Anorak News | Tongue Tied

Tongue Tied

by | 11th, August 2004

‘THANKS to TV fly-on-the-wall documentaries, we know quite a lot about the English style of football management – or at least as practised by the likes of Peter Reid and Graham Taylor.

‘Ich est uno Scouser’

But we’ve always had this idea that foreign coaches were more cerebral, philosophising about the game, while using the latest psychological techniques to get the best out of the players.

Not a bit of it. They offer exactly the same platitudes, except in a harder-to-understand accent.

The Mirror has a close-up picture of the crib sheet used by Spurs’ French boss Jacques Santini to communicate with his players at Celtic last night.

And there is ne’er a word on it about seagulls, trawlers or even mackerel.

Instead, we learn the French for “We have to be stronger”, “Don’t pass nervously”, “Talk with your partner” and “Don’t make it easy”.

If this is the level of coaching for which Sven Goran Eriksson, say, gets paid £4m a year, then it’s not just the secretaries at the FA who are a bunch of suckers.

We now wonder what phrases would have been on Eriksson’s crib card when he first came to these shores.

“Try standing up, Heskey”, “Just hoof it”, “Do you want to come out to dinner with me?” and “Try rubbing it a bit harder”, perhaps.

But it looks as if Michael Owen might be in the market for an English-Spanish card with the papers interpreting his non-appearance for Liverpool last night as a clear sign that he is off to Real Madrid.

Had Owen played in the 2-0 win over Graz AK, he would have been ineligible for all of Madrid’s Champions’ League games, and his value would have dropped accordingly.

The Star says both Owen and Patrick Vieira are definitely off to the Spanish capital where, if they have any trouble understanding the local lingo, they will be able to borrow David Beckham’s old crib sheet.

“Me and Victoria are very much in love”, “Quick, Rebecca, the missus is away”, “Love the sound of that cotton just *** *** *** ***** getting more *** and your *** all nice *** ***”.

All this football means that once again cricket coverage is confined to a few paragraphs sandwiched in between reports of the CIS Insurance Cup and the racing results from Bath.

But the third Test between England and West Indies starts at Old Trafford tomorrow.

Which is interesting, but not as interesting as news that Falkirk beat Montrose 4-1 last night or that Fiddle Me Blue romped home by a length and a half in the 4.45 at Bath…’

Posted: 11th, August 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink