Passing the buck
As one England fan put it after the 2 – 0 win Andorra: “We’ve got players out there on 100 grand a week and they can’t even pass the ball from A to B.” Quite. It’s amazing that coach Fabio Capello has got away with hardly any stick in the press, particularly when his team scored 1 less goal against the same opposition as Steve McClaren’s side managed 18 months earlier. True, Andorra put 9 men behind the ball – but they weren’t exactly 9 top line players now were they? Instead, the Italian actually got praised for his half time changes. Not that it was too tricky to see that Stewart Downing was nothing short of dreadful and poor old Jermaine Defoe wasn’t getting a kick as the quality of the delivery to him was of Royal Mail standard. Capello has been in the job for 6 months which means he’s earned somewhere in the region of £3 million. With Croatia on the horizon tomorrow, it’s pay back time for the nation. England must perform in Zagreb…some Terry Butcher or Paul Ince blooded heroics wouldn’t go amiss, nor would a half decent showing.
Perhaps the low key reaction to England’s performance on Saturday was down to the fact that hardly anyone was watching. Official figures show that on average only 922,000 bothered to tune in to the game which was being aired by PPV channel Setanta. More would have seen the match if highlights had been available but none of the terrestrial channels fancied paying Setanta’s £1 million asking price. It’s unfair to make a comparison here, but as there’s a gag to share with you, I’m going to anyway. In China (population 1.3 billion) 800 million people tuned in to the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. As one journalist asked at the time: “800 million eh, what were the other 500 million people doing during the opening ceremony?” The answer to which is….they were in it!
Just to experience what poor Kevin Keegan had to go through at St James’ Park, we in the Kay household have decided to operate under a Mike Ashley / Newcastle United ridiculous job description basis for the past few days. So far, reaction has been mixed. The wife (Senior Vice President, Naughty Lingerie & Spin Drying) is OK with it as is the oldest boy (Executive Director, Meccano). However, the youngest son (Managing Director, Nappies & Projectile Vomiting) hasn’t quite got it yet. Mind you, he’s only 3 years old…..though even now, he’s taller than Dennis Wise.
Still on the subject of Newcastle United, former Toon favourite Les Ferdinand got it right this week when he said that any Director of Football should report directly to the club manager. Exactly. Do the paperwork, sort out the contracts, buy and sell who the manager wants purchased and offloaded. It can’t work the other way round. A manager lives and dies by his results. How on earth can he be judged if his team is made up of players he doesn’t want? Or individuals who just aren’t good enough and are only on the field as better players have been sold against his wishes? Such a system wouldn’t be tolerated in any other business. Nor should it be in football when the likes of Keegan and Alan Curbishley suffer because of it.