Anorak News | England Expectorates

England Expectorates

by | 6th, July 2006

“YOU’RE NOT WINKING ANY MORE,” jeers the Daily Mirror, while the Sun, in similar vein but with a more restrained lower-case typeface, opts for “You’re not winking any more”.

Both appear above the predictably tearful Cristiano Ronaldo, pictured after Portugal’s defeat to football’s equivalent of the Rolling Stones – a French side who groaned “Start me up!” and roused themselves from retirement for one more tour.

It was Ronaldo’s misfortune to play last night’s match in front of a large contingent of England fans who had booked semi-final tickets in the hope that “The Boys of 06” would be appearing. They showed their appreciation for the tricky winking winger by booing and whistling every time he touched the ball, but this seemed to spur Ronaldo on, and he turned in a tremendous performance full of direct attacking play and imaginative athletic diving. Did it get him the man-of-the-match award in the English papers? Take a wild guess.

So the stage is set for a dramatic final between those two historical enemies, France and England. Yes, that’s right, it’s Zidane and Co versus Simone Perrotta’s boys. Perrotta, as we informed you the other day, hails from
Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, which also happens to be the birthplace of hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst.

“Englishman makes the World Cup FINAL,” announces the Sun. “Perrotta a Lancs lad.” We see pictures of “HIS HOUSE” (caption: “Humble beginnings”) and “DAD’S PUB” (caption: “The old Yates Wine Lodge”). The Lancs lad, whose family returned to Italy when he was six, reckons he still has “a little bit of England in me” (probably a piece of undigested gristle from a school dinner) and holds fond memories of a place where “it was always grey and raining”.

Simone reveals that he was eligible to play for England, but chose Italy. Did his Italian parents influence his decision? No – apparently his friends and family were happy for him to don the three lions. Yet “there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to play for Italy”. Looking at England’s current golden generation, he probably made the right choice, as it would have been unrealistic in the extreme to expect a place in the present squad.

How is Ashton-under-Lyne preparing for the final? Has the Coronation bunting been retrieved from the old biscuit tin and hung proudly aloft? Will there be street parties? “Sales of Italy shirts have been ‘nothing to shout about’,” says The Times, rather missing the point that Perrotta is ENGLISH, and that ENGLAND shirts have been selling rather well.

The paper spoke to the mayor of Tameside, councillor Margaret Sidebottom (crazy name, sensible lady), who says that if Italy win, the council might consider commemorating the contribution of The Man With the English Gristle Lodged in his Digestive Tract. “We’re proud of all our citizens, whoever they represent,’ avows Sidebottom. “I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on the final and cheering him on.”

There might be a few more English citizens considering switching their football allegiances if the Mirror’s “GRIM VERDICT ON OUR FUTURE HOPES” is anything to go by. Former England supremo Graham Taylor reckons that England will emulate Scotland and regularly fail to qualify for tournaments. Of course, England didn’t regularly fail to qualify for the World Cup under Taylor – his impressive 100-per-cent failure rate was achieved through just one solitary attempt.

But he knows what he’s talking about. “I’m a very depressed Englishman at the moment,” he admits. “I have a dreaded feeling that perhaps we are not going to win the World Cup again.”

Come off it, chum! With the golden generation hitched to Steve “Magic” McClaren’s bandwagon, we predict nothing less than triumph in South Africa 2010. You read it here first.

Posted: 6th, July 2006 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink