Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Realism does not talk of Rainbows - leeroycal

When you think of Steve McClaren there are a number of words that spring to mind: boring, teeth, lucky and inexplicable being but a few. But prior to the England manager's befuddling statement about the rainbow in Tel Aviv 'surreal' was never likely to be one of them. Surveying the events since last year it is surprising it was not a more obvious moniker.

Everything about McClaren's short time in the England job has been lacking in normality, starting from his comical appointment by a boss who blatantly wanted someone else to do the job. Add McClaren's decision to have tabloid rent-a-gob Venables as his number two, his numerous unfounded bleatings to the media about England's potential and his subsequent ability to see positives in the most congenitally awful performances and it suggests that he sees the world in a different manner to us normal, rational people.

This would explain why he believes Phil Neville can be transformed into an international class left-back, like one of Dali's clocks being magically bent around a tree branch; as Franz Kafka's Gregor Samsa was an insect, Steve McClaren's Steven Gerrard is in fact a left sided midfielder. Judging by his 4-3-3 against Spain it appears Steve, like Picasso and the other surreal cubists, believes in creating forms from objects that are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form. He probably has Andre Masson wallpaper in his Soho Square office.

His creative mind is at its most potent when it interprets history. England's 35 years of utter failure with the odd lucky break is to him a rich garden of achievement, liberally peppered with great players of whose legacy this generation are the inheritors. Under Steve's guiding artistic hand they will reach the heights that his staid, functionalist predecessor could not achieve.

You see, unlike Steve, Sven was a stuffy old realist who interpreted everything literally. He saw England's stifling lack of creativity, composure and tournament pedigree as reasons to be resolutely functionalist. He created a dull monolithic sculpture with a strong base, a weaker middle and a top so unimportant he could pick Peter Crouch. This behemoth could sneak results against teams who could actually pass to each other, and this would be enough for the quarter finals and £4m a year.

Portuguese and Italian league winner Sven had obviously not spent time on the Carling Cup winning Middlesbrough training ground and heard the talk of rainbows amidst the smog and mediocrity.

68 comments:

offside said...

*

"us normal, rational people."

Er, leeroy, I may have to remind you that this is Pseuds' Corner and that the people you mention are in very short supply here. See the article below yours for confirmation.

Very good, otherwise. And commiserations.

Zeph said...

C'mon Lee, don't be shy, tell us what you really think... I loved this piece, it fizzes and crackles like an irritable firework.

guitougoal said...

I agree with Zeph, references to kafka's samsa , Picasso, Dali's clock are brilliant.Bravissimo.

mimi said...

de Chirico??

Lee said...

thankyou for your very kind comments folks. All the cricket writing over at The Googly is great, but it's sometimes nice to cut loose into another sport. Or just cut into Steve McClaren - it all works.

andrewm said...

leeroycal, you're on top form this week. I didn't think I could cope with an article about SCS, but you've done well.

I remember listening to FiveLive when the story broke that Big Phil was going to take the job. What an exciting and interesting 24 hours that was. I should have known even then that it was far too good to be true.

The FA deserve all the blame because of this absurd notion they have that you can appoint young coaches to the staff of the national team and groom them for the top job. That's a great idea, until they all turn out to be shit and you find yourself obliged either to appoint one of them anyway, or make a comically cackhanded attempt to scrap the entire system.

To this day I'm amazed and relieved that the SFA didn't appoint Tommy Burns last time around, even after he tried the traditional route of hanging around as assistant coach for years and then getting his mates in the game to tell the media that he "deserved" the job because .... well .... he'd been hanging around for years, hadn't he.

andrewm said...

Sorry, I appear to have used a humorous article as an excuse for a rant. That wasn't my intention at all.

Lee said...

mine was a rant as well andrew, just couched in humour, so don't worry about it...

mimi said...

Men ranting over football. Well there's a first!

Ebren said...

If I haven't mentioned it - Lee, this is a cracking piece of writing.

Muchly impressed - plussing as which tres funny/suitibly vicious.

DoctorShoot said...

Leeroy
thankds for another entertaining and enlightening footbal flicker...
at least he still has his teeth, (or are they a fabricated construct as well?):))

file said...

'smog and mediocrtiy' sums up his time at Middlesborough perfectly

damn Leroy this is good, a lot better than the chortling one though it's a shame isn't it? Why can't there be the same meritocracy and competition for places on the FA as there is for players we might get better choices

some folk say that if you take Leightons Flaming June and run it through an Escher lens it shows a clear image of SCS, which is all very sweet but of no use to the England team

he's just a failed and ageing Tintin

without the Thompsons he is nothing

really unenthused about Terry V. too, he used to have a bit of verve, now he sits there like a very very stoned (and shaved) Captain Haddock

Lee, you started this...

50K said...

There's always the polarisation effect with England Managers:

Venables cheeky chappie to Hoddle serious religious nut.

Keegan - tactical two-year-old to Sven - supposed tactical genius and now... Mclaren who seems to combine the wordt of all of them...

bluedaddy said...

Let's hope the pot of gold is his contract pay off following another shit performance in Israel.

file said...

there looks to be another bizarre little turn of the carroussel at Man C, if Sven follows Kevin and replacies Stuart does that guarantee SCS a place there when they sack him? (i.e. in 3.5 months, thus activating Sven's cancellation of contract clause and leaving him sitting on the beach earning 100k a week for applying lotion to nubile dancers...

Ebren said...

French people I like - I need French people I like! Where are they?

I have just had dinner with 22-year-old blonde gal from Aix-en Provence who spent the entire meal calling Sarkozy a "saviour" and explaining how arabs were invading France from africa, having 18 babies per woman, not working, and don't get her started on Islam - really, don't.

Someone restore my faith in our cross-channel buddies, or I'm re-starting the 100 years war.

guitougoal said...

Ebren,
I like to stay out of it. The 100 years war, the invasion of france by the arabs and above all, a 22 years old french girl-
The good thing is now we are clear about your feelings.

marcela said...

really enjoyed this, lee.

surrealist parallels notwithstanding, i fear steve ain't no picasso. just plain mediocre and unimaginative.

ebren - you know the world is full of folk who believe all sorts of nonsense and vote accordingly. it's not just french girls. there are people like that in london, buenos aires, and california... maybe even in thailand??

hope that restores your faith in SOME french people. :)

Ebren said...

Feeling better now, I think I needed to vent. But don't think the war is off. After 1,000 years of fighting the French, this last 100 is just a blip, I'm sure normal service will be resumed shortly.

offsideinantibes said...

I agree Ebren, what she said is inexcusable. The problem in France is not with the Arabs, it's the bloody English invading en masse, driving the property prices up, taking over the Port d'Antibes with their yachts, strutting around as if they owned the place, parading their ridiculous sunburns like badges of honour (and their 1.7 children, a disgusting sight), asking for directions as if everybody was supposed to speak their uncouth language (I can't understand a word of it), leaving their beer in the sun so it reaches the correct temperature (for them), getting drunk and loud and obnoxious IN FULL VIEW of the local population, leaving pools of English vomit behind...

And don't get me started on their silly protestant creed, really, don't.

Don't just take my word for it either, I hear one "Bluedaddy" family (complete with their 1.7 children) is defacing the landscape in Vendée as we speak. The thought is unbearable.

And what is Sarkozy doing to do about it? Nothing, I tell you, nothing! Bloody useless...

We need a saviour allright.

Ebren said...

Absolument mon frère. Les rost beef doit aller

John Bull said...

An Englishman, Scotsman, and Frenchman are walking along a beach. They see a half-buried lamp and reach for it at the same time.

A genie pops out and offers each a wish.

"I love my country and the land, but hate the weather and the neighbours," said the Scotsman.

"Could you detach it from England and re-position it in the Caribbean," he asked.

"Done," said the genie.

"I love France, but am tired of all the tourists and immigrants - can you build a wall around France," asked the Frenchman.

"Done," said the genie.

"I'm intrigued by this wall," the Englishman said. "Can you tell me more about it?"

"Well," the genie replied. "It's ten kilometres high, a kilometre thick, and utterly impenetrable to anything."

"Okay," said the Englishman. "Fill it with water."

offside said...

And don't get me started on the plundering of our footballers either, really, don't.

bluedaddy said...

I like France me.

One thing though. This business of only being allowed to wear trunks in swimming pools. What IS that all about? I have no objection to swimming trunks. But why make it compulsory? The only explanation I can come up with is that it confuses the English, and makes them look especially silly when wearing them.

Ebren said...

Ah - now I know this.

According to the Aix-en girl last night, the reason is that if you wear swimming shorts you could keep wearing them for weeks and not have to change out of them. But with trunks you have to change out of them when you leave the pool.

At least in theory.

offside said...

Ebren,

just how far did you get with the Aix girl last night? From politics to swimsuit fashion and probably underwear, and then?

Ebren said...

considering I was commenting on here at 10:35 - not very far at all.

Actually, she's a friend of the familiy so off limits (our mothers have known each other for about 40 years), although I haven't seen her since 1986.

offside said...

1986? And she's 22?

bluedaddy, can you post a picture of your good self in those swimming trunks? Please?

bluedaddy said...

Mrs BD got a bit close for this one I think Offside.

http://richardpchapman.typepad.com/my_weblog/images/aussie1.jpg

Lee said...

marcela, thanks for your comments.

Everyone else.

I knew this fella once, his mum was french and his dad was a pygmy, he was a great cook but couldn't reach the stove. This other bloke, his father was arab and his mum was german, he made beautiful rugs but with really boring patterns. I also knew another fella, his mum was french and his dad was french, he was a complete c**t

offside said...

Damn... broken link.

file said...

well written article, sub-standard thread as it turns out, woo Sun blog

bluedaddy said...

Tad touchy there file I feel.

The problem with trying to comment on Steve 'Just Believe' McLaren is that all you need to know is displayed on his gormless, mint-tictacs-dropped-into-a-strawberry-blancmange face. He and his employers define mediocrity. There is no credible explanation for his position as England manager.

Surreal isn't even the half of it.

file said...

agree with all that BD, see my post far above, just don't like the French are c**t's stuff

it should be reserved for americans

btw, very cool post on GU Man City blog, thought generally it brought out some well thought out opinion

50K said...

If someone wants to call a Frenchman a clot then that's fine with me.

file said...

50,

well yeah, but it wasn't 'a' frenchman and it wasn't clot

Lee said...

File, I thought that we were having a tongue in cheek jab at the french, so I joined in a bit. Apologies if it upset anyone.

guitougoal said...

as a french american outcast, I will have to drink by myself , forget and forgive.Dog have mercy.

file said...

lee,

not upset, it's clearly tongue in cheek, just felt the last joke was a bridge too far and a bit sharp to boot

anyway guitou's p.o.v. should settle it, non?

again; clever, scathing article, well put, thanks for that

mimi said...

File: good slap there. I went away from here for a bit as I thought it veered towards a non-Pseuds sort of place.

Lee said...

[is suitably chastised]

Zeph said...

John Bull's joke was good though :)

bluedaddy said...

"the reason is that if you wear swimming shorts you could keep wearing them for weeks and not have to change out of them. But with trunks you have to change out of them when you leave the pool".

Say what? If that's French logic, no wonder they play cricket with a tennis racquet.

bluedaddy said...

Are we broaching what may come to be called the Bernard Manning conundrum?

Is it not funny to call Frenchmen c*nts in a joke, but funny to suggest they all be drowned? (BTW, I found both the John Bull joke and Lee's joke funny, but I also felt the edge they generated.

To take the heat out of this, you can of course substitute 'French' for any nation, but can you then use another group of people linked in some way other than nationhood?

If the joke was 'complete wanker', would that have been ok/funny?

I am interested both because of Manning dying recently (me and him have some history), and because i saw this today:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UomfLKQr57U

It's clearly not funny, partly because it is so racist, and possibly because it appears to be a man in mental chaos. But it is extraordinary nevertheless.

Humour is a human prerequisite, but it is also dynamite.

bluedaddy said...

Also, fuck me Terry Henry's gone to Barca!

Game on!

offside said...

Aw, and just when Ebren and Lee and I were going to start another 100 years war. You people have no sense of fun.

So, who else wants to fight?

guitougoal said...

B,D racist joke could be funy as long as we don't take it seriously.....check this one:
eleven people were resued from the sea above the chanel and hanging on a rope under a helicopter.
10 Brits, one french.
The rope was not strong enough to carry them all , so they decided that one has to jump because otherwise they were all going to fall.
The french said he would voluntarily let go of the rope, because as a frenchman he was ready to give up everything as an example for the future of France/England friendship.
As soos as he finished his speech, all the Brits started clapping.
Thierry Henry to Barca: french melon on the menu of barcelona nouvelle cuisine.

andrewm said...

A genuine ruck on Pseuds!

Ebren, you provokingly provocative minx, you've got your wish.

Did anyone read Mats Wilander's joke on GU today? That was a good one.

