GO DO THAT VUVU THAT YOU DO SO WELL
Mickey Blue Eyes
When I first heard vuvuzuela noise in a World Cup TV broadcast my initial reaction was, "Well, that's different. Better than those dreary, predictably stupid songs you get at every footy match in England." Five minutes later I was ready to stick my foot through the TV. The truth is the racket is as welcome as a squadron of low flying irate hornets in your Calvin Kleins. I even tried a couple of radio broadcasts in case it was better sound-filtered. It wasn't. Worse, one broadcast had a commentary by resident BBC arsehead Alan Green; naturally it lasted about thirty seconds after I figured I would rather have vuvus in both ears than listen to that Hibernian moron. It triggered a memory of CD Everton in Chilé last year when owner Antonio Bloise heard the same blaring noise before a home play-off and asked bleakly, "Whose bloody idea was that?" I also recalled mass use of air horns by Rapid Vienna fans in the 1985 Cup Winners Cup Final, and knob head drum bangers at Bolton and Blackburn. Meanwhile, in South Africa, Desmond Tutu announced, "We should blow our vuvus harder," which is about what you would expect from someone who wears a frock in his day job.
If that opening tirade reads to you like I am trying to avoid England's opening performances.........congratulations, you're spot on. But now, like all of us, I am forced to face what passes for the "music." A mediocre opener against an energetic USA was followed by a truly appalling, self-pitying display against modestly talented Algeria. I watched the latter game with a jaw that dropped so low I could pull carpet tufts off my chin. The performance was utterly inexcusable and so awful I expected to see a post match interview of one of the guilty parties saying (after the fashion of, bless him, Steve Watson), "We know that was unacceptable." You could fucking say that again. While I don't believe in booing your own team - any more than I heed masochistic crackpots and paranoid Plastic Celts who hate the England side - I could easily understand travelling fans that lost patience with the shambles. You couldn't blame the ball, the altitude, goalkeeping, Fabio Capello, lack of vacuous wags, tactics, team formation, refereeing or the vuvus for any of the dismaying, spiritless nonsense at Rustenburg. Basic passing and athletic attitude were noticeable only by their glaring absence, for which the players and nobody else must take total responsibility. If any prole did his or her job in similar fashion they would be fired instantly and escorted from the premises.
The point is these really are the best we have and they are not bad players. Two of them, Wayne Rooney and Steve Gerrard, are world class and would get into any other national or club team. It should have been enough to give us at least one win out of our two opening games. Instead, we got a team that literally couldn't string three passes together or fashion scoring opportunities, until it got to the embarrassing point where Algeria were the better team for long phases of play. In the end the North Africans could count themselves unlucky not to win. They at least were clear of purpose and effort and used their abilities to the full. Truth is, England were football shameful, and it hurts at that level. At least it does if you have any personal pride. Mortifyingly, we had hardly finished sniggering at a hapless French loss the previous evening only to find we were even worse.
All of which means it is useless trying to analyse a situation so bizarre it would have Franz Kafka licking his lips. I suspect Capello feels almost helplessly angry after watching it. I mean, what is he supposed to do (any more than Moysey could do anything when a group of entrenched players told him five seasons ago he wasn't going to get another season of effort) when he is faced with such mass abrogation of accountability?.......Rant?.......Threaten?.......Change formations?........Throttle one of the irresponsible, lazy bastards?......Does anybody really believe the formation matters if the players couldn't give a shit or haven't got the inner strength to motivate themselves? If they can't raise themselves sufficiently to give everything to try to beat Slovenia and qualify for the next stage then footy history will treat them accordingly. They can have no complaint, something Wayne Rooney especially best learns fast if he is to take the final step to true footy greatness on a World stage. And the English game would do well to reflect on the damage done to our indigenous game by virtually unrestricted access of foreign players.........the best example being the decades-long disaster that was the Spanish national team until relatively recently. There is a balance to be achieved, and we are a long way away from it at present.
Not that the tournament has been any great shakes thus far. The most attractive football has come from Mexico; if they were better in the final quarter of the field they would be a match for anybody. The two most effective displays have come from Argentina and Germany, but nobody has really set the World Cup alight. Maybe the knock out rounds will put that right, though defeats of Spain and France sent out a couple of waves.
Media reporting has been its usual useless self. The only interesting moment it has provided came when nice guy Robbie Earl got terminated by ITV for match ticket shenanigans. Given my current mood I would terminate the lot of them, especially Gary Lineker whose cheerful chintziness is beginning to grate even more than Alan Hansen's changing hair colour or Mark "Lawro" Lawrenson's hang dog face now adorned with a worrying cancer-inducing "tan." Over on ITV Matt Smith's rip-in-a-welly mouth looks like it's full of a highly mobile set of dentures, probably as counter weight to the notoriously untalented vacuum between his ears. Adrian Chiles' winsome, gentle humour has transferred to ITV as main anchor man, which after all these years really should give the final hint to Plastic Scouser Smiffy that he simply doesn't have either (a) the knowledge, or (b) the personality to be numero uno. It's anybody's guess why he didn't take the hint yonks ago that his vocation is actually running a corner shop in New Brighton or Leatherhead.
All of which means we better beat Slovenia or I'll get really pissed off. But if we win, everything will be alright.............won't it?