Monday, October 13, 2008

Oof: the England game, a perspective - Beyond the Pale

I'm afraid that in the past few seasons when it comes to the English national team the scales have finally fallen away from my eyes--well, admittedly my eyes are failing--with a great crash.

Apart from the scoreline, which Maggie Thatcher might have liked, nothing about that game can have been calculated to please any Englishman (not to mention objective observer) who actually views football as even approximately an art form; I mean, as something other than an extension of the Falklands War, or some other imperialist war of yesteryear (I realise England has wisely crossed off truly formidable opponents from its war list, as when, a year or two ago, they allowed Russians to come in and drop plutonium tabs in everybody's drinks with impunity.)

They looked slow, ponderous, stymied and uncertain much of the time. Having to stay out of the way of Fat Frank effectively neutralises Gerrard. The only functioning offensive threats are Theo when he's getting to the byline to cross and Rooney when he's healthy.

I've always seen Defoe as a second-rate Javier Saviola, but at least El Conejito has great touch and positioning sense, can pass the ball sublimely, prefers seeing somebody else score goals, and even has a sense of humor and gives good interviews. In fact the only hope I can see for England players ever appearing interesting is for the English fans to develop the wit to give them colorful nicknames, like say:

Terry--Captain Overrated
Heskey--the Truck; the Bus
Lampard--Tubby the Overpaid One
Defoe--the Midget Garbageman
James--the Buffed Up Disaster Waiting to Happen
Upson--Mr. Nervous
Ashley Cole--The Brainlocked Peacock with Grey Feathers
And so on...

Last month's Croatia game wasn't bad because at least the opposition was worth playing against. But in this one the softball opponent was a country where, as a guy I know who works for the EPA and goes there often, puts it, you have to take your shoes off when you enter a house because the (dirt, of course) streets are aflow with human shit.

I doubt that's the case around Blenheim Palace, the domicile, I believe, of Capt. Rags to Riches Terry--who in interviews sounds like a character out of Eastenders, even when wearing his dove grey formal evening wear for royal receptions. What he needs is for the Queen to shit on his expensive Italian shoes, if she's ever feeling loose enough to manage it. And if she managed to score a direct hit, no doubt he'd have a backward injury-alibi ready to hand, eloquently demurring in the locker room: "No, mate that hangnail was no bovver."

It all makes me understand how hundreds of millions of nonwhite "England fans" around the planet, unable to erase the ancient psychological traces of imperial/colonialist domination, have to make themselves sick drinking warm beer in pseudo-pubs in order to even pretend to endure England games.

Really, in short, I'd much rather watch Jamaica play; at least they sport a colorful bit of kit and don't have to continually buy slack from their apologists in order to deceive and disappoint.

If a Jamaica or a Honduras or a Chile or a Uruguay doesn't make it to South Africa because the decks are still stacked in favor of boring and underperforming once-dominant Euro sides like England, 'twould be an actual shame.

Let's have our football in technicolor, kill those three lions, and hire the England kit design out to Benetton, for pity's sake. When you've dropped out of the top of a high building, are halfway down and finally realise it's time to change your life, you ought at least give it a try.

15 comments:

Ebren said...

and let the fun begin...

mimi said...

Great to find another new writer here and a well-timed piece.

I really like the Lampard/Gerrard jibe mainly because it is so true.

Only one small quibble; surely Terry's nickname should be Captain Tearfully Overrated?

munni said...

At first I misread the title of this piece as, "The England Game, Beyond the Pale".

At least they are starting to look like something resembling a team, as opposed to 11 guys who happened to get on the same bus. I have lost the will to rant about England. Weary resignation it is.

offsideintahiti said...

England kit designed by Benetton? Excusez-moi, je lolle.

Anonymous said...

Offside--response from Beyond the Pale

Objection well taken, but all the same, in the present drab kit England players don't look much better dressed than the pearl you found in your "Food/Shell Shock".
To each his own nausea threshold, n'est-ce pas?

greengrass said...

Perhaps we should get David Beckham and his hamster to design a sarong kit for England in a vibrant shade of puce.

mimi said...

Beckham has a hamster? Isn't it rather reckless to keep a small rodent as a pet in Hollywood?!

andrewm said...

What amazes me about England fans these days is the widespread hatred for the players that seems to exist. I know it has a lot to do with how much they earn and so on, but it's still quite surprising to me.

offsideintahiti said...

Mimi, I think gg is referring to the two-legged rodent that owns Beckham.

BTP, our very own resident fashion specialist, Herr KreenKrass, has defined, some time ago already, the one and only accessory that would actually enhance the England kit: pink lurex tights. Now, close your eyes and think of Peter Crouch...

Anonymous said...

Offside--from Beyond the Pale

But when I close my eyes and get ready to endure it again, all I can think about is...England.

mimi said...

I did get the ref, Offie, but it was too tempting not to sieze the opportunity of bringing up the whole sordid (if apocryphal) story of a certain Hollywood star and a rodent.

Perhaps it lingers only in my memory.

I fear though that the thought of Crouch in pink lycra tights will conjoin hideously in many minds with the sight we "enjoyed" some years back of Gorgeous George in red lycra on Celebrity Big Brother.

Nightmares are bound to ensue.

Thanks for that!!

bluedaddy said...

You are very discreet mimi, and though I would be willing tibet on who it is, I'm too much of an Officer and a Gentleman to say either.

greengrass said...

mimi,
refs are on the neighbouring blog.

So small animals are endangered outside the taproom, too.

I've never heard that tale, BD - sheltered life, tha knows.

mimi said...

George Gallagher and Pete Burns - in lycra - hardly a secret. It wasn't just all over the telly at the time, it's on all "Most embarrassing moments for a politician".

Or are you talking about Offie in lycra?

And the taproom details of what THEY do to small animals???

greeengrass said...

mimi,
I'm not sure about Offie in lycra - I thought he was more of a lurex kinda bloke.
We've missed the Gorgeous George thing over here in Sweden, so I'm all innocence on that one.
I think a taproom ban on animals would be best. Last time I took my dog along there when me an' Ingrid went for a tikka masala, he came home a carpet - bloody good carpet, mind!

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