Anorak News | A Sorry Spectacle

A Sorry Spectacle

by | 10th, February 2005

‘LAST night England’s footballers said “NO TO RACISM”.

The Wright stuff?

After some Madrid locals directed monkey chants at England’s black players during the team’s last match in Spain, the FA asked FIFA for permission for their lads to wear the statement of intent on their tops.

As the Telegraph reports, this stance was supported by England’s righteous fans who held aloft “no racism” placards.

But still one back player comes in for special attention.

He’s Shaun Wright-Phillips, the scampering winger who before last night’s match against the Dutch was all set to replace David Beckham on England’s right.

Sixty minutes of play later – in which for the first 20 the Telegraph’s Paul Hayward watched the players legs turn to blancmange – he was off the pitch and Beckham’s future in an England kit seemed even more secure.

But in the prevailing spirit of racial harmony, let it not go unsaid that other England players were just as ineffectual in the 0-0 bore draw.

Granted, they did not let nerves get the better of them as Wright-Phillips did, but the likes of white Frank Lampard and orangey Wes Brown did play with an alarming lack of verve.

Not to worry because it’s not the fault of the lads. The blame for yet another insipid England performance lies with the team’s manager Sven Goran Eriksson, who just happens to be of foreign birth.

The Sun calls the match a “fiasco”, in which Sven experimented with a 4-3-3 system (it’s a 4-3—2-1 system in the Telegraph) and watched it fail miserably.

As the Times announces on its lead headline: “Eriksson’s experiment fails.”

Four years after taking over as England’s main coach, the boys in red and white are no closer to achieving coherency, let alone world dominance, than they were under Glenn Hoddle or Kevin Keegan.

There is so little so say about England that English minds may consider the Northern Irish lucky for having a representative team that are at least worth talking about.

And the conversation in Belfast centres on the fact that Northern Ireland are one of the worst teams on the planet.

And last night, as the Indy reports, they set new standards in awfulness, losing 1-0 at home to a 10-man Canada side.

Lawrie Shanchez’s team have now not won a home match since a 3-0 victory over Iceland in September 2001.

That is dreadful. But at least when the Northern Irish play their next match, there should be some interest in it. In case you didn’t know, they’re playing England.

The headline writers and anti-racists will have a field day…’

Posted: 10th, February 2005 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink