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Anorak | He’s The Daddy Now

He’s The Daddy Now

by | 30th, June 2006

“SHUT it Blatter,” warns the Sun, following the FIFA president’s comments about the England team, whom he has branded “boring”, according to the paper’s interpretation of his latest remarks. “I am happy that the play at this World Cup has been very attacking,” declared the big Swiss cheese. “The only exception is England.”

True enough, of course – although he appears to have overlooked his own country’s 0-0 bore-draw against Ukraine, in which the Swiss achieved the remarkable feat of failing to score during the penalty shoot-out.

So England will face their crucial game with the criticism of the tournament’s boss ringing in their ears. And that’s not the end of it. The paper reports that match referee Horacio Elizondo (who is an “Argie” and a “poetry-writing PE teacher”) has now jumped on the bandwagon.

“England will play with one or two touches at first, then they’ll quickly hit the ball long upfield,” he predicts. “Portugal play it more on the deck. There is more technique to their game and it is more like Argentina’s.”

That final remark sounds like trouble, and when you are in trouble you need someone to help you. In the AA ads, there’s always a “very nice man” who comes to the rescue. Graham Poll was recently described as a nice man by none other than England captain David Beckham. He’s a FIFA referee, so perhaps he could return Beckham’s favour and say something complimentary about the team formerly known as England but now called “Team England”.

The problem with this is that it’s not really the best time to be asking Graham Poll for a favour, as he’s got a few problems of his own. “Poll quits after his nightmare,” announces the Mirror, referring to both the fiasco of the Australia v Croatia match and the subsequent “living nightmare” that Poll has suffered ever since. The paper says that Poll has “announced his decision to never again officiate in a major international”, although it his hard to imagine his being asked to do so after blotting his copybook in such a spectacular fashion.

“I got it wrong and I am sorry,” says the man who gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “three strikes and you’re out”. Don’t worry, Graham, before long you’ll be telling the story on the after-dinner circuit and everyone will love you for it.

There will be a less forgiving attitude to the England team if they cock things up, and the FA seems to be aware of this. The Mirror reports that in a bid to boost morale, the bigwigs have invited “the celebrity face of their Altogethernow campaign” to record a motivational speech for the players. And who is the celebrity in question? Here’s a clue. “Get some coal dust on them bruises, you black *******.” No, it’s not Robbie Williams. Here’s another one. “I’m the daddy now! Next time, I’ll ****in’ kill ya!”

Yes, that’s right, it’s Ray Winstone – or “Winstone Churchill”, as the Mirror’s headline has it. Ray visited the training camp and met the players, with whom he is pictured wearing a red England shirt that must be an XXXXL at the very least.

Beer and beef famously give a man shape, and Winstone looks every inch a 21st century John Bull. And will his speech rise to the occasion? “It’s mainly Ray’s own thoughts,” reveals an FA source, “but he’s thrown in a bit of Churchill and Henry V as well, to make it really rousing.”

We are not told what Ray’s thoughts will be, although he is likely to avoid anything controversial while wearing his FA hat. Seasoned observers will be hoping they are more effective than a similar Churchill ‘n’ Shakespeare tape that was played to the England cricket team during their Ashes defeats of the 1990s.

Altogethernow: Cry God for Harry, England, St George and their long balls!



Posted: 30th, June 2006 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink