You know the country is in a bad state when a group of love
rats, night-club brawlers and assorted unsavoury characters is called upon to
show moral leadership.
Early Doors refers not to the government's COBRA committee, which meets this morning, but to the England squad, who
appealed for calm in a statement after the friendly against the Netherlands was
ED can only guess what is going on in the tiny minds of
those laying waste to our urban landscape, but it is almost certainly not:
"Well, I was going to break into Curry's and help myself to a flatscreen
telly, but now Andy Carroll and JT have told me to knock it off, I'd better skedaddle
Individual players took to Twitter to air their views. Wayne
Rooney's heartfelt and perfectly rational (if not perfectly spelt) appeal went:
"These riots are nuts why would people do
this to there own country. Own city. This is embarrassing for our country. Stop
Elsewhere, things took turn to
Even Rio Ferdinand, a genuine force for good in community relations,
mentioned the 'A' word: "It
seems these kids/people have no fear or respect for the police....maybe the
army will get that respect??"
Michael Owen (admittedly only an
England player in his own mind) harrumphed: "The whole country has gone soft. No discipline. Teachers, Police
etc had their authority stripped from them by pathetic laws."
And the reliably vociferous Joey Barton worked himself into an
increasingly indignant lather.
"Great shout for National Service to be brought back for
unemployed school drop outs, no more free rides," Tweeted Barton, sounding
more like Digruntled of Shepton Mallett than a Premier League footballer with a
rap sheet longer than Peter Crouch's arm.
By 11pm, Joey was raging: "Give the brave boys in blue,
license to absolutely pummel these reprobates," he insisted, adding:
"Do we not use tear gas in the UK?"
He then signed off with a resigned: "Am going to bed before
a find myself joining a vigilante group.................night people stay safe."
Frightening as the idea of Joey Barton enforcing martial law
might be, you have to credit any sports star prepared to extricate himself from
his bubble of comfort and wealth, and look at the wider world.
Whatever the merits of the players' views, it is always
encouraging to discover people are thinking.
Speaking of vigilantes, Millwall fans apparently decided en
masse not to make the trip down to Plymouth for their Carling Cup tie - instead
protecting Eltham High Street from trouble, while chanting: "No-one loots
us, we don't care."
It is a strange world indeed in which Millwall supporters are the good guys.
And to complete a triumphant night, The Lions won 1-0 at Home
The decision to call off the England-Netherlands game was
greeted with disappointment but no dissent.
Even if the game had passed off peacefully, it would have sapped
hundreds of police officers from vulnerable areas.
Mind, the absence of any serious discussion about playing the
game behind closed doors confirms what we all know - that international
friendlies are about bringing in money, not preparing the team for future
A more contentious decision lies ahead, with a verdict expected
on whether Saturday's Premier League games in the capital - Tottenham v Everton, Fulham v
Aston Villa and QPR v Bolton - will go ahead.
Yesterday evening, the Premier League and Football League issued
a joint statement saying: "With the information currently available to us there is no
reason to think any matches outside of London will be affected".
However, as that statement was released, trouble flared on the
streets of Manchester and the West Midlands.
Football matters little when
people's homes are being torched - ED hopes for a swift return to normality.
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Just had the very odd experience of a Colombian taxi driver sympathising with 'the troubles in your country'." Journalist Jonathan Wilson, at the U20 World Cup.
FOREIGN VIEW: Italy coach Cesare
Prandelli on the joy of Mario Balotelli: "Mario must just concentrate on what
he does on the field. In only two days of training he has not managed to annoy
me yet." Prandelli has picked the equally volatile Antonio
Cassano to start up front against Spain in Bari tonight.
COMING UP: Full coverage of tonight's internationals: Scotland v
Denmark, Republic of Ireland v Croatia, Wales
v Australia, Germany v Brazil and Italy v Spain - PLUS the Northern Ireland v Faroe Islands Euro 2012 qualifier.