Tuesday, 29 June 2010

As one door closes...

It was very considerate of England to crash out of the World Cup just in time for our return to pre-season training...

 All this way for nothing...

The lads are back.  Looking suitably refreshed from their three weeks away and keen to get the feel of a football again after so long without seeing one, they appear more determined than ever to throw themselves back into their club environment.  But enough about England's pampered prima donnas, Easington United's players tonight resumed training ahead of the new season.

 "Any chance of a ball out here?"

I don't know why I'm trying to make light of our latest World Cup debacle.  Perhaps it's because I'm now of an age where I can accept our early exits slightly more...erm...gracefully?  But that doesn't mean I'm not hurting like hell again over what appears to be our most inept campaign since...well, before I was born!
The only difference between this week and its 2006 counterpart (in the immediate wake of the last time the so-called Golden Generation failed to deliver) is that I chose the slightly more level-headed approach of Radio 5 Live in preference to TalkSport as my vehicle for the traditional post-Cup inquest.  But a lot of the stuff being spouted is in much the same vein.

 "...and we're not gonna get back for Easington's first training session"

We all have our views as to the causes behind England's failure and on how things can, nay must, be improved next time.  There were three such sets of opinions expressed in today's Telegraph, courtesy of Henry Winter, Kevin Garside and Ossie Ardiles, each of which made some valid points.
However, what really galls me about such articles and the countless comments expressed by telly and radio pundits alike is that come August and the start of the Premier League season, the misery of the past few weeks will all too easily be forgotten.  Well, not by me it won't!
Alan Green and Chris Waddle spoke a lot of sense about England's shortcomings on 5 Live's World Cup Breakfast yesterday, only for Greeny to then come out with an absurd call on England fans to either boycott the "meaningless" friendly against Hungary in August or, if attending, to boo the players.  Ridiculous.  For a start, to call any England game "meaningless" really pisses me off.  To play for your country in any fixture should be an absolute honour and treated as such. 
Secondly, I wouldn't expect half of those players who performed so poorly in Bloemfontein, Cape Town et al, to be even in the side come August; while booing the likes of Wilshere, Dawson, Gibbs and Rodwell will simply result in another set of players either too scared or too scarred to play well for their country.

 "Easy peasy, lemon squeezy"
(As a German fan had predicted beforehand)

The Germans have got it spot on - they put their national team first and the league second.
To this end it was incredible to hear Wigan chairman Dave Whelan spouting on that the Premier League should take over the running of the National team.  They're the feckers that got the team into this mess in the first place.  Mr Whelan's club is managed by a Spaniard and full of foreign players i.e. it is indicative of what is wrong with football in this country.

Walking back to happiness 

So, given the hand-wringing prompted by Fabio's far from fab footballers, it really was refreshing to get back to basics tonight with a trip to watch the lads' first pre-season session. 
A turnout approaching the thirty mark wasn't bad in view of holidays, work commitments and wedding anniversaries (!?) and with the bulk of last season's first team squad there and raring to go, it surely augers well for the forthcoming campaign.  
And not a German in sight.  Mind you, I did think Manager Mack turning up in a Scotland shirt was just taking that little bit too far...

 A ball at last. I'll be Klose, you're Muller...
Finally, as it's a week in which we have been made to look very, very second best by our Teutonic brethren, I might as well sign off with something else that's German and very good at the moment...


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