Date: 18th July 2010 at 5:05pm
Written by:

Music legend and Manchester City supporter, Roy Harper sent us the following rant.

A Team

The 2010 World Cup has gone. I’d hoped that it would disappear completely, but some of its lingered, and all kinds of conclusions and their caveats have come winging into my bonce as the embers fade.

I thought that the ball needed to be dispensed with before it arrived at the tournament. It was totally useless IMO. It could not be controlled by those who hadn’t spent time with it. It was only conducive to thousands of misplaced kicks and over-passing, and took a lot of the usual skill out of the game completely.

A thorough enquiry needs to be held into why it was used at all in a tournament of this magnitude. The fact that the Germans had been using it for half a season says a lot in itself. There are enough ramifications there alone to warrant serious enquiry. The ball is worth an article in itself.

Roy Harper

However, let’s get back to the football…

Regardless of the obvious issues with the ball, I liked Germany the most. I thought that they were the most entertaining team. I was happy that Muller got the golden boot; it might have seemed gratuitous if either Villa or Schneider had got it after the nonsense in the Final. I don’t really see how Howard Webb could be blamed too much either. He did his best to keep 22 players on the field in the world’s premier event.

RTE (Irish TV Broadcaster) & BBC

Dunphy and Giles and the Irish commentators to a man said that he was rubbish, but what do they want? The BBC were slightly more accurate, if wistful.

How many times have you seen a game wrecked by one man being sent off after ten minutes? The last WC final ref, Collina, never had a game like that to ref.

Admittedly, De Jong should have been sent off, and would have been in any other game; but the show piece event, transmitted to 700 million people worldwide needed to keep its players on the pitch for as long as possible. IMO.

Perhaps sending him off would have altered the game positively, but I expect Webb’s brief was a little different than that. Sport it might have been, but only if you’re entertained by watching a contest based on fear of failure. The Dutch could have been down to 8! Van Bommel and Schneider should have gone as well. Isn’t there some kind of abandonment kicks in at that stage?!

Mr Webb

Webb’s great sin was to miss the corner that Holland claimed during the move before the Spanish goal, but he was unsighted because it was just a minor deflection off Casillas that none of the officials could really have seen.

Jimmy Page Roy Harper Hangman Whistle Test 1984

Golden Balls

I was really pleased that Diego Forlan got the Golden Ball. I thought that his sportsmanship, attitude and demeanour were spot on throughout the tournament. I really loved the way he played. He must feel like a great loss to Ferguson.

There’s been surprisingly little talk of Muller, Ozil or Schweinsteiger coming to the Premiership. I would have thought that they would have become targets, but there seems to be a blind spot in the English media with regard to German players. A suspicion perhaps that they wouldn’t measure up over here, but I just have to look back at last year’s under-21 tournament in Sweden to remember that in the final we were torn apart by Ozil, Boateng and Khedira. 4 – 0 they beat us, and it could have been more.

I think, if my memory serves me right that it was Milner’s 42nd and last cap for the under 21s!! Onuoha and Richards played in that game. The development of the English in the period since that game doesn’t remotely compare with that of the Germans. Mind you, the Germans have been part of a recognized TEAM since then.

Rabbit Dazzled In Headlights

I thought England were caught in the headlights of the great media bus that accompanied them over there. Poor beggars. A reality check they all needed though, and not before time. Terry’s a great centre back, but he needs to go now. In my opinion, he’s too disruptive an influence.

It doesn’t help either that Lampard and Gerrard reportedly don’t like each other! Can you imagine that being allowed to happen in the German team? With texts coming out of vacuous Ashley in left field to the effect that he ‘hates England…and the people’.

Lampard’s good, but he should probably be retired now. He’s 32, and apparently ‘too intelligent’ to be hanging about in the ranks; (and perhaps he’s got too used to quietly manipulating). Rio has to be retired, along with Upson, and Carragher for the second time.

Glen Johnson could maybe play in midfield. He’s not absolutely defence-minded, and he’s prone to making mistakes at the back, which isn’t good. And if some discipline and positional awareness could be pumped into Micah, he can still make right back. Bit late, perhaps. The glaring reminder is there for all time, for all of them to see in perpetuity. Nine of them practically in the German penalty area when Ozil and co broke for the third goal. I was stood up shouting ‘Behind you!!’ It was a pantomime. They needed a defence, or at least someone who was thinking about one.

Next Tournament

Barry is now definitely on the edge, while Gerrard is perhaps worth keeping (only for the Euros), but Rooney has to learn that he’s only got one body. When he does he should be made captain, and people like Walcott, Jagielka and Lescott should be rehabilitated. Rodwell has to be trained to do a job in midfield, and that training has to be intensified, just so as at least we know. Kieran Gibbs has to play. Jack Wilshere has to be quickly progressed into the team. Adam Johnson has to play. It seemed stupid that he didn’t earn a place in the 23, but maybe he’s been spared the ignominy.

Personally, I don’t think that Lennon’s as good as SWP, because he’s ineffective coming back, and despite the ‘Capello Index’, I have my doubts about Defoe. Where’s Bobby Moore when you need him?

Starting From Scratch

England need to start from scratch at grass roots, as we all know now, but there is the makings of a TEAM there. I’m sure that if we were to train these young guys to be A TEAM, which the current lot clearly are not, then we’d have more success at tournament level than we’ve had for years.

I’ve used this analogy years ago, while analysing another British issue unrelated to football, but it still stands: – The current players are truly reminiscent of a very old British problem.

When the Romans arrived for the second time, in 43AD, the British tribes took them on one by one. Instead of banding together, and becoming a team, they all elected to take it in turns to fight ‘the enemy’. That’s what it still looks like. A collection of disorganised individuals who are willing to stand by and watch someone else have a go whilst waiting their turn, or all go together in a disorganized mess.

This is what was happening 2000 years ago! This isn’t supposed to be a joke analogy either. I’m for real. It’s time for a change!! Or for at least a re-vamp of an ancient mentality. After all, we might still have an opportunity to take advantage of our own pet Primus Pilus, who is still in charge…? Surely he should know the ropes.

Sure, it’s ok for Scousers, Geordies, Cockney’s, Janners, Mackems, Mancs, Yellow-Bellies, Tykes, Smoggies and all the rest to retain their separate identities, but isn’t it about time we thought about putting A TEAM together? Throwing away the old suspicions and making up. Joining the rest of the world, like. It could be worse of course. ‘There but for fortune’, we could be France…or Italy…but theirs are slightly different problems.


And shouldn’t devotion to the task of just doing well be made with every possible sacrifice? We had the players to do as well as Uruguay…but did we really? Are present England just a bunch of tabloid fantasies? Wouldn’t it be better to send a Dulwich and Fleetwood Towns combined eleven to the next qualifiers and play with true Corinthian spirit..and have done with it.

It would be far more entertaining. Not like a complete waste of time.

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