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Wales v England (woad all round)

There’s not much that takes my fancy telly-wise, so the first match of the Six Nations rugby last night seemed like a bit of treat. I used to watch international games on the box fairly regularly, but either there’s less on free to view tv these days, or I’m not free to view it anyway.

Anway, what Friday night razzamatazz! Leaping flames, smoke flares, loud music, marching bands, flashing lights and the regimental goat: you might have taken it for the Super Bowl two days early (another sport I used to be free to view). The build up was not like rugby at all. Then after the national anthems (and the Welsh have no rivals in this department), they started playing, and then it pretty much looked as it always did. I was a bit worried about the goat, in amongst all the noise and shenanigans, but it seemed to take it in its stride, under the care of the Goat Major.

I don’t have a handle on all the language to give a proper match report; there will be plenty out there for anyone who missed it. At one point one of the commentators said: From these little things (long pause as the brain engaged) Do Big Consequences (even longer pause as word scrabbling became silently frantic) Ensue from them (not quite triumphantly, but with relief to have got a sort of sentence out).

I don’t blame him for tripping over his choice of words, there’s a lot wot goes on a rugby field. Line-outs, rucks, knock ons, into touch, penalties, tries, conversions, field goals, sideways and backwards throwing, forward running and a lot of taking players out hard.

By the end of the match (which England won), most of the players were covered in blue woad which had apparently rubbed off the grass from the sponsors of the match logo. They had blue on their shorts and shirts, blue faces and ears and one of them even had blue teeth. Not a good look, along with the mud and blood and spit and tufts of hair and proliferation of deformed ears. Take a tip from football, or indeed racing and project your logo onto the grass guys. We don’t really want our international rugby stars looking like they’ve been rolling around in a giant ink pad for 80 minutes. It was extra annoying because the sponsors were the Royal Bank of Scotland. Weren’t they one of the banks I bailed out? If you can only afford to paint your logo directly on the grass – I’d say don’t bother.

One player, who left the pitch as pristine as he joined it, was England sub Johnny Wilkinson. This is because when he is not kicking he is running away from the rucks pointing at people and shouting a bit. Very sensible Johnny. You are an oldie like me and your hair is always very neat and tidy (not like me) and we know you have had loads of injuries so, you carry on love.

Johnny Wilkinson

Regimental Goat

I don’t speak the lingo mate

Of course all the sporting websites were raving on about a fantastic England comeback in the Ashes that had happened on or at the Gabba overnight. I don’t watch cricket and having tried to catch up on the action by reading a BBC website offering (which I have drawn on for the purposes of this post), I realise that I don’t actually understand what the hell they are talking about anyway.

I am advised by my good friend that there is nothing better than a trip to the Oval or Lords on a summer’s day, but she was certain to emphasise that it was the champagne and picnic that was the real attraction. I think you can chat too when they are playing, as it all goes on at such a soporific pace. It doesn’t sound like a sport to me.

Check these baffling phrases out…


Australia hampered by the flat wicket
– in racing this would mean that there was was a horse called Flat Wicket. Maybe there should be.

Spilling catches – suspect this is a dropped ball, a fumble they might say in American Football. To be honest, I’m not sure.

Pessimists looked to the thick cloud cover overhead that promised some lateral movement for the bowlers. – is this a poem? If so, the imagery is mighty puzzling.

With the only danger for the batsmen being the cracks in the pitch which, if Australia’s bowlers could locate them, might cause the odd ball to misbehave – frankly disturbing imagery here.

Edging Siddle wide of third slip, and then playing an ambitious slog sweep at Xavier Doherty – a slog sweep sounds awful. I have no idea what it looks like.

Both men were positive, confident enough to hit a series of cut shots and off-drives as Australia looked to locate their outside edges.

The next two balls were more problematic for the England captain, an inside edge evading leg stump by millimetres and earning him a fortuitous 10th boundary before a nasty bouncer spat up and hit him on the glove.

This reportage has now descended into utter gobbledygook. Could there ever be a more pointless game in the entire universe?

It's hopeless isn't it?

The C Word

I just used it in a text about England’s manager.

Stubborn and wrong: there ain’t no worse combination in the world.

It’s all in the pedigree, whether it’s a maiden at Kempton, or a match in Cape Town. The lads are crushed under the strict regime. It’s like a relationship that doesn’t work when push comes to shove.

Trust me.

You said it

Warming to my theme

Disclaimer: This is going to be a bit random, but the England manager idee fixe has raised it’s ugly head again. Better I bore cyberspace with it than my nearest and dearest.

I had to buy a cheap paper today. The kids needed £2.10 per head and that is a most awkward sum if you only have a fiver. So I bought the Sun. *Hangs head in shame*

Murdoch’s henchmen lured me into this heinous crime with these backpage headlines:

FULL OF FEAR – Capello’s men look edgy says Dempsey
& FABIO sticks to his name game

So despite my sister’s, mine and Bob Wilson’s best advice, if we are to believe the Sun, Fabio will continue with his perverse policy of naming the starting line-up 2 hours before kick off.

Ok we all know he has only limited resources, he’s not going to shock us with a “Peter Shilton in Goal” headline but Cappello’s stubborn insistence that this method has served him well throughout his career is missing the point (my point, my wagon, don’t forget!).

He has only managed Latino sides at club level. Salaried players who will want their place in the team, but are probably never in doubt that they will start anyway so robust tends to be their self-belief, and who can always enjoy a balmy night off if the worst comes to the worst.

Fabio does not feel the weight of expectation that his players do, because he has the same Latin ego as his former inmates. Our lads are desperate to play and desperate to play well. In those hours leading up to kick-off they will want to start more than they are able to hear what his match plans for the team are. And that will go double for the goalkeepers. I am sure keeping the Italian Stallions on their ponio toesio competing for their places until the last minute worked quite nicely at club level, but English men are not cut from the same cloth. It’s not a worse or necessarily better cloth, it’s just different and Fabio’s hacking into them with a pair of pinking shears is not doing them much good.

Full of fear indeed.

Borzois - my favourite

Here’s my biltong

Cappello has turned the England team into automatons. Saying the right things, leaving the dinner table as one like a herd of elephants, not swearing at the referee…

In this, he seems to have been most successful. Look at them and you will see they are dead behind the eyes. That’s why David is there on the bench (dead behind the eyes too if you ask me), because Cappello knows. He knows they don’t play for him and he hopes DB will have the talismanic effect he has had on the pitch from behind the white lines. It won’t work. Out of the strip, and popped into a team suit David is as emasculated as the rest of them.

Take Milner. Cappello gave out to him as he took him off the other night. Would Bobby Robson have done that. Some say Milner will have overstated his feeling betterishness to the manager. I say, if one of my kids insists they are sound as a pound and can definitely go to Alton Towers for a day I’ll make my own decision thanks.

Cappello has not got them playing from the heart under his system. He has undermined the confidence of the keepers by playing mind games with them in the run-up. At the moment it is only me, Edgar and Bob who can see the truth of the matter. The rest of the English lemmings are blind to the fact that come the second stage we will be going out to:

a) Germany
b) Ghana

Of course the tabloid press will have had time to think about these things now (they are slow enough you see) and will jump on my bandwagon. But this is my bandwagon, it’s got makemeadiva painted down the side, and if you need verification just ask the Guv’nor whose ears are bleeding.

Oh and PS – there’s more. It goes along these lines. It’s not just heart (affective domain to borrow from Bloom) it’s even more insidious. Cappello is having a bad effect on the fragile English ego. Not for English players the rock solid overblown Latin self-confidence, our lads need a tad more nurturing (even Wayne).

I know there are others in the coaching team paid to do that, but Fabio it needs to be you too.

Cappellow

This is what the Sporting Life had him down as last night on their site. Not so much a typo perhaps as a Freudian slip?

His mouth was saying one thing and then…

…then followed the grande but, and the most monumental series of shrugs ever seen in a post football match interview.

As for the match review it is going to be easy to pounce on the hapless Green, I have just seen one headline “The Hand of Clod”, but to my reckoning we had some nice spells in the midfield but up front and at the back we would need to see a lot more before we are drinking at the top table.

Same old England it seems.

And I missed Theo Walcott, as Lennon did his best but seemed intent on ploughing a straight furrow. That’s it, it makes me too cross.

*I’ve had my breakfast and a bit of rant so I’ll just update the blog and go out: why does Cappello put so much pace up the wings when they can’t cross into the area or go round a player (at least TW could do the latter)? Why was there a perfect Rooney-shaped pocket nearly all night long, whilst Wayne himself sulked up front as part of an unmatching pair and how is all this goalkeeper uncertainty going to help in the long run…

Cappellow’s lucky he’s not round here for breakfast because I’d do more than shrug at him!

The Gogos are Gonegone (again)

So, the weekend’s Gogo Holy Grail Mission saw us managing to source five of the little devils – three regular ones and two super special England World Cup Football squad ones.

The youngest trotted off to school with them in a redundant marble bag and with strict instructions to swap or trade and not give away.

Yesterday she returned and, feeling through the bag, I can sense we only have three left. I know which two have gone before I even look inside…

Luckily I did their mug shots at the weekend. How prescient.

Now what, her stated aim was to collect all 20+

What do I do? Go in to school this morning and eyeball the little robbers that didn’t trade fairly with my daughter, dob them in to the teacher, or accept that life is hard and that inch high Gogos are always going to get it 😕

Point for correctly naming the two, poor, lost Gogos.

Collapse

Why do they use this word exclusively for poor English cricketing performances? No-one says Sunderland collapsed at Chelsea do they, or that Ricky Hatton collapsed in his two most recent bouts. It seems a ridiculously dramatic term for a few balls that I suspect my dog could have caught with little bother.

Speaking of the dog, the last twice we have been disturbed by the foxes, but he has twigged on and remains bed-bound, wakes me up and demands sense and reason plus consoling pats as to why he should not launch himself headlong through the window onto the car below.

As always, I do my best to oblige.

An English dog, one presumes, collapsing