Incidentally, I don't hate the French but I do thnk offside is a scoundrel.

mimi said...

Le heart-throb Thierry, gone to Barca? Are you kidding me, I don't have enough time in my day to check the "other" pages of sports news so rely on you types for stuff on the sports I don't much give a fuck about. But, aw, that hurts a bit.

honolulu said...

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

(sobbing, tearing hair)

Well. I don't love him anymore.

And I can't wait to kick the shit out of Barcelona.

andrewm said...

Has there ever been such an ungraceful player as Henry? The way he moves when he has the ball, I can't even look at him.

mimi said...

Because he runs like a hunters gazelle, and leaps and dances and is obviously not a superb athlete. Aah, praise for the frenchman should come pouring in.

honolulu said...

Don't remind me of his grace, strength, and beauty. He is a lion among antelope.

I feel like my heart has been burnt out by a claus oldenburg cigarette.
?

marcela said...

bluedaddy!!

you look phenomenal in your swimming gear :)!

any more where that came from?

lulu. don't stop loving thierry. it's what was going to happen last year, and then he just delayed it for a year and in fact it wasn't so good - for him or for the arse, was it?

well. you can stop loving him if you want. but my words of wisdom from the grandma chair in the corner would be something along the lines of 'players come, players go...'

etc.

honolulu said...

I wrote that in anger, of course I can't stop loving him, as much as I'd like to.

I did take the wallbangers down though. And I hope we utterly dismantle Barca.

I was so sure that if he left there would be a trade (Eto'o)... or :something:, something to ease the loss.

You're right, of course, he should have gone last season.
But I'm going to miss him very much and I'm nothing if not sentimental. I know this happens to everyone, but why does it have to hurt so bad?

guitougoal said...

honolulu,
trust Wenger he knows this could bebetter for Arsenal.
Messi, Etoo, Henry, Ronaldhino, not bad, not bad at all.....

file said...

bluedandy,

I remember the post-modern defence of Bernard Manning, all the more ironic as he could never have made that argument for himself in a million years

but what really intrigues is 'me and him have some history'; this is earth-shattering news but it's not explained

could the history between 'The Savaaan Poof' bluedaddy and 'The Northern Grim' Bernard Manning be:

a) seperated at birth
b) same lodge
c) members of the same crochet group
d) a drunken altercation in Mothercare
e) David Icke fanclub

I think pseuds' should be told...

file said...

very sorry lulu, mimi vis a vis Henry

This might be the perfect time to lure Wenger into the England job, non?

Arsene Wenger said...

M.File, the England team do not play anything that I recognise as football so I could have no contribution to give. I am sure you understand.

file said...

Come on Arsene, 50 mill up front and the possibility of a year on full pay on the beach at the end of it, you'll be known as the saviour of English football, knighted, canonized and then hacked mercilessly to death by the nice media folk

Arsene said...

Décidément I have had enough of the English hacking. And Mme Arsène is keen for us to retire to Monte Carlo.

file said...

think of it, you'd have a chance to be painted by Francesco and go down in history as St.Sebastian Wenger, even Mrs.W'd like that

offsideinantibes said...

It should be obvious enough to everyone by now that his real name is Stéphane Maquelarène and that he was infiltrated by the FFF to destroy English football once and for all. But apparently not.

English people can be slow, sometimes.

bluedaddy said...

Its the baggy shorts we wear in the pool. Holds us back.

File, I will get back to you re me and Bernard. As a teaser it involves several national newspapers, including the Guardian.

marcela said...

talk about a cliff hanger bd...

yourself manning and several national newspapers.

shurely you'll get back to all of us on that one, rather than just file :)

file said...

well BD, another sleepless night and I can't work it out

unless you were both involved in that Ostrich Farm, if it's not that then it must be something to do with Charlotte Church and Balsamic Vinegar

Imnotracistbut said...

What's black and annoyed?
Bernard Manning's reincarnation.

MotM said...

Pseuds is quite something isn't it?

Back at Lee's excellent pieces, are there characters in paintings suited to England managers?

Keegan turned into that sad clown of Picasso; Bobby Robson is Cezanne's gardner; Sven is one of those austere American farmers painted by someone - can't remember; Glenn fancied himself as St Sebastian; and Steve McLaren is the male version of Pablo's Weeping Woman.

I should have researched this better but I'm too tired and too late.

Tweet it, digg it