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Britannia Still Fooling The Waves

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Cyprus 1878

A fanfare of horns have blared out various cacophonous melodies over the last couple of years. This was not so noticable say 10 years ago, but there is a renewed sense of pride in English football, particularly at a national level. Brazilians have Olodum like drums, whole samba schools in the stadium. South African’s their mighty and to many annoying Vuvuzelas, sounding like a trillion wasps buzzing in your ears. And the English have an array of horns, people on brass, who may have even served at some point in the Sally Army blowing familiar melodies, like the national anthem and an old colonialist melody line on ‘rule Britannia Britannia rules the waves’.

Hearing this, as a person who originates from a former British colony, Cyprus, is annoying, particularly as its is 2010 and Britannia does not rule the waves. Whatever happened to The Commonwealth, anti-colonial struggles and yes, Liberation, albeit partial!

So this sense of English pride, manifest in such a backward sounding communicative way, and through such a mass medium, such as TV is far more disturbing than a zillion Vuvuzelas in my ears.

The anachronistic element of the English national side is also nothing new. Since 1966 we/they/us/them have always been looking back to the one time when England won the World Cup. No doubt, to win such a trophy is an act of global sporting achievement but the problem is we are never allowed to forget it. So every time England win three games in a row, as evidenced from the path to South African World Cup qualification, TV commentators, footballers, managers, fans and even politicians somehow think they will win the World Cup again. And if all of a sudden they lose to more skilled opposition, ie the painful lesson taught by Germany in South Africa , the critics emerge and demand the manager’s dismissal. Fabio’s head on a plate by morning please!

Even since their demise in South Africa, England have constructed a false sense of hope, a recovery of sorts, a bit like the Cameron/Clegg alliance suddenly deciding the recession is on the way out when may be they know it’s not. So what happens, four months pass, a couple of easy wins against mediocre opponents and suddenly, a goalless home draw against Montenegro. Yet again the manager is to blame and every one has flashbacks to their most dreadful World Cup game against Algeria, which lets face it was one of the scrapiest games in the entire history of world football.

English football, just like English contemporary history, will only move forward when it cleans out the closet and shakes off some of those phantoms of the past. Until then, it’s a fake sense of glory about still ruling the world football, politics and otherwise.

As a descendent of a former colony, once ruled by England, when the horn players in the stadiums and the commentators outside them, finally realize its nearly 2011 and not 1878, I will be a much happier citizen of the world.

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Football – a lack of morality

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Football is perhaps one of the few games in the world where one person’s suffering is another’s survival. Despite all the rules and regulations, its seems it is perfectly legitimate to cheat not in a subtle way but in front of millions of televised viewers and thousands of punters in stadiums. It seems anachronistic then that cameras have not deployed in this deceptive game. But more of that later. I want to focus on the ethics of cheating.

The E word – Ethics is all about morality. From the day we are born we are taught the difference between wrong and right. So then is it virtuous to be in a goalmouth in the last-minute of a game keeping the ball out of the net with bare hands. Or as a goalie, watching a ball bounce clearly over the line, is it right to simply stay silent? What makes it all so much worse is we know that they know that we know they are cheats. And that tag line will follow guilty parties for the rest of their lives.

Maradona is no Pele in my mind. He was a great player but that ‘hand of god’ in 1986 against England, will mark him out for life as a cheat. I know he then went on to score a phenomenal goal where he dribbled round 6 England players and banged it into the net but that hand, for all the world to see stamped on our collective globalised football psyche to eternity.

So how come no one ever admits they cheated. Take Suarez, the latest ‘hand of god’ footballing fatality. Claiming he ‘had no choice’ but to play goalie, his immoral move effectively kept Ghana out of the semi-finals. He will miss one match but who knows if Uruguay beat Holland – an unlikely feat – Luis Suarez may get the chance to cheat again.

Football needs cameras just like politicians need accountability. What would people like to be remembered for – their goals – or acts of deception. Pele in my mind will live forever, as a legend. Diego Maradona,Luis Suarez and a plethora of others…wont!

Britannia still fools the waves

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Grannies playing spastra…Sunday league teams kicking a ball around effortlessley on Hackney Marshes…As the England fans booed after the game Wayne Rooney reacted, pitbull style in front the cameras. What then is wrong with England as a football team? Well first up they never play like a team because they don’t know, just like all of us, who the team actually is until a couple of hours before the game. Capello’s mysterious approach then has hindered developing a team spirit. Now according to The Sun Football Guru and Tottenham saviour, Harry Redknapp this is common practice as it prevents information leaking out from disgruntled players who may not be picked to the opponents before a game. But surely these people who kick a round object aimlessly for a few hours a day are getting paid much more in a year than all if us earn in a life time, so where’s the loyalty, respect, let alone confidentiality.

Next up, they don’t play like a team because they are still playing like competing players in the Premiership. These top flight footballers seem to have much more loyalty to club rather then country, which frankly sucks considering this is a world cup.

There are also some players who think they are ready, the bees knees and all the rest, but really they aint ready yet and others that are so past it that one wonders why they are still being picked. Rooney for instance seems to be the kingpin of the England side but if he played like that two games in a row for Man United Fergie would have benched him. Heskey, with all due respect is way passed it as a starting player and he hasn’t scored for England in ages. Where’s Joe Cole? He hasn’t been given a moments play and yet he has more flair and determination than many.

Finally, Capello has to go. It just isn’t working for him or for England. Despite being in the job for a few years now he seems to be out of touch with the players appearing as a rather frustrated man, who couldn’t muster a goal against a sub standard side – lets face it Algeria had lost 4 out of their 5 last matches – on his birthday.

So England-v-Slovenia…I’d rather watch the grannies playing spastra…

LETS GET REAL!

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Giggs second goal sealed it!

Giggs first goal sealed it!

Admittedly, I predicted the score of 3-1 on the morning of Saturday 12th September, when Spurs were scheduled to play Man Utd. The only problem was I believed it would be as it reads – home team 3 away team just 1! After their greatest start to any season since 1961, namely 4 wins in a row, confidence was a high at White Hart Lane. Manager Harry Redknapp has performed a miracle at Spurs but one does feel a familiar feeling, that we are yet again blowing our own trumpet way too much. I did predict that score line but it was 3 to Spurs and 1 to United – no the other way round. Despite the cracking opening goal by Jermain Defoe, a wicked overhead back foot kick which left I-Pod boy, Foster standing in goal like a statue, Spurs soon conceded a free kick conversion by Giggs and just before half time, Anderson pounded another in. In the second half, despite a few missed chances, and Scholes being quiet rightly sent off for too many brainless fouls, Spurs just did not have it, despite the charisma of the Lane and a home crowd.

 

Football, leaving referees aside and their quirky decisions is very much like a political election campaign, the winning candidate often wins because their opponents are so weak. And that’s why we lost, despite United having just 10 men. Rooney stayed on form by sealing victory after a ridiculous bit of defending by Hutton, who came in place of Corluka. I normally understand Harry’s substitution tactics but this one just dazzled me. So bye to the unbeaten record of Spurs at home, which dates back to last November when Everton flakily clinched a 1 goal win. And if we are not careful, next Sunday we play Chelsea at The Bridge, despite the flying start, we may be heading for a couple of scrappy defeats.

 

Spurs without certain key players, such as the injured wizard Modric, are weak in midfield. We also hold onto defenders who are watery at times, like Hutton and have our head in the clouds too much when our strikers, score five goals in a row. Don’t get me wrong Defoe and Lennon are on top form, but aside from Jermain’s stunning 1-minute goal, he hardly touched the ball. Lennon was locked down by Evra, captain Keane was weak, the return of Jennas disappoiuntiung and a few wimpy efforts from the Hudd, reminded me too much of how Spurs used to play post- Martin Jol. I am sure Harry gave the team a much deserved post match dressing room gfrilling.

Still, life aint that bad, at least Berbatov did not score. He remains a misfit at United, and will find it hard to keep up with the stamina of people like Rooney, who is having a terrific – to coin  a Harry phrase – season. I don’t think we will win the Premiership and if we are not careful, our current position of 4th could end up being another mediocre brainless position of 8th-14th. I know, Spurs fans will be vexed by this prediction, but I am convinced we still need to come back to planet earth…its only a 4 game run…lets get real! 

for the latest Spurs updates check the official club web site:

http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com

 

I long for the glory days but know we have to work real hard to get the results we need: