Man in the Stands Summer Special

The Man In The Stands IT IS hardly breaking news, but this summer it has occurred to The Man that English footballers are predominantly thick. Watching Euro 2008 you can't help but be impressed by the capacity of other nations' players to quickly adapt to new tactics and new teammates.

The Man In The Stands

IT IS hardly breaking news, but this summer it has occurred to The Man that English footballers are predominantly thick.

Watching Euro 2008 you can't help but be impressed by the capacity of other nations' players to quickly adapt to new tactics and new teammates.

That is what international football is effectively about; having the sheer intelligence and imagination to produce a decent team at relatively short notice, with relatively little preparation.


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And The Man can't help but think that this requirement for at least a modicum of intelligence is the main reason why England were not in Austria and Switzerland, and why our overall international record is so dismal.

I mean really, would anyone want Rooney, Ferdinand, Gerrard, Cole or Downing on their team in a pub quiz, let alone trust them to grasp the subtleties of catanacio in a couple of days? They are unspeakably dopey people, who just happen to be blessed with the raw abilities that allow them to become millionaires in the harem scarem atmosphere of the Premiership.

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Of course such abilities should not be overlooked, but take such players out of that comfort zone (pit them against a well-organised and tactically savvy international opponent) and they are exposed for the one-dimensional dumbos they invariably are.

People can point to the fact that two 'English' teams made up the Champions League final, but both sides were laced with foreign quality, and world football is a different, more short-term beast.

When playing international football you are effectively asking John Terry to change to a new system in a matter of days, which in terms of intellectual demands is akin to asking a five-year-old to read a Brief History of Time.

I mean for heaven's sake, Lampard and Gerrard could not summon the wherewithal to work out how to play together in the same team despite countless attempts. It was hardly rocket science…

Sadly in this country our footballers, from a young age, are bred to focus solely on kicking a football, and not to develop themselves in any other way. They are raised as cultural mutes.

I'm not saying the Germans or Italians are boffins, but it's clear they have a certain wit that our players just don't possess, and don't seem keen to learn either.

How many top class English players play abroad? None. Embarrassing.

This dearth of development has manifested itself in the fact that from a whole generation of English footballers we are unable to produce a single one with the tactical nous to manage the national team.

The best we could muster was Steve McClaren, who is held in such low regard he was forced to take up a job in Holland managing FC Twente, which you can only assume is how many points they'll get next season.

Doubtless he'll be looking to conjure the same mid-table tedium he inspired at Middl4sbrough, although without Steve Gibson's cheque-book it seems very unlikely.

t ONE of the Man's readers - I'm assured I can use the terms 'readers' as there are at least two - brought something to his attention this week.

It regards the internet encyclopaedia Wikipedia, and entries and changes made under an IP address registered as Norwich City Football Club.

It appears the club's image management has extended to air-brushing certain parts of its colourful history from the internet resource.

A list of changes made by the above named IP address shows that details of Jason Shackell's appearance in The Hills have been toned down somewhat…

Rather sweet too is the fact that someone from the club has seemingly added to Wiki the fact that BBC presenter Jake Humphrey is a Norwich supporter.

While the changes to Luke Chadwick's entry were rather more peculiar.

Regarding the Chad, someone using the IP address added: “Amongst his biggest fans is the NCFC employee, Sam Greenfield; also long time admirer of Pink Un blogger, David Lee.

“Sam has often been seen screaming in jubilation when Chadwick has possession in any home fixture. Jumping up and down, waving his hands. It really is a picture.

“Recently, he was spotted outside Luke's house, in the bushes. He claims he simply has a green thumb and enjoyed landscape gardening.”

The entry has since been removed.

View a list of the changes made by the IP address here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/194.75.244.4

t THE Man has enjoyed watching the Ronaldo affair unfold this summer.

There is something delightfully ironic in seeing Man U protest about having one of their players tapped up.

Maybe now they'll know how it feels to lose your best players to richer, more glamorous rivals…

In amongst this saga has been assorted comment on the virtues of Cristiano.

Perhaps the most amazing was from Luiz Felipe Scolari, who said: "People must understand that Cristiano becomes stronger with all the difficulties and the stories about him.

“I have never known anyone so mentally strong.

"What happened to him at the World Cup in 2006 in the quarter-final against England would have crushed many other players, but not Cristiano.”

Eh?

Forgive me if I'm wrong but wasn't it an England player that was sent off in that match in 2006? Nothing “happened” to that slimy sod Ronaldo…

He just tipped-off his teammates that they could wind-up his mate Rooney, and then gave a devious wink to his bench when the task was complete.

The fact that he has emerged from such a vile act as some sort of great footballing survivor is beyond a joke.

The Man will be glad to see the back of him, and the fact it leaves Man U without their best player makes it all the sweeter.

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