Back pages | Anorak - Part 73

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Premier League news. Stories from the newspapers and BBC sport – sports news from tabloids Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Star, the Guardian, Daily Mirror, the times, daily telegraph

Rives To Cross

World Cup Winners

A gambler has wagered his life savings – £27,000 – on Brazil winning the World Cup. The man says he has placed the bet to stop his wife getting her hands on the cash in a divorce settlement. At odds of 5/2 he stands to win £94,000.

World Cup Losers

German police are trying to track down the owner of 800 World Cup tickets found in a sealed palstic bag on a street. The tickets are worth £78,000.

The Britsh emabssy in Berlin is refusing to allow the English flag to flutter from its roof. The ambassador says he will only display the Union flag. “It’s political correctness gone mad,” says Tory MP Philip Davies.

Elen Rives, girlfriend to England’s Frank Lampard, was not allowed to take her considerable kit on board a flight to Germany as hand luggage. Reports say a discussion with British airways staff grew heated until she was “barred” from her intended flight.

Posted: 11th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Turf Luck

After their scrappy win over Paraguay, England will use Wayne Rooney for their next match against Trinidad & Tobago

England defender John Terry says blisters and the wrong kind of turf were to blame for the team’s performance against Paraguay

Spurs have told Manchester United they want £20m for midfielder Michael Carrick (News Of The World)

Ruud Gullit is in line to take over the vacant manager’s post at Crystal Palace (People)

Liverpool are interested in signing Real Zaragoza midfielder Alberto Zapate (NOTW)

Portsmouth have given Harry Redknapp the go ahead to make a £12million offer for Jermain Defoe (Sunday Mirror)

Reading are to offer £2m for Manchester City keeper David James (People)

Posted: 11th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Roon The Day

World Cup Quotes

“In football you suffer and it’s not so bad to see your team suffer. We will need to play better and we will play better” – Sven Goran Eriksson vows to improve

“The lads were complaining about their feet burning. Mine felt as if they were on fire. I’ve got a couple of blisters. The turf was a bit too dry and all the lads were complaining about blisters” – John Terry tells us what went wrong for England

“If Sven picks Rooney in the group stages and he gets injured, then United will take legal action against him personally” – A “highly-placed” source tells the NOTW about what will happen if Manchester United’s star player is injured

“We’ve come away with a win, so should we be even bringing tactics into it?” – Terry Butcher explains why he is not a manager

“Nuts, absolutely nuts”; “He can’t keep his hands out of his pockets’” – BBC commentators John Motson and Mark Lawrenson keep an eye on referee Marco Rodriguez, who referred England’s opener

“He should be given both barrels!” – Mark Lawrenson is not keen on the referee

“Everyone can come, shout until they lose their voices, have a great time and feel at home with friends. But the message to any hooligan or troublemaker is clear – security will function and we are not here to joke around” – German interior ministry spokesman tells it like it is

World Cup Puns

“Heat Is On” (Sun) – Sven feels the pressure

“3 LIONS, 3 POINTS – and Owen-ly one moan” (NOTW)

Posted: 11th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Hot & Bothered

“MAYBE we suffered a lot. I think this was a real hot, hot day and I think that knocked us in the second half.”

Sven Goran Eriksson there, offering an explanation as to why England – who won their opening match 1-0 after Paraguay scored an own goal – were so desperately unconvincing.

David Beckham agrees with his coach that it was hot. The Sun hears him say: “You don’t realise how hot it was out there.” Perhaps we don’t, but we are learning fast.

Here comes Frank Lampard to tell us just how hot it was, and how such heat is unfair on England. “Paraguay are more used to this climate,” says Lampard.

Readers may like to note that the match was held in Germany, not in southern Tunisia, or Paraguay, and that in the summertime it can get pretty sunny here, too.

But before we blame the sun for being too hot, too yellow and too sunny, Steven Gerrard offers another explanation for England’s laboured performance, also in the Sun. “There were a lot of players suffering with blisters,” says he.

So England scored a fortunate win, putting in what the Observer calls a “ragged performance”, because they had blisters? And, presumably, these blisters were on their feet and not, say, on their thumbs?

“The lads were complaining about their feet burning,” says John Terry in the Telegraph. He has a “couple of blisters”.

And that is not all. Terry also wants us to realise that the “turf was a bit too dry”.

As the Observer puts it, so much for “England the Slayer of Worlds, Destroyer of Planets, Bringer of Life, Giver of Water, Redemptor of Man”. This is England the normal. We’ve seen it all before. Although blaming the wrong kind of turf is something new.

But England can get better. And the team does have Wayne Rooney.

As the Times’s man on the scene says, it was seventy minutes into the match before England’s fans started chanting Rooney’s name.

And, as the Guardian reports, it was Rooney, bare-chested and smiling at the crowd, who was among the last to leave the pitch.

How England fans must be hoping he’s on the field of play for longer next time…

Posted: 11th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

To Timidly Go

World Cup Winners

Silent Night are making a special bed for Peter Crouch. The lanky striker’s bed in Germany is too small – it’s 7ft 3in long.

An England fan has waged £150,000 on his country winning the World Cup at odds of 6-1. He will win £1,050,000 if Beckham and the team go all the way.

World Cup Losers

Jermain Defoe is looking to be in the squad for the next World Cup. After spending a month with England as stand-by cover for Wayne Rooney, the 23-year-old Spurs striker is now back home watching it on the telly.

The offical slogans which have to be written on each country’s team bus were coinjured up by FIFA. Every team has a slogan – expect the USA. It seem that security concerns mean they must travel incognito.

Send you ideas for team slogans to

Posted: 10th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Iran The World

“That England lot have been united by him, I’m convinced about it. That dance of his, his personality will have got them all going” – Ian Holloway, who managed Peter Crouch during his time at Queens Park Rangers

“This match will be taken by the people as a chance for a challenge, for revenge” – an Angolan official looks forward to his team’s match with former colonial masters Portugal

“If we win it, the country would see things they have never seen before. What happened with the cricket and the rugby as huge as well, but we would see something really special if we won the World Cup” – David Beckham looks forward to the victory parade

“Ronaldo is fat, or isn’t he?” – Brazil’s president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva asks the questions that matter in a video conference with his team

“Goalkeeper-unfriendly” – England’s Paul Robinson appraises the new Teamgeist ball

“As soon as they let women into the grounds, they nearly took over. They are so loud and passionate and they are all so well informed. Women in Iran are becoming less and less segregated. And, for them, following football is a form of emancipation” – Iran defender Rahman Rezaei on the power of football

World Cup Puns

“Herr–raising opener as Germany rock but then roll to a victory” (Mail)

“It’s Klose as Germany get ball rolling” (Mail) – Germany’s Miroslav Klose scores as the hosts beat mighty Costa Rica 4-2

“It’s two Klose for comfort” (Star) – Klose scores two

“Give ‘em the chop Robobop” (Star) – Cheering on Peter Crouch

Posted: 10th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

The Language Barrier

Paraguay will communicate in Guarani, their country’s second official language, when they play England

Italy coach Marcello Lippi has vowed to shave off his hair if his team win the Cup

Manchester United are preparing a £12million offer for Tottenham’s Michael Carrick (Mail)

Didi Hamman is on his way to Bolton Wanderers (Star)

Birmingham’s Emile Heskey wants to join Blackburn (Mirror)

Manchester United midfielder Quinton Fortune is being targeted by Bolton (Guardian)

Posted: 10th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Where’s The Party?

“THIS is the best team I have ever had and I have always said we can win it in 2006.” So says Sven Goran Eriksson on the back page of the Star.

While we wonder what Sven would be saying were he not leaving his job as England coach after the tournament (“We are building a team. Yes. They could be good. Yes. We hope to win. Who knows? Yes. Don’t tell Nancy”), he calls for a party.

“At the end I hope there will be a big, big party in England for a month.”

So do we all, Sven. You can imagine the wonderful scenes as England fans join hands and perform the world’s longest “Berlin Wave”, named in honour of Peter Crouch celebratory dance at the World Cup Final.

That’s the dream. And who would have believed it a few months ago when Crouch was being booed by sections of England’s fans. Now, not only has Sven developed a personality but Crouch has mutated into something papers call a “national treasure”.

The Guardian looks at England’s unlikely hero, a man it describes as being “half-man, half-ladder”. A player so “exceedingly nice” that we learn that the 6ft 7in striker used to apologise to the opponents he tackled.

That’s nice. Crouch might even be nicer than Wayne Rooney? The Mail has a picture of the player on whose metatarsal the weight of a nation’s hopes and dreams rest.

The photograph shows Rooney enacting a sliding tackle on teammate Ashley Cole. This sounds like a risky move for someone being nursed back to full health. And it would be had Cole not taken a leaf from the Crouch book of fair play and stepped out of the way.

So long as the opposition leave Rooney alone, resist the urge to stand on his foot, things should go well go well for him.

But maybe it’s too much to expect Rooney to jink past the opposition like a heifer on skates, score a hat-trick in each match and bring the World Cup to England?

Writing in the Express, former Charlton manager Alan Curbishley says he can’t help but feel sorry for Rooney. “Everybody will be waiting for him to pull on the shirt of his country and become some kind of superman”, something Curbishley sees as unreasonable.

But why? Cometh the hour, cometh the man. And Rooney is England’s best player. Well, he was before Crouch emerged from the clouds…

Posted: 10th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Herr We Go

DOES Sven Goran Eriksson’s halo-styled hair have more bounce today?

We ask in light of the Mirror’s news that the England manager has just had a spell under Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous hairdryer.

“HERR DRYER,” says the Mirror’s headline. The news is that the pair shared a heated “four-letter exchange” over the matter of Wayne Rooney’s toe.

During the 25-minute phone call on Wednesday, Ferguson is said to have ranted at the Swede. “Ferguson goes ballistic over Rooney verdict,” says the Mail. The piece is afforded the exiting title “Sven at war”.

But surely Sven is too civilised for war? Is he not the man who emptied the dishwasher before bedding Faria Alam? Any fight with Sven will only take place once he has vacuumed the lounge carpet and dusted his Nancy.

But we are mistaken. And in the Express we read that Sven was up for a fight. The paper says that while Fergie ranted and raved, Sven “warned” him to stay out of things that do not concern him.

By way of an example of how Sven saw off Fergie’s assault, we note what he said to the assembled hacks. “I’m prepared to listen to everyone and discuss with them about Rooney, but the last say in this story is Rooney’s and mine.”

Though not quite in the league of Brian Clough (“If I had an argument with a player we would sit down for twenty minutes, talk about it and then decide I was right!”), Sven’s words are a welcome departure from his more usual “Yes, er, well, you see, yes, very good, I think so”.

And Sven has more to say. He continues: “I’m doing this in the best interests of Rooney, the England team and 40 million England fans. I’m responsible for it.”

Not to mention it being in the best interests of a manager keen to leave his job on a high and who knows that Rooney holds the key to England success.

But we must not be too excited. The Express hears from James Bliss, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’s hospital, London. He says the nation is being “deluded” about Wayne. Says he: “There is a significant risk of his foot breaking down.”

But Bliss concedes that Rooney should be fit enough to play in the World Cup’s late stages. Which should be fine so long as the team qualify from their group.

And we should not expect too much. As the Mail reports, of 14 matches played in opening matches at major tournaments, England have won just three – and lost five.

And have never won an opening match with Rooney on the field…

Posted: 9th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Real Love

World Cup Quotes

“He’s our best player and having him back helps our chances of going all the way” – Steven Gerrard on Wayne Rooney

“He has this harmony in his movements, a coordination that is very good and he also can go back and help with the game building” – Paraguay’s Santa Cruz on the robotic Peter Crouch

“In Spain, we all kiss each other before we go out. I nearly did it when I came off against Jamaica at Old Trafford. When Aaron [Lennon] was coming on, I reached forward to kiss him, but then thought, ‘No, I better not’” – David Beckham feels the love

“When you start with three points it’s like a password into the next round. The next game you don’t play with pressure, with a knife at your throat” – Poland’s left-back Michal Zewlakow prepares to stick it to Ecuador

“By scoring more goals, I suppose” – Poland’s coach Pawel Janas outlines his team’s cunning plan for victory in Germany

“Of course! I’m a fantastic dancer!” – Cameroon legend Roger Milla who romanced the corner flag in Italia ’90 with such panache

“I think I got all that out of my system quite quickly” – England’s Paul Robinson on the outbreak of vomiting and diarrhoea that afflicted his Spurs club on the last day of the Premiership season

World Cup Puns

HERR DRYER (Mirror) – Sven Goran Eriksson takes a phone call form Alex Ferguson

“You have to hand it to us” (Mail) – reliving Maradona and 1986

“STUFF ROO FERGIE” (Star) – More on that Sven-Ferguson row

“SWEDE REVENGE FOR SVEN (Star) – And again…

“Let’s get it Ron, lads” (Sun) – Ronaldinho can’t wait to face England

Posted: 9th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Taxing Times

World Cup Winners

Taxing Times
Residents of Rio de Janeiro are “taxing” motorists to raise cash to pay for street decorations. Vehicles have been stopped and drivers invited to make “contributions” to help deck the streets out in Brazil’s green and yellow.

Not So Nazi
Insp Sandra Kessing, a German Federal Police officer, says plastic Nazi helmets worn by England fans are just a bit of a giggle. “They just want to have fun,” she said.

Looking For A Herro
Sven Goran Eriksson who stood his ground when confronted by an angry Alex Ferguson (See Backpages).

World Cup Losers

Causing A Stink
Three Englishmen are reported to be the first hooligans arrested at the World Cup. The yobs, who vandalised a taxi at the airport (!), pleaded guilty in a Cologne court to being drunk and disorderly.

Not Wanted
Police are looking for 180 banned individuals who failed to surrender their passports last week. The known troublemakers were required to do so by law.

Posted: 9th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Wayne’s pain

Reports say Wayne Rooney was “blowing heavily” in yesterday’s England training session. Since breaking his foot, he has lost 7lb.

Togo’s Prime minister Edem Kodjo will travel to Germany today to help resolve a pay dispute with his country’s squad

Chelsea are to offer Frank Lampard an extra £40,000 a week to keep him at the club (Sun)

Craig Bellamy could be on his way to Liverpool (Express)

Newcastle are interested in making a £4m bid for Fulham’s Steed Malbranque (Mirror)

Manchester United are believed to be set to offer Spurs £7million for Michael Carrick (Independent)

Arsenal defender Pascal Cygan is set for a £1million move to St Etienne (Mirror)

Posted: 9th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Model Behaviour

“IT’S time to end the clichés about Germany,” says Claudia Schiffer.

Schiffer, a German and, surprisingly to some not dressed in a pair of patent leather boots, slapping a small whip against her thigh and jutting out her chin, has been helping her country prepare for the World Cup.

“We want to do this with lightness,” says Claudia in an interview with the Times. “We want to show that Germans really do have a sense of humour and a creative flair.”

Sure, Albert Speer was creative. And what cinema goer hasn’t heard a German laugh, even in a sombre moment, like when telling a Britisher the war for them is over or pulling Dustin Hoffman’s teeth out.

But modern Germany is nothing like it was back in the middle of the last century. As the Times says, there is more to the place than “Hitler and Nazis”.

The paper tells us that Germany is “a land of inventors”, who created the aspirin, the laptop and a spiked running shoe (a particularly unpleasant weapon in the wrong hands).

The entire campaign is called ‘The Land of Ideas’.

The paper says Germans are being prepared for the arrival of a million tourists for the tournament with English language classes for bus and taxi drivers. Waitresses are being encouraged to ask customers if they have enjoyed their meals.

There are institutions called “Laugh Academies” and “Smile School”. Little more is said about them in the piece, but they sound uniquely terrifying and intrinsically German.

But the Germans are trying, and they are aware of their history. The Times uses the example of the official slogan for the World Cup, “A Time To Make Friends”.

Klaus von Dohnanyi, a retired German politicians and former government minister, explains: “A proper translation from the German slogan would be something like ‘We are playing host to our friends’, but that seems to be too bold a statement.”

Modern Germany is not just welcoming Japan, Croatia, Italy and maybe bits of Spain and France, it is welcoming everyone.

“Vorsprung durch football,” says the Times leader. This is Germany’s chance to show that the county is nothing like it was back in those “12 years of madness”.

Sport can present a new German face to the World. This is the biggest sporting event a unified Germany has staged since the 1936 Olympics. It’s sure to be a lot better than that…

Posted: 8th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Can Go Roo

TOO often when a footballer appears on the front pages of the newspapers, the story is sleazy and salacious, taking in spit-roasts, booze and Page 3 stunnas.

But today the news is good. As the Sun’s front page says: “TOE NEWS IS GOOD NEWS.” Wayne Rooney will play in the World Cup. As the Mirror announces on its front page: “Roojoice!”

It was never a certainty the England tyro would make it to Germany. The Sun talks of a “battle” that “raged” for seven hours.

On one side were the blazer-clad doyens of the English FA. They saw the results of the scan on Rooney’s damaged metatarsal and wanted the player to join the rest of the England party in Baden Baden.

On the other side were Manchester United. They were less positive. As a source tells the paper: “It developed into a long hard struggle.”

But the FA won the day, and United are left sweating on the fitness of their star player.

But perhaps they need not worry. As the Mirror says, Rooney will only be fit to play in the later stages of the tournament. And there is no guarantee England will make it that far – especially without Rooney.

Writing in the Times, Martin O’Neill says that even with a “core of five or six genuine world-class players” it is Rooney who holds the key to England winning the tournament.

And scoring a penalty may be pretty important, too. There is a chance that England will face hosts Germany in the second round, a prospect David Beckham is not looking forward to.

The paper says a penalty shoot-out against the Germans is Beckham’s “nightmare”. Beckham – whose missed spot-kick played a part in England’s Euro 2004 quarter-final defeat on penalties to Portugal – says he hopes England “don’t meet Germany in a shoot-out”.

He’s not the only one. The woman seated behind the goal in Row Z is advised to buy a hard hat…

Posted: 8th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Over The Roon

Quotes Of The Day

“I have never used my father for nepotism to boost my career” – Serbia & Montenegro’s Dusan Petkovic, son of team manager Ilija

“Wayne Rooney will be fit to play some part in Germany 2006” – FIFA give England fans hope

“The taller they are the harder they fall” – Paraguay’s Roque Santa Cruz on England’s Peter Crouch

“A penalty shoot-out is like Russian Roulette. It is a brutal way and there has to be a winner. We just hope we won’t meet Germany in a shoot-out” – David Beckham looks forward to another painful defeat

“The English know we have always been more successful than them in tournaments. That is instilled in the back of their minds” – Germany’s Jens Lehmann says Germany have the edge over England

Puns Of The Day

Wayne Rooney’s return to fitness:

“Over The Roon” (Mirror)

“Roojoice!” (Mirror)

“Toe news is good news” (Sun)

“Here we toe” (Star)

“World War Toe” (Sun)

“Swede dream” (Star) – Rooney to return for Sweden game

Posted: 8th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

All Bar One


Winners Are Grinners

Ladbroke’s are hoping Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen or anyone other than Brazil’s Ronaldinho will be top scorer at the World Cup. A punter is set to win £671,000 if the toothsome one scores most.

Fred Certs

Bookmaker Fred Done has staked £250,000 at 10-1 on England winning the World Cup.

A Long Story

Residents of the German town of Unna are knitting a World Cup a scarf. When completed it will be eight miles long.


All Bar One

Residents in Oehringen, Germany, hosted a World Cup party for the Australian team. The beer was there. The big sausages were there. All the Australians were not there. Only Luke Wilkshire, who plays for League One Bristol City, bothered to turn up.

Demand For Tickets

England fans are angry that 21 nations have been given a larger ticket allowance. Organisers gave the FA just 9,269 tickets for England’s three Group B games. That’s less than Trinidad & Tobago (9,615 tickets), Togo (10,010), Ivory Coast (10,618) and Tunisia (11.854). The FA asked opposition FAs for any unsold tickets. An additional 4,889 have now been acquired.

Posted: 8th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Sol Long

Barcelona are in the hunt for Chelsea’s Frank Lampard. The Spanish side are prepared to offer Portuguese player Deco and cash (Sun)

Arsenal and Tottenham are both interested in French left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Mirror)

Liverpool players Steen Gerrard and Peter Crouch have asked manager Raphael Benitz to buy Birmingham’s Jermaine Pennant (Sun)

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp is ready to pay £5m to West Brom for defender Curtis Davies (Sun)

Spurs are ready to make a £2m bid for Blackburn’s Steven Reid (Sun)

Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan has been in talks with Graeme Souness about the vacant manager’s post at Selhurst Park (Various)

Wolves’ Joleon Lescott is set to sing for Everton for £5m (Sun)

Fulham are willing to pay £3m for Birmingham striker Emile Heskey (Guardian)

Middlesbrough are set to sign Cameroon winger Rudolphe Douala from Sporting Lisbon for £2m (Sun)

Sol Campbell is set to leave Arsenal for Turkish club Fenerbahce (Star)

Paraguay’s captain Carlos Gamarra says England will not even make it through Group B (Various)

Posted: 8th, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Poles Apart

It is only in the interests of reporting and context that the Times is forced to mention that line, as delivered by Basil Fawlty to a table of German tourists.

Indeed, the Times is nothing if not thorough and in this era of journalism for all and blogging, it is good to see a venerable old newspaper giving over a section to the scene in which the proprietor of a hotel in Torquay commands his staff, “Don’t mention the War.”

But things have moved on. Now the order of the day is for harmony, and not “two egg mayonnaise, a prawn Goebbels, a Hermann Goering and four Colditz salads”.

The Times says that John Cleese, who brought Mr Fawlty to the world, is a Germanophile who is backing projects designed to foster unity and banish bigotry.

Says Cleese: “I’m delighted to help with trying to break down the ridiculous anti-German prejudices of the tabloids and clowns like Basil Fawlty, who are pathetically stuck in a world view that’s more than half a century out of date.”

Of course the “Achtung! Achtung” headlines of the tabloid press the preceded England-Germany encounters and songs about Ten German bombers are old hat. And we pity those anachronistic types among us who saw Basil goose-stepping in his hotel and laughed at the German guests and not the Britisher’s inability to let go of the past. Shame on you.

But Cleese is hopeful of making us look to the brave new tomorrow, and he’s backing a new song those jingoistic types on the terraces can sing.

Lay down your inflatable spitfires, stop the Escape To Victory theme tune and give full throat to Don’t Mention The War.

The song includes such lines as: “They might have bombed our chipshop 60 years ago/ But a billion pints of lager later, here we go (come on then!).” And: “Bend that ball round the wall Instead of saving Poland we are scoring goals/ After 40 years of extra time and bacon rolls (bacon rolls!)”

It cannot fail. As Wolfgang Ischinger, Germany’s football-loving Ambassador, says, the World Cup aims to “show that the clichés and stereotypes of the old days are no longer relevant”.

And anyone who says otherwise is sad and pathetic and deserves to be taken outside and shot…

Posted: 2nd, June 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Footing The Bill

Mistakes are easily made. Had Prince Harry worn a swastika to a friend’s fancy dress party in downtown Munich he would have been fined.

What passes for comedy in these lands will earn you a swift telling off and more bedsides over there.

So anyone walking the streets of Berlin, raising an arm to point out interesting masonry work on such and such a building while rubbing an index finger across their top lip in thoughtful contemplation should take care. Your actions may be misconstrued.

And there is more. The Mirror has printed a handy tear-out-and-keep guide to what various activities in Germany will earn you.

The section is headed “Yob footie fans face list of set fines”.

A breach of the peace will cost you £107. Causing actual bodily harm to another will set you back £850. Being drunk or urinating in public costs you £100, far in excess of the proverbial penny. And dropping litter is met by a fine of £50.

Readers should note that this is not meant to be a price list. Travelling England fans are not to view the list as some kind of menu from which to select the yobbery du jour.

Gangs of lads high on hooch and fuelled by gigantic sausages should not club together and afford their designated representative the ‘treat’ of beating a fan of a foreign team to a bloody pulp.

A price tag of £850 may be reasonable, and no more than the price of a standard ticket to watch Chelsea, but it is bad form to smash people’s faces in.

That said, forearmed is the hooligan who goes equipped to the match, ensuring he has enough cash left over from buying beer, more beer and David Hasselhoff T-shirts to pay off the German judiciary should he get pinched taking a leak in the street.

