Anorak News | A Turnip For The Books

A Turnip For The Books

by | 29th, March 2004

‘SVEN Goran Eriksson has turned down the chance to make millions as manager of Chelsea to stay on as (the admittedly very well-paid) head coach of England.

‘Have you heard the one about the Swede, the Russian and the Englishman?’

More than that, he has actually signed a two-year extension to his contract.

And yet he is branded “sneaky”, “slippery” and likened to an eel in today’s papers.

Journalists who are happy to trade papers as soon as a chequebook is waved under their noses are happy to pan the Swede for doing no more than listening to offers of alternative employment.

In the reaction of the more hysterical arm of the Press to the revelation that Eriksson had met Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon lies a major reason why the man is considering jumping ship.

As Richard Williams points out in today’s Guardian, when Eriksson agreed to manage England he was accepting a job, not answering God’s calling.

But he now knows that to manage England’s football team “you have to take a monastic vow of poverty, chastity and obedience”.

You might think, he adds, that people would be delighted not only that Eriksson has decided to stay put but also that England have a manager coveted by the top clubs in Europe.

But it seems not – and the Sun and the Express joyfully report the unlikely news that it was only the threat of the sack that forced the Swede’s hand.

Having got it so wrong with regards to the Chelsea job, you might have thought the papers would demonstrate some humility today.

Far from it – the Star even announces that shocking news that Sven could still quit his job.

His contract has apparently not been signed in blood and the FA have failed to take any member of Eriksson’s family hostage as a precaution against him leaving.

As for events on the pitch, Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by Manchester United yesterday – a result which gave the Gunners a record 30-game unbeaten start to the season.

But, says the Telegraph, “seldom has an historic moment been greeted with so little joy” as Thierry Henry rumbled down the tunnel with a face like a tropical storm.

If it is too early to predict the decline and fall of Arsenal on the basis of one home draw, it appears that the same is not true of England’s rugby players.

To be beaten by three points in Paris is hardly a disgrace, but the undertakers are out in force to carry away the body of the world champions.’

Posted: 29th, March 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink