Monday 28 June 2010

They thought it was all over: it is now.

Well, I am not going to say I told you so, but I did, I told you so! Martin and I were out taking a long relaxing walk along the River Itchen as the drama was being played out in Bloemfontein and we made it home (by accident) to watch the last ten minutes. I have to say, we both burst out laughing when we realised what had happened. Looks as though we made the right choice of activity in the end.

But watching the inaction replays of the four goals (and England's two - Lampard's by rights should count) just confirmed all one's worst fears. The defence was a total shambles in each - leakier than a sieve and not as useful.

The four wise men on the BBC were wringing their hands, trying to find positives to say about what appeared to be a rout. The simple fact was the Ingerlanders' heads and hearts were just not in it. Their heads should have told them the system being played was a stinker while their hearts should have told them that national pride is probably the strongest emotion of all even if it only does come around once every four years.

So what's to be done? Well, the manager was as culpable as the players and has just completely lost total credibility so far as I was concerned when he said they played well yesterday. Through which pair of rose-tinted spectacles was he watching? I was never convinced by Mr Capello anyway. I have always wondered what is to gain by appointing a manager who cannot speak the language of the team. Something must get lost in translation. And perhaps he was wrong stripping John Terry of the captain's arm-band last year as it appears Chelsea's thug-in-chief has never got over the demotion both in terms of his demeanour and his playing.

Capello did not quite know either how to run the show- as a boot camp or a holiday camp. And his decision to name the final team only two hours before the game must have played havoc with the programme printing schedules as well as overall morale.

If I was paid the amount of money he is on, I would feel obliged to perform a miracle rather than a post mortem- and this one is likely to last weeks or months rather than days.

I am afraid Capello has no option but to fall on his sword and make way for Roy Hodgson to try and salvage the pieces before he gets snapped up by Liverpool. Hodgson has a brilliant CV, has worked on the international stage and has earned the respect from enough people to be installed as the national team coach/manager.

As for the players. See previous blogs. All I will say is if they were paid less and had took bonuses on results, that might help. The real malaise in the game is a result of the players going where the money is. The Premier League is now ruled by foreign mercenaries who are robbing home-grown talent of regular appearances. To hell with all that badge kissing: it is all a sham. The game has lost its soul and has become an empty shell because mammon has taken over from manna as its motivation.

The national team over here does not count as much as it does abroad. We would like to think it does but until we put a cap on the number of foreign players, it is just not going to happen. The reason why Germany looked so good is that the national team comes first and the system allows promising young players to come through the ranks and excel.

Of course every fan wants to see their team do well- now- so wants to have the best players possible drafted in to achieve, excuse the pun, the short term goals. But it is never good for the long term if you are just bringing in a bunch of unloyal gloryseekers who will be off at the first whiff of the next best offer. Hate to say it is a sign of the times that they- owners, managers and fans want it all, and they want it now. The best teams of the past - the Uniteds, (Busby Babes included) and the classic Liverpool line-up had to be built on solid foundations. It is all just a house of cards now.

So forgive me if Martin and I go ahead and fly the Jolly Roger rather than the Cross of St George on our cars. It is a now a poignant symbol of how the hopes of a nation and the reputation of a team of overpaid underachievers both died on a South African field yesterday.

1 comment: