Sunday, 20 June 2010
Back in January this year, I provided Rafael Benitez with a complimentary 5 step guide to follow, that guaranteed to revive Liverpool's stalling season and get them into the Champions League position that every club would happily sell there Grandmother for. Had Benitez chose not to shun the enlightening guide, he might have secured 4th spot, and not found himself extricated to the boredom of Italian football, with Internazionale.
Such is my willingness to offer the likes of Benitez with unrivaled wisdom, in a selfless act, I have this time provided Fabio Capello with 5 steps to save England's World Cup venture. All of the steps should be followed without question, to the letter and in the stated order. Failure to follow in this manner will void the guarantee of qualification for the second round. So without further delay......
1. The Fans
First and foremost, bar the oppressive fans from the stadium, and from watching live indefinitely. The public's insatiable desire for success, fueled by an unrelenting delusional media, has become a heavy burden for England. The pressure to repay the fans support is simply too much for the millionaire professionals, who's every wayward touch stirs the resentment of each fan that has forked out thousands to be in South Africa. How dare they boo the team against Algeria, sparking sarcastic retort from Rooney. Until we have regained the respect of Rooney, we will be banished to solitary confinement, where impending English escapades will be relayed by vidi printer, and the cold sterile tone of the results announcer over the radio. Strictly no images or video footage.
2. The Kits
Apparently, you can judge a great deal about a person by the tidiness of his or her shoes, once said by many a mother. The same, unfortunately can not be said about England's pristine tailored strips, which act like a veil of incompetence each time a player dares to pull one on. To rid the players of the shackles that are the 3 lions on the shirts, allow -actually insist- that they play in their corresponding club shirts, which they play far better in, week in week out in the Premier League. We could even go as far as to rename the tournament the FA Premier League World Cup, just to help further deceive the England players that they are playing club football.
3. The Left Wing Problem
Ah, yes that old gem. Given Capello's defiance in bringing Adam Johnson, a true left footed winger with his squad to South Africa, the next best thing would be little old Joe Cole. Cole is obviously not a winger in the traditional sense of the word, but he can play with his left foot, and will obey when told to stick to the sideline. Unlike Gerrard, who drifts away from the treacherous left wing, like I drift away from defensive duties when playing for Toronto Celtic.
4. The frustrated Talisman
Short of dropping Wayne Rooney, for his lackluster displays thus far, deploy him as a lone striker, as he is for Manchester United where he managed 26 goals this season. Then, move Gerrard in behind as the supporting striker. This in turn would allow Barry to play as a defensive midfielder while Lampard links up the play, between defense and attack. Done and done. This tactical nonsense really isn't rocket science.
5. David Beckham
If he is going to insist on sitting on the bench with the team, then equally we should insist that he be kitted up and ready to play at a moments notice. He only suffered an Achilles injury, no big deal. Even if his injury does render him immobile from the ankle up, just stick him in a wheel chair on the right wing, which he can gently rise from for the occasional pin point cross. The wheel chair could also be used to move the incapacitated Beckham to critical freekick positions, where again he clamber from, and get England out of jail with a curling freekick.
Finally, if Capello chooses to ignore this guide, and you are an England supporter I have one last piece of advice. Lower your expectations. We are mediocre. Accept the tag gracefully. On a bad day we will struggle to qualify for tournaments, on a good day we will reach a quarter final. That's it. Whilst maniacally staring into a mirror, shout the sentence "we are a mediocre team" 3 times, with your face painted in the colours of St Georges flag, followed by a deep inhale of breath after yelp. Once the self remonstrations is complete, and the tears have began to make the red run like mascara, you will feel a sense of calm acceptance wash over you, a truly life changing experience. Since Italia 90 I have witnessed 20 years of unfulfilled apparent potential, and I no longer get angry. Though, I might have to vigorously demonstrate those breathing exercises come Wednesday night, against Slovenia.