Anorak News | A Rotten Shower

A Rotten Shower

by | 21st, June 2004

‘“LET’S get something absolutely straight. I think I am going to win Wimbledon.”

Maybe, just maybe, it’s the Year Of The Tiger

Those among you who spotted the qualifying “think” in that opening statement will swiftly have realised that the person with the grand plans is no brash American or punchy Australian.

This is not a man who “will” win Wimbledon, but a player who thinks he can. And that can only mean he’s British. And that can only mean he’s called Tim ‘Timbo’ Henman.

In the Mail’s eight-page guide to Wimbledon – the tournament begins today – three pages are given over to Tim telling us in his own words why this year will be his, maybe.

And the chief difference is that this year he’s more relaxed. He’s also not going to be showering in the same cubicle, and will be making a point of using all four showers in the men’s changing rooms so as not to slip into any “silly routines”.

While the fearsome Henmaniacs take a few cool showers of their own after flushing hot at the thought of their idol in a soapy lather, the Sun looks to things football.

”Your country needs Roo,” says the Sun’s backpage, underneath a shot of John Terry in Lord Kitchener mode, pointing the summoning finger at the Sun’s patriotic readership.

After Henman’s abolition of ritual, it’s clear that some sections of the press will be spouting their usual jingoistic nonsense when it come to an England football match.

But it’ll be nothing compared to the stuff pouring from the mouths of Croatia’s fervent support.

The Mirror has heard Croatia Football Federation chief Zoran Cvrk apologise in advance of the match for racist chanting from the checkerboard–clad sections within the Stadium of Light.

“There is little we can do to stop it,” says Cvrk, who recalls how some Croats in the stands booed and jeered France’s legion of black players when the two sides met last week.

“They [Croatia’s fans] are not violent but their chants are unacceptable. You must understand that we have a very difficult cultural past, but that is still no excuse.”

No, it’s not. And whatever role Croats played in the Second World War that England’s fans love to evoke in their own chants, times have moved on.

Only they haven’t moved on that much in Croatia, where besides the clear racism evidenced among some of the country’s support, there exists a far from progressive spirit on the pitch.

The Express has heard from Croatia’s coach Otto Baric about his plans to stop England, and, in particular, the exceptional Wayne Rooney.

“I believe we have a way to stop him,” says Baric. “He collects yellow cards, and let’s hope a red one.”

The plan is to antagonise Rooney and make him do enough to earn an early bath.

“If we provoke Rooney the right way,” says Croatia’s goalkeeper Joey Didulica to the Express, “he will definitely lash out.

“When you’re playing on emotion like that, a red cad is inevitable and the manager has told us to prey on his weakness. You’ve got to use every tactic.”

Perhaps you have. But even the aforesaid Lord Kitchener would have found such underhand ways a little over the top…’

Posted: 21st, June 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink