Doesn't anyone want to play for England any more?
Hours after Fabio Capello gave Paul Robinson and Wes Brown a
lifeline to escape the international wilderness, both decided they rather liked
the solitude and rebuffed the call-up.
There was something magnificently warped about the logic
Robinson used to announce his retirement.
"Only now have I been able to make this decision as
previously I haven't been in contention for selection," he said.
"I don't see myself as a number three or four keeper and
find that role very frustrating."
Presumably Robbo didn't want to do a Chris Sutton or an
'Andrew' Cole, who risibly quit internationals when they had no chance
whatsoever of selection.
But the upshot is that Robinson knew he didn't want to play
but chose to wait until picked before informing anyone.
And the reason cited is equally bizarre: "I don't see
myself as a number three or four keeper."
don't be. You've been picked for the England squad - how about trying to
get in the team, particularly when the bloke who finished the World Cup conceded
three at home to Millwall on Saturday?
didn't like being a third- or fourth-choice, yet only when given the
opportunity to make himself number one did he tell Capello to sling his hook.
Brown followed suit, deciding "the time is right"
to stand aside. Wasn't the right time two days ago, before Capello made a mug
of himself by naming you in his squad, Wes?
The three international retirements - Robinson, Brown and
Emile Heskey - will not hurt England,
and you might say the players were merely doing what Capello himself should
have done - moving on.
Can you really blame the trio for not wanting to play for England
when all it brings is cancelled summer holidays and abuse - of which Robinson
and Heskey have received plenty for their international misadventures.
At Wembley yesterday, the Community Shield was marked by the
pantomime treatment of the England
players on show - even if it wasn't quite as bad as most media outlets would
have you believe.
Even the normally cautious BBC decided "England's World Cup flops were booed by the vast majority of the 84,623
Not true. England's World Cup flops were
booed by slightly less than half of the 84.623 inside Wembley.
Manchester United fans jeered John Terry,
Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, while the Chelsea
contingent did likewise to Wayne Rooney. Nobody bothered to boo Michael
Carrick, even though he was at the World Cup.
Terry in particular provoked a weird cacophony
that must have sounded great in surround sound.
In the right ear, noisy booing from the red
half of the ground; in the left, raucous cheers from the blue half. He might be
a plodding love rat, but he's our plodding love rat.
Meanwhile, the game was won for United by a
man who walked away from the England
team six years ago.
Paul Scholes has thrived away from the
spotlight. He has not been subjected to public inquests or thrown on to the
scrap heap by the media.
He has been allowed just to play football
and yesterday, at 35 and three quarters, he was by a distance the best player
on the pitch.
If only he had gone to the World Cup, you
might think. But had he been in South
Africa, he would not have been an assured,
crisp-passing midfield general. He would have been a nervous wreck like everyone
else, because that's what playing for England does to people.
- - -
ED was at the game on a free lunch, and found itself seated in the blue half of
Even at a glorified 'friendly', it was an unpleasant reminder of just how
tribal and downright spiteful English football fans can be.
Above all, they just seemed angry and
unhappy with the world, yelling furiously at the opposition, their own players...
Within three minutes, a bloke a couple of
rows to the left was shouting at Florent Malouda. Not in an encouraging way -
he was calling the Frenchman a very bad word beginning with 'c'.
Maybe footballers deserve their millions
after all. Malouda has just come off the season of his life, contributed richly
to a double-winning side, and roughly 200 seconds into the 2010/11 season he
was being called a 'f****** useless ****' by his own fans.
The same guy had similarly forthright views
on Salomon Kalou, while his mate was more interested in striking up that deeply
unpleasant chant about the Busby Babes.
If the atmosphere was tetchy enough at
nil-nil, it threatened to boil over when United went in front.
A group of about half a dozen, including one
in a United shirt, cheered the goal. It didn't go down well with ED's viewing companions.
Wembley operates a texting system for
reporting anti-social behaviour, presumably so you can rat out scumbags without
getting your head stoved in.
It seemed like a good idea until a steward
arrived, having been summoned by one enraged onlooker, delivered a stern
warning to the bloke in the United shirt and ordered him to cover it up.
So, violent swearing and songs about the
Munich Air Crash are OK; but cheer when somebody scores a goal and you're out of order, sunshine.
A thoroughly depressing state of affairs,
particularly after a World Cup that did away with fan segregation completely.
ED doesn't think Chelsea fans are particularly worse than any
other club's, but it found it ironic that the supporters who saw their side
sweep all before them last season should begin the new one like this.
Their last game before the Community Shield
was also at Wembley, as they added the FA Cup to the Premier League title. You
might have expected a light-hearted, celebratory atmosphere, but instead it was
seething and bitter.
If this is what it feels like when you've
just won the double, give ED a lifetime of lower-league obscurity.
Why watch football if you're just going to be angry the whole time?
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "When I try to kick it, the ball go to my face - and
it's goal." Javier Hernandez describes his pinball effort at Wembley. In
fairness, Chicharito's English is much better than Fabio Capello's.
FOREIGN VIEW: Nearly 250 Paris Saint-Germain supporters were arrested during
violent clashes outside the Parc des Princes in Paris
before the hooligan-troubled club's Ligue 1 opener against Saint-Etienne.
Supporters blocked entrances to the stadium in protest to an
anti-violence plan by the club preventing supporters choosing their seats after
more than 150 PSG supporters were banned from attending matches last season,
when a 37-year-old died after an alleged clash with his own team's fans.
Police charged at supporters and used pepper spray to disperse
the crowds, while making 249 arrests, with nine suspects kept in custody.
COMING UP: A Carling Cup fixture that has 'upset' written all over it (i.e. Pompey might actually win) -
Stevenage v Portsmouth at 19:45 UK time.