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Anorak | Trouble At Top

Trouble At Top

by | 26th, July 2004

‘PATRICK Vieira is rumoured to be upset that his proposed transfer to Real Madrid is turning into such a drawn-out affair.

Lance does France

However, it’s nothing compared with our frustration at the story that has dominated the back pages for the past fortnight.

So much so that it is a relief this morning to read the papers’ various interpretations of Sven Goran Eriksson’s position as England coach.

The Mail says the Swede is furious with the FA for confirming his affair with Soho Square secretary Faria Alam.

“Having made a point of never commenting on his personal life,” it says, “the former Lazio coach suspects there is a hidden agenda behind a decision by his employers to go public.”

However, the Mirror has Eriksson in a much more contrite mood, pleading with the FA to let him stay on as coach.

His agent says “there is absolutely no question of him leaving his job over this”.

But the Sun reckons that Eriksson is facing the sack, and says Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren will be asked to take charge if it’s found that the Swede deliberately misled his bosses.

No such problems for those in charge of England’s cricket team.

Yesterday, the Mail says, captain Michael Vaughan became only the third player to score a hundred in both innings of a Lord’s Test match as his team took charge against the West Indies.

Vaughan’s runs, aided by 38 from Graham Thorpe and 58 from Andrew Flintoff, gave England a lead of 477 runs – and by stumps they had reduced their opponents to 114-3.

In fact, the only headache facing the selectors is likely to be who to leave out for the next Test at Edgbaston.

Robert Key’s double hundred in the first innings means Mark Butcher is likely to miss out – a scenario made somewhat easier by the fact that the Surrey left-hander has aggravated an existing thigh problem.

The Mail says Butch, who missed out on the Test after suffering whiplash when someone drove into his stationary car, worsened the muscle tear as he was doing some tidying up at home.

However, in the longer term the paper is worried about the fitness of Flintoff, who has become such an integral part of this England side.

The all-rounder, it says, is not fully fit and should not be bowling because of a lingering ankle spur problem.

“If an operation is required, which is surely will be at some stage,” it warns, “the England hierarchy must be driven by the long-term welfare of their leading light, not the short-term fix of his patched-up presence.”

If England on the verge of winning a Test match is becoming a not unusual sight, it’s certainly not in the same league as Michael Schumacher or Lance Armstrong on top of the podium.

The German duly won the German Grand Prix yesterday – his 11th victory in 12 races this season – while Armstrong cycled up the Champs Elysee to his record sixth Tour de France win.

But, says the Mail, success has not earned either of them popularity.

In a French newspaper poll, Schumacher was named the most disliked sportsman in the country, while Armstrong came third.

In second place was our old friend Nicolas Anelka…’



Posted: 26th, July 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink