A day after being
told their 2018 World Cup campaign was running out of steam, England have hit
back by naming a clutch of foreign 'ambassadors' for the bid.
Now, there is
nothing wrong with Kanu, Kolo Toure, Roque Santa Cruz, Salomon Kalou, Kenwyne Jones
or Lucas Radebe per se.
But, far from
adding much-needed star power to England's flagging bid, they perfectly encapsulate the kind
of good-but-not-world-class foreign player that the Premier League has made its
England have also called on Ossie Ardiles, a great
player and failed manager, and Gianfranco Zola, who is well on the way.
not be the best advocate of the FA's
message of racial harmony rather glibly described by Lord Triesman:
"They are able to point out, because we
faced our demons in the past, that in England you can play your football
without racial abuse and that's not
Places like Upton Park, for example, where Zola looked on as
things turned extremely ugly in last month's
Carling Cup game between West Ham and Millwall.
Or perhaps Eastlands, where Toure and Santa Cruz might have made out a number of
Arsenal fans telling Emmanuel Adebayor: "Your dad washes elephants and your
mum's a whore."
As well as trying to persuade us the Premier League is utopia, Triesman has
been keen to press the 'humility' button early and often after the 2006 bid failed
spent their time "hectoring people about
our right to host the World Cup."
"I think it was as crude as it was
ineffective," he said. "So we've
spent what must seem a long, quiet period listening and learning from the
global football family.
regret that but I take the point that you must move beyond that to put what you
have learned to good use, use the great assets effectively and to remember that
it is a marathon and not a sprint."
The verdict of Jack Warner, the man whose
scathing attack sparked off this orgy of soul-searching?
"The last six months is just
a formality. Anyone who tells you anything different is a liar. Don't tell me it's
a marathon and you have a race to run and you're
pacing yourself. This isn't a
marathon, this is a hundred yard sprint."
QUOTE OF THE DAY 1: Portsmouth chief exec Peter Storrie on
Sulaiman Al-Fahim's relaxed approach
to football club ownership: "When he did the takeover deal on
August 29, I said, 'we're going to have great difficulty completing things
and getting players in by the transfer deadline'.
He said, 'can't
you get them to extend the deadline?'
That gives you a bit of an idea of what he's
like. He genuinely had, and still has, a regard for the club and genuinely
thought he could bring all these things in. But he just thought he could keep
putting things back and I know it's
hard to understand, but that was how he thought. It was very difficult at times
to get over to him that when salaries are due, they've
got to be paid. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't
used to that type of basis."
QUOTE OF THE DAY 2:
Caleb Folan responds to criticism from Hull
boss Phil Brown. It's probably safe
he won't be back from his loan at Middlesbrough: "It was difficult to
hear, but I've got to know what he's like. That's
his kind of way and if he wants to come out with stupid comments like that then
just let him be. I think, most importantly for him, he needs to concentrate on
managing the team as a team. They're
not doing very well at all and I think comments like that to the press aren't really on - not for players who worked hard the
time they were there, and people know that. I think it's
just childish really. You get used to it. And if that's
how he wants to come across then just let him be. That's
laughable to me. I laughed when I first heard of it. My first reaction was to
laugh because it was so pathetic."