Anorak News | Le Cockerel Crows

Le Cockerel Crows

by | 4th, June 2004

‘EVERYONE in sport likes a challenge, whether it be Jocky Wilson trying to get through a leg of darts without a drink, Emile Heskey trying not to fall over for a whole match or Ashley Giles trying to spin a spinning top.

‘Allez, Le Tigre!’

But few people can relish a challenge as much as Jacques Santini, coach of the French national team and from next season coach of, er, Tottenham Hotspur.

After a summer of trying to guide the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires to Euro 2004 glory, Santini will try to lead the likes of Mark Yeates, Gary Doherty and Anthony Gardner to Premiership success.

By which, we mean a finish higher than the 14th place they achieved last season.

No wonder the papers are somewhat agog at Santini’s decision, although the Mirror headline, “Henry Plays For Spurs”, is a very bizarre interpretation.

The Mail reaches deep into its French lexicon to come up with “Sacre Bleu!” and tries to hide its surprise by insisting that Santini was not on Spurs’ original shortlist.

“There were,” it adds, “immediate suggestions that it was a panic appointment following the club’s series of high-profile rebuffs in their quest for a long-term successor to Glenn Hoddle.”

This would explain why none of the newspapers predicted the move until the Mirror mentioned his name alongside those of Claudio Ranieri and Martin Jol.

But as panic appointments go, one suspects that Spurs could have done a lot worse than a man who has guided France to eight wins out of eight in qualifying for Portugal.

And it at least brings to an end a search for a manager that had been going on so long that it would not have been a surprise had Glenn Hoddle, the reasons for his sacking lost in the fog of time, been reappointed to the post.

From Frenchmen in England, however, we turn our attention to an Englishman in France.

That’s right- Le Tigre, as the French have not yet learnt to call Tim Henman, today bids to reach his first Grand Slam final as he plays Guillermo Coria on the Roland Garros clay.

The task facing him is, says the Express, a “formidable” one – Coria has lost just once in his last 37 outings on the surface.

But although the paper says the swell of Henmania has not carried across the Channel, with Roland Garros christened “Terre Du Gaucho” by a French newspaper after the three Argentinians in the men’s semi-finals, Tim knows we’ll all be putting on our plastic Union Jack hats and waving our miniature flags as he steps onto court.

“Come on, Timmy!” as we like to scream on Henman Hill…’

Posted: 4th, June 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink