville…It was of course a great achievement to get Boro to the final, but to see any team capitulate in such brutal fashion, in what was undoubtedly the highest ground many of the Boro players are ever to reach, was disgusting. I was very unimpressed.

As Fergie’s number two at United, Mclaren excelled, proving his worth as the Reds developed into the most powerful team in the country. But as the first team coach at Boro, he did not show the guile, character or style which is required to be successful as Top Man at any important club…Perhaps he is a world class Number Two, and a woeful Number One…Only time will tell…What is for sure, however, more-so after tonight’s pitiful showing against Croatia, is that Steve Mclaren has been, for several reasons, the worst England Manager I have had the misfortune of having to support.

It was not just the scoreline of the 2-3 home defeat suffered this evening, on our own turf, against the well organized Croatians, which sickened but didn’t surprise me, it was the performance…We gave the world football. Maintained our position for decades as one of the always decent, now and then superb, international teams, but now, 7 years into the 21s century, we are wretched…

Worse than the unforgivable failure to qualify from a group which contained only one other team who can be considered a threat to any of the greatest sides in the world, is the manner which we went down tonight. There was no passion, no grit, no pride…Those three attributes are essential for any team who want to win a match. Without them, even the most wonderful collection of players cannot perform anywhere near to finding the sum of their collected parts…

Lampard and Gerrard, at club level are quality players, now and then dipping into rich veins of form which makes them unstoppable, unplayable, and ultimately world class. Yet when they play for their country, they change into average players who, at times, would have trouble getting into the Gillingham FC starting XI…Though Beckham’s teeth are lengthening, he can still piss in a pint glass from 50 yards, and for that reason alone, he is an essential part of any plan to beat world class opposition. Yet, after the 2006 World Cup, one of the first major decisions of the then newly crowned England Manager, was to send unarguably the finest player this country has had over the last half decade or so, into exile…That didn’t make sense at the time to me…Relinquishing Beckham of his Captaincy duties and demoting him to a squad player would have been enough of a symbol to herald Mclaren’s intention of bringing in the youth to replace the Old Guard. But he went further, axing from the squad the one player from our team who was capable of consistently performing at least one essential element of the beautiful game, namely Distribution…He has no pace, little chance of successfully taking players on with the ball at his feet and the mentality of an 7 year old sweet natured townie, but Beckham’s vast repertoire and god given talent of Passing a football to any position on the pitch- often just with one touch from his blessed toes, as was seen tonight when he set up Crouchy’s strike- is simply amazing…All the greatest teams have a defensive system which combines brute strength, military organization, wise minds which can read the flow of the game for 90 minutes and Heart. To break down such formidable human barricades, a team must have a player capable of Magic or impeccable passing technique and vision. The only player we have like that is David Beckham…Though flashes reported to be Rooney’s star have been spotted, the brightness of which is said to be blinding, his position in the celestial realms as the most special player wearing an English shirt, is yet to be confirmed…I remember feeling such compassion for Beckham, when I read the story of Mclaren calling him to let him know he was out. I imagined the tears welling up inside him as his former mentor at Old Trafford informed him that not only had he lost his captain’s armband but that he was OUT THE SQUAD…At that point, I considered almost daily, for a week or two, that Mclaren should be hung, on charges of Treason…That isn’t how I feel now.

I can point the finger at the lack of opportunities afforded to young English players in the top flight of our domestic football leagues as a possible reason for the current State of Things, but that is an area which can’t, due to European law, be changed…It is easy to misjudge the quality of our football when the Premiership is one of the most lucrative footballing products on the globe. TV audiences may well prove that there is exciting, attractive football played in this country but how many of the players who regularly wow the hoardes of Premiership addicts stationed all around the planet, are English***…Other than John Terry, whose injury problems have forced him into missing large chunks of playing time over the last year, only Gerrard and Rooney could make that group, and they are both currently outshone by the likes of Berbatov, Ronaldo, Adebayor, Vidic, Robbie Keane, Ryan Nelson, Van Persie…With European Law demanding free movement of trade and services, as long as certain rules are met, it is impossible to limit the amount of foreign players in English domestic clubs. The flood of foreign football imports over the last decade has made it harder and less likely for a home grown british footballer to rise to the top and become a national hero…Financial aspects of the game have intensified to such staggering levels that Club football has overtaken the national game in this country. That is where the Money is…The Premiership is the main focus of the top players in England…Sadly, the logical reasoning points to the suggestion that English players are materialistic, money grabbing tossers, who care more for their weekly wage packet, which could finance a humble lifestyle like my own for 20 years, than they do for their nation…Maybe there is more to this than meets the eye of a mere glance. Maybe this lack of passion and pride at being English and flying the flag on a global level, is indicative of an identity crisis decaying at the very foundations of what it means to be English…

We need a new Manager. Whether Mclaren wants to leave or not is irrevelant. He should count himself mighty lucky not to be standing, right now, in front of a firing squad…Who will replace him, is more of a riddle. Because all the Top managers are currently employed elsewhere…except, the cigar smoking, silver haired Paul Newman lookalike, Marcello Lippi, and a maverick, amusingly arrogant, Portuguese Man At War named Jose Mourinho…I doubt Lippi would want the job, there is more chance he will replace Donadoni as the Italian Allenatore…As for Mourinho, he might just accept it, if offered, but his volatile, abrasive personality and style may be too much for the FA to deal with. They are Suits, who place too much emphasis in their thinking, on Image, when all that really matters is Substance…Out of the English managers, nobody seems qualified for the job. We must look further afield when deciding who we think is capable of building a team over the next couple of years which is capable of making this country proud in the 2010 world cup.

In conclusion, Mclaren, as England Manager, has been inept tactically, never quite deciding on a definite system to adopt and train into the blood of the constantly changing squad…And also horribly unable to galvanize his troops into showing even a spark of real passion when they don the England shirt and step into battle. The players must shoulder some of the blame for what has happened, and I am sure they will, but secretly in the back of their minds, perhaps some of our ‘star players’ are happy to have next summer free when they can spend some of their millions on a well earned holiday…Bastards.

For an alternative perspective on England’s embarrassing exit from the European Championships, I asked an acquaintance, known appropriately, as John the Baptist, for his views… His reply disturbed me…
It’s simple, dannyboy, we got kicked out by the Arabs…all politics of course
same ol story, guv…we’ll pay back those towel heads come next year…an invasion is planned…first Kuwait, then we take Iraq, from the Yankees…next we gunna take Afghanistan, and sell it off, mile by mile, to the Chinese…by then we will have amassed , by enslaving all afghans, Iraqis, Kuwaitis, into our army, a vast military machine capable of taking on Russia…with the help of the Yankees, who by then will have forgiven us for stealing Iraq from right under their noses…that is the way it is going to pan out, dannyboy and you know it deep down…’

I didn’t know it deep down, and though I admired John, in a comical way, for taking my question as an opportunity to preach from his doomsday pulpit, his total disconnection with reality was beginning to unnerve me…it was time to deliver a few lines of bewildering nonsense, then flee like a gazelle in heat, hot on the scent of an accommodating female…So I asked him to Keep Me Informed, wished him good luck in Hell then ran back to my cave.

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