Anorak News | Double Standards

Double Standards

by | 9th, February 2004

‘PEOPLE hold footballers to standards that they wouldn’t dream of abiding by themselves.

The next manager of England?

Take Scott Parker. Charlton fans yesterday held a protest at their midfielder’s £10m departure for Chelsea, demanding “pride, passion and loyalty” from their stars.

But how many of them would turn down a job that was not only better paid but had better prospects?

The 23-year-old didn’t play in yesterday’s 1-0 victory for his new employer over his old employer, but he cast a long shadow over the game from the stand.

And after the match, Charlton boss Alan Curbishley did little to draw a line under the affair as Charlton must if they are to qualify for Europe.

“It’s a big thing that we had one of our better players taken away from us,” he told the Guardian. And “unless we start winning games and stay where we are, everyone’s going to put it down to Scott”.

As for Claudio Ranieri, England will be a poorer place if the genial Italian is replaced as manager of Chelsea.

He has borne the constant speculation about his future with good grace and humour.

Yesterday, the Telegraph hears him respond to the visiting fans’ chant, “Sacked in the summer, you’re getting sacked in the summer”, by turning around and shouting back, “No, I think it is in May!”

But it is not Parker or Ranieri who attracts the attention of Alan Smith in the Telegraph, but Glen Johnson, one of Ranieri’s lower profile summer signings.

Johnson only made his debut for West Ham a year ago, but the 19-year-old will certainly have impressed the watching Sven Goran Eriksson, “though whether Johnson will merit a place in the Swede’s European squad for the finals of Euro 2004 remains to be seen”.

With Arsenal and Manchester United also winning, there is no change at the top of the Premiership, but there will be changes in England’s line-up for its first match of the Six Nations rugby.

Chief casualty is Neil Back in what the Independent describes as “a fall from grace of prodigious proportions”. The last international Back played was the World Cup final.

Also left out of the 28-man squad is Kyran Bracken, prop Graham Rowntree and back rower Martin Corry.

Sir Clive Woodward justified the decisions, saying “as always I am looking at current form and will continue to do so throughout the Six Nations and beyond”.

The Times says Back’s absence leaves only three specialist back-row forwards in the squad, but it also casts a shadow over the 35-year-old’s future.

“If this is the end of his England career,” it says, “he will truly be able to say that, pound for pound, he was up there with the best.”’

Posted: 9th, February 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink