Friday, June 30, 2006

Monkey Men?

Darwin's The Origin Of the Species is the seminal work in natural or scientific history. (Leaving EH Carr rapidly aside that is) It elevated the human race from the dark ages of Christian omnipotence and liberated European humanity from absurd biblical notions of creationism. His development of the theory of Natural Selection concluded that in simplistic terms, the dominant life form in a given situation would progress at the expense of one that did not have the suitable attributes to adapt and survive. Thus we are down to the last 8 teams in the World Cup, six of whom are previous winners.
England have failed to raise the rooftops, their supporters sing, chant, believe and buy little red & white flags in hope rather than through hard empirical evidence. But what is England's position in the footballing world? Are we like Darwin going to be remembered for one magnus opus - the 1966 World Cup, or is that just a seminal moment in the scope of our development? Can we become Shakespeare? Macbeth is a seminal work of English literature, but is not Hamlet his magnus opus? Shall 2006 join 1966? Or have we touched the stars already and now our fate is only to look at them in wonder?
Selection has concluded we are superior and luckier than others. Through either, it does not matter which, we are at this moment. The Portuguese await tomorrow, twice recently England has been vanquished, but we have re-emerged. Have we progressed from previous failures? Has nature acquired us with superior skills evolved from our origins? Tomorrow we will know. The games afoot...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Lucky Seven

Whilst trawling through the British Sunday newspapers today, I came across an article proposing that England's World Cup triumph was in the bag because the team was eerily entwined with the number 7. The paper suggested the following reasons:
1) England must win 7 games to win the trophy.
2) The following words all have 7 letters: winners, England, captain and Beckham.
3) The final's on Sunday, the 7th day of the week, in July, the 7th month of the year.
4) The English captain David Beckham will lift the trophy wearing the No.7 shirt
5) England won Group B with 7 points. They will now play Ecuador, which amazingly also has 7
letters in its name!
6) There have only ever been, wait for it, 7 full-time English coaches.
7) England's coach's first name, Svennis, has that's right - 7 letters!*
You must agree that the proof is overwhelming... all the above points are connected with the number 7. Regrettably what they don't explain is why England have played pathetically, disjointedly and seemingly without a coherent defensive system. (are you reading Mr Campbell?)
If the best an English publication can come up with for England's success neglects, form, questionable squad choices, injuries, tactics, ability and skill, whilst relying on numerology then two conclusions can be drawn: 1) England are screwed 2) British Tabloids seriously need new editors.
I await in hope that England can win tonight's game playing well and looking a well-oiled team, or failing that unrealistic expectation we win whilst avoiding a penalty duel as our record is, you could probably have guessed this one - Lost 7.
*From Saturday June 24th's Daily Mirror

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

England Exasperate (Again...)

Another World Cup game and another dull performance from England. As SS England continues to leak water at an alarming rate there are some obvious questions to as Capt. Smith, sorry Eriksson;

1) Do you have gambling debts to shady men with cockney accents? Otherwise why no Jermain Defoe?

2) Are you are a charlatan?

3) What is 2+ 2?

4) Are you aware how poor Beckham is playing? The odd cross here and there does not make up for glaring deficiencies, for example Sweden first's first goal was scored due to Beckham's inept defensive ability. Perhaps he saw a photo op....

England should get to the Quarter-Finals where they will play Argentina or Holland. Either way it is Good Night Vienna, or perhaps Berlin. Another "golden opportunity" lost....But hey think of the positives! Remember England have a new exciting coach to transform us....oh yeh, sorry that is not going to happen....

Sunday, June 18, 2006

My Thoughts of the Week

Ancient Babylon fell more swiftly to the Persian Cyrus, but the fall from expectation has been far more painful for the England team. But which England team? Ahh, that this the nub of the gist because the answer is all of them. This week has been another painful one for "our" sporting heroes. The cricket team got thumped by Sri Lanka. The rugby team got whacked by Australia for the the 2nd time in 2 weeks. The football team managed to reverse traditional theory and play as 11 individuals rather than a team. Do you know what these results all had in common ? (apart from being inept and woeful performances that is) Yes, the plenitude of excuses that followed. Let us quickly trawl them.


After England lost 43-18 to Australia, coach Andy "Haven't won in 5 matches" Robinson gave the following analysis: "The forward display was pretty impressive, and we had 63% possession." Come again? We were pretty impressive? Had 63% of possession? And still lost! There are many questions that could be raised here, firstly how can a team with the majority of ball in hand actually lose by 25pts? Or how a coach of a national side can make the above quote and not be sacked, but hey, remember there are always excuses...


The euphoria of last years Ashes victory has long been replaced by the return of the usual dirge that English cricket has produced for the last 20 years. England lost to Sri Lanka in a ODI yesterday by 20 runs. Stand in for the Stand in Captain, Andrew Strauss offered the following post game review, "We didn't put the ball in the right areas, maybe we were striving too hard to take wickets and Sri Lanka took advantage of anything loose". OK run that by me again. England were striving too hard to take wickets. Umm forgive me for asking, but isn't that the bloody point! How can you strive too hard? Isn't this akin to being a little bit pregnant, either you are or aren't, either you try hard or you don't. It is a nothing comment and insults anybody who is desperately untalented, but dying for the opportunity to play professional sport. So England are missing players, so what? There are more English players than any other country in the world. We can' find 11 to win a game? Excuses...Excuses Excuses...


Let me get the first part of the rant out the way. Sven Goran Eriksson the magnificently paid England manager picked 9, yes NINE midfielders for the England 23. Oh and 4 strikers. None of whom are what we could say were 100% at the moment, in either fitness, age or talent.
It does seem strange to criticise an England team that has 6pts from their first 2 group games. I have failed to recall how many "must win games" England have had over the years to avoid the embarrassment of not qualifying. Eriksson however, has any numerous amount of excuses to explain away England's current malaise. They are good ones as well, from "it was very hot out there" (vs Paraguay), well forgive me for raising such a pertinent question, but what exactly were you expecting in Germany in summer? The other cracker is the oft used "They put 10-men behind the ball", well it would then help enormously if our only tactic wasn't hoofing in the air to a 6ft 7" beanpole whose idea of a 6-yard volley is to hit the corner flag. Anyway, as I have said before, excuses...
English sport is lost in a continual myriad of failure explained away by erroneous lies. When our national teams lose, frequently, it is not because of the weather or the referee (unless he is Ecuadoran) it is simply because we are not good enough. Why is this so? The biggest contributor in all of our 3 national sports failures is the total of foreign players plying their craft in our various leagues. Arsenal had 2 English players from 11 in the Champions League final. How can this be good for the development of the English game?
This is not to adopt a xenophobic littler England-er mentally. I want the great players. Our own can learn from them. Eric Cantona altered Manchester United's mentally, helped alter revolutionalise part of their training exercises. Brian Lara's 501 for Warwickshire can only draw people to cricket. The guile of Phillipe Saint-Andre or the raw power and brutal talent of a Francois Pienaar helped English rugby move from the dark ages of the "57 old farts" to World Cup Champions.
English talent is being stunted by employing foreign players because they are cheaper to sign and wage than an English counterpart. By continuing this practice, the myopia of English sport is just going to increase. After all, Australia have already beaten us at football.
I finish this by recalling a Sean Connery quote. I would love it to be from Bond, after all there is something exquisite about a Scottish nationalist being super cool for England. No it is from the movie The Rock. Connery's character said roughly the following:
"Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and **** the Prom Queen"

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Dick Cheney - Dark Wizard?

During one of my lessons this week a thought struck me about recent topical happenings. Whilst watching Harry Potter discover the power of magic I came to an obvious conclusion about political kidnapping, urgh sorry Extraordinary Rendition. These secret European prisons that are supposed to exist storing countless of dangerous foreign sounding names, well nobody has ever seen them - right? But they exist, camouflaged before our very eyes, hidden from the sight of everyday normal people co-existing in a strange quasi-life reality. Just, well it kind of reminded me of the magic used to hide Hogwarts School away from non-magic people. Do you think Dick Cheney has a cauldron for mixing evil potions in?

As no one actually reads this site I feel safe from ending up banged up in a castle's dark common room somewhere. Also I don't have a beard.