Lastly, we see that streaking on the pitch carries a fine of £8,000.

Whether or not this represents good value for money depends on timing. Get it right, and you and the crime will pay for itself as you appear on daytime TV and your own website.

Time it badly, say, when David Beckham is all set to take a crucial penalty and the ensuing mass brawl could earn enough fines to bankrupt the country…

Posted: 26th, May 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Don’t Mention Culloden

There will be no Tartan Army wandering about Germany behaving well and doing their best to show that they are not English. The Scots are not a bit like those jingoistic England fans. Well, not when they are abroad and the English are watching.

Scotland will be tuning in to Big Brother when Theo Walcott trots onto the pitch in Berlin and lashes home the winning goal in the final.

The Scots will be trying to forget the English but the English will be remembering the Scots. As the Telegraph reports, the BBC has selected Judas Maccabeus, Handel’s oratorio, for its World Cup theme.

Handel is seen as suitable because the composer was born in Germany and became a British citizen.

But keen followers of classical music will quickly realise that this stirring piece includes a tribute to the Duke of Cumberland – See the Conquering Hero Comes. They and historians will note that he inflicted defeat on the Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden.

Rob Gibson, a Scottish National Party member of the Scottish Parliament, notes the work’s significance. Says he: “How can they possibly encourage people [in Scotland] to support England when we are exposed to symbols of oppression like this?”

We could interject and say that many Scots make a point in major sporting events of not supporting England, going as far as cheering on the Germans in penalty shoot outs against the auld enemy.

But we must let Gibson continue. “At a time when multi-culturalism is being celebrated, I can’t understand how they can be so insensitive. It’s an Anglo-centric view… of the world and of music.”

Hamish Husband, of the Tartan Army, is appalled. He tells the paper: “Normally it takes a few minutes after England kick off for a commentator to start talking about 1966 before I start going off England. This time they’ve done it five weeks early.”

Happily, Hamish, Rob and many other Scots can ignore Handel and stick with Paul Oakenfold’s Big Brother theme tune, and their dreams of a German penalty.

Posted: 11th, May 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Putting The Lag In Lager

‘“GOERING. Goering. Gone.” And so another point of Spitfire beer (“The Bottle of Britain”) is poured down the neck of an English patriot.

The other is in the Albert Hall

And there is more. “ALE MEET AGAIN,” says the Star, picking thought its dog-eared dictionary of World War II puns. Spitfire Ale has been “accused of goose-stepping over the mark”.

How so? The Star produces a montage of posters produced by Shepherd Neame, who produce the drink. There’s a shot of Adolph Hitler, a famous non-drinker, and the message “Spot the ball”.

Another advert has free drinking and smoking Winston Churchill giving the “V” for Victory salute and ordering “Two more pints please”.

But now there is something else. Beneath a picture of runners taking part in the London Marathon is the image of Hitler. He is wearing a T–shirt bearing the message: “I DIDN’T RUN THE WORLD.”

This is big news for The star – “Your Official World Cup Paper”. And it has reached the ears of the Germans.

An official at the German embassy in London tells the paper: “This would never have happened under our laws. You would go to prison for that in Germany.”

Putting the lag in lager, so to speak…’

Posted: 29th, April 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Uber Alles

‘“YOU’RE the first in my life/ To make me think/ That we might just go all the way…”

And one World Cup

That’s a verse from the official England World Cup song by Embrace. It might sounds like some adolescent teen dreaming of losing his virginity, but it is a football song sure to inspire the lads to score on the pitch.

But the Sun thinks something more dynamic is needed. So it has published its own anthem. It’s based on the theme tune to the TV show Dad’s Army, a series set in World War II.

The song includes the “catchy” lyrics “Who do you think you are kidding Jurgen Klinsmann? If you think we’re on the run…”

Clearly the song is utterly dreadful. But there is better to come. And it mentions the war in more overt ways.

The writer of this tune is Justin Hawkins, lead singer of Queen tribute band, The Darkness. The Sun says that Justin is “horrified” that England’s official anthem ignores our 1945 victory over the Bosch.

“Why can’t we commemorate all those men who gave their lives in the name of freedom in the war?” asks Justin. “And, of course, in this case – to bash The Hun. It’s a national sport.”

Well, if you can’t beat them at football, you can at least out sing them.

So take it away, Justin: “We fought them on the beaches now we’ll pay them on the field. Once again the world will surely yield.”

And then there’s the middle bit. Justin’s chorus is based on the German national anthem. Justin says the word “England” in time to the oompah band’s Teutonic beat.

It is nothing less than inspired. But will it be enough?’

Posted: 27th, April 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Joking Apart

‘“WE haf ways of making you laugh,” says the Sun’s headline, a twist on the old German staple. “GERMANS TO SHOW FUNNY SIDE.”

If Germans did humour…

How can the Hun fail to laugh as the Sun’s St George mounts his trusty steed and rides into Berlin?

One of the old enemy even manages to make what may well be a joke. Says German fan Udo Schneider: “The horse would walk into our team.”

Of course, given the current palsied state of the German national aide, Herr Schneider may just be stating a fact.

But while German fans chant “Three World Cups and one world Pope”, Germany’s new ambassador to Britain says that he will prove that Germans have a fine sense of humour.

Wolfgang Ischinger, for it is he, says Germans “love to have parties and they have parties more than most people”, like the Austrians and Swiss.

“The tournament gives us the perfect opportunity to present a new image of our country. This is the year for us to show that the clichés and stereotypes of the old days are no longer relevant.”

No longer relevant? Now he really is joking. Although beating the Germans on penalties would make a welcome change…’

Posted: 24th, April 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Ein Song Fur Europe

‘“ZING VEN YOU’RE WINNING,” says the Star, a finger shoved under its nose as is stifling a derisory snort.

‘Ve von ze Cup’

The paper says that “Foreign Office bigwigs” have told England’s brave supporters to sing songs in German at the World Cup.

Singing in German will, as the Foreign Office advice runs, enable the 100,000 England supporters expected to descend on the land of the Hun to bond with their hosts.

As FO Minister Lord Triesman says: “On our website there will be translations of England football songs that might be a bit of fun.”

But before you look up the German for “You’re going home in a St John’s ambulance”, “Dambusters” and the “Ten Bombers” chant, Lord Triesman says, “There is no need to do anything gratuitously offensive.”

Indeed, there is not. There is no need, but sill we expect that lots and lots of England fans will cause offence.

Still the Sun has a go at following this diktat. “Drei lowen auf einem hemd, Jules Rimet noch glanzendes,” says the Sun, getting into the party mood with a German version of Three lions of a shirt, Jules Rimet still gleaming.

And there is more. “Sie singen nicht mehr” (You’re not singing anymore), “Jetz gehts England!” (Come on England), “Fueen Sie den Schweden ab” (Sack the Swede) and “Sind Sie Schottland in derVerkleidung?” (Are you Scotland in disguise) are all given full throat.

But surely this is all unnecessary. As any English football supporter who has ever witnessed a German crowd in full voice knows, the old enemy often sing in fluent and immaculate English.

There is a real danger that some of England’s more obedient supporters will be the only ones belting out a tune in the German language.

It’s a happening that could lead to all sorts of ramifications, not least of all when other less enlightened England fans mistake these singers for Germans and decide to set about them with inflatable aircraft and fists…’

Posted: 20th, April 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Goering Up

‘IS it pronounced ‘Goering’?

You’re Goering home in ein St John’s ambulance…

We are unsure, and just ask England football supporters to take care when ordering their new “GER-ENG TRANSLATOR” T-shirts, less they invoke the spirit of Nazi leader Hermann Goering and upset their World Cup hosts.

As the Star reports, the “England 2006” T-shirt is available from the Asda chain of supermarkets, and features some key phrases to get the most Europhile England fan understood.

Helpfully, the German phrases are printed on the T–shirt’s back thus giving lads something to study as they queue up for “zehn pints von larger bitte, barman”.

This is just great. And, as the Star says, this mobile, man-sized phrasebook forms just one part of the “wacky products” “hordes of spectators stampeding over to watch the World Cup” will carry before them.

Other items include World War 2 hats bearing the legend “Come On England” – or “Vorld Vor Zwie Hets”, as England’s German speaking fans are wont to call them…’

Posted: 10th, April 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment