AFTER the dust settled on the England World Cup bid fiasco, the overriding thought was why on earth were the Prime Minister, the future King of England and a supposed football superstar fawning over these people? The BBC TV Panorama programme and the Sunday Times newspaper are media institutions with a fearsome reputation for uncovering corruption at all levels of society. The fact that both these bodies have made serious allegations against some members of FIFA should surely have sent a message out to our Fab Three – ‘don’t touch the organisation with a barge pole.’
But there they were in the bars and corridors of plush Zurich hotels pleading with FIFA, in a most undignified manner, to let England host the World Cup. They should have shown more sense – but there again it is the Prime Minister, the future King of England and a supposed football superstar we are talking about here.
Apparently just before the vote FIFA president Sepp Blatter reminded the executive committee “how the English media have treated us.”
The English media ought to be congratulated for the way they have treated FIFA.
What the Panorama and the Sunday Times did was bring to FIFA’s (and the world’s attention) evidence of alleged corruption by executive committee members. There have been fresh claims in the Sunday Times again this weekend and there is a very distasteful stench surrounding world football’s governing body at the moment.
So they haven’t given us the World Cup, big deal, let’s move on and concentrate on putting our own house in order. There are much more important matters to consider at the moment. Take for instance the key issue of footballers’ necks!
You may laugh but our twinkle-toed stars are becoming more and more concerned with insulating their necks, poor things. Now the game is deep in discussion (well, we are today) as to whether ‘snoods’ are a fashion attempt or a bid to keep warm in sub-zero temperatures.
More and more players have been spotted sporting these new neck-warmers, which are commonly called snoods. Apparently it is more popular amongst foreign players including Arsenal’s Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh.
One ex-player has already slammed the fad. Former Irish international striker Tony Cascarino has been quoted as saying: “It’s like a fashion accessory and personally, I think it’s typical of the modern footballer. I don’t want to seem like a dinosaur but I think the modern game is full of players who are of the ‘softer option’ when it comes to playing football. I would see it as a weakness, slightly, that they’re not real men. “It’s not frowned upon now, but 20 or 30 years ago a player would not have got away with it. He would have been buried [with abuse].”
And there’s not much support either from the scientific world.
Professor Ronald Maugham, of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University told the BBC: “This does not seem like the best strategy for staying warm. A hat and gloves would be more effective, if perhaps less fashionable.”
Bring on spring, that’s what I say.
Fashion accessories or the World Cup are probably the last things on the mind of the amateur footballers of Madron FC who play in Cornwall’s Mining League – they just want to stop losing matches. Things have got so bad that even their stand-in manager, Alan Davenport, has labelled them “probably the worst team in Britain.”
Madron have conceded 227 goals in losing 11 straight games including one 55-0. They’ve only managed to score two goals.
Matters have got so bad that when they were recently asked to pose for a team photograph only eight of the 11 would do so – the others were reported to be too embarrassed to be associated with the club.
Davenport said: “Some of the players aren’t that brilliant so they are just happy to play. They can’t get games with anyone else.”