Anorak | Poll Axed

Poll Axed

by | 23rd, June 2006

Old Mr Anorak can remember a time when England regularly failed to qualify for international tournaments, and in the absence of a national team to support we had make our own entertainment. One of the most popular methods among the commentating community was to follow the progress of the English referee, who was always “in with a chance of being awarded the final”.

Last night, old Mr Anorak tuned in to watch Australia v Croatia, and was surprised to hear the commentator boast before the kick-off that match referee Graham Poll of England was indeed in with a shout of the final. He even suggested that Poll might be the only Englishman who actually wanted the national team to be knocked out, in order that he should be granted the honour of adjudicating in Berlin on the 9th of July.

Perhaps Poll overheard him. Perhaps, overcome with anger at having his patriotism impugned, he vowed to rule himself out of the running by turning in a performance that took the concept of the “English eccentric” to new heights. Whatever his motive, last night’s performance not only put paid to any fanciful notions of getting the final, but might well have achieved the rare feat of being kicked out of the tournament before his own national side.

The warning signs were there early on, when Poll failed to notice Croatian captain Josip Simunic dragging down Mark Viduka in the penalty area. At this point old Mr Anorak turned to his Australian wife, who was shearing a sheep by the fireside. “He’s is a lucky chap to get away with that one,” he remarked. “Should have been a yellow card and a penalty.”

Later, after Poll had awarded a penalty against Sjepan Tomas for handball, the same defender handled in the area again, but got away with it. “He’s another lucky one,” said old Mr Anorak, whose conversation tends to be rather limited these days.

Then Simunic finally got a yellow. “He’s a lucky chap,” said old Mr Anorak. “He should have had one before, and this one should be red.”

Then Simonic got another yellow. “He’s off!” cried old Mr Anorak. But Mr Poll had other ideas. He booked Simunic again but failed to spot that this was his second booking. Then Simunic got a third

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Posted: 23rd, June 2006 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink