The conspiracy theorists have been working over time trying to weave even more intrigue into the will-Wayne-or-won’t Wayne story, the key one being that by inflating Rooney’s wage bill to something near an estimated £200k a week mark when he does eventually leave his new employers will have to dig very deep for his services. It could also go a little way to offset Manchester United’s mounting debt. All this is of course denied by Manchester United, however Ferguson is not one prone to sentimentalism and if he has read the excellent Why England Lose he’ll know that at some point Rooney will have to go. One of the golden rules it outlines, ignored by most clubs, is that you sell a player if another one club comes along and offers more than he’s worth; one thing is certain Rooney is not worth what he’ll soon be taking home.
January should be interesting.
With the World Cup in full swing and the English team doing their best to cause as many heart failures as possible the usual barrage of Blame Throwers and self immolation is under way. I do wonder however if we should really expect the national squad to be as good as everyone wants and expects them to be? On the face of it the answer would seem to be a resounding ‘Yes’, after all the Premiership is thought to be the best in the world and the amount of money the team takes home would seem to imply some sort of elite status for both the Manager and players.
A cursory look at the raw data however suggests our expectations should be far, far lower as England’s record in international competition is mixed at best. Between 1872 when the country played it’s first international match and the game against Algeria on 18th of June 2010 England has played a total of 886 times, won 502 times, drawn 213 times and lost 0n 171 occasions, which is admittedly above average but only just. When it really counts though it doesn’t look quite so good. Apart from the win in 1966, which on closer examination wasn’t as clear cut as the historical narrative would have us believe, the best we’ve managed is 4th in 1990 with probably the best team to ever put on an England shirt. The European Championship hasn’t been any better with a 3rd in 1968 and a semi final place in 1996.
I shall now be trying to watch all future England games knowing the blokes in the England shirts are as good as we or they think they are and then we can treat any win as the half full pint glass it is!
Often people assume I don’t like football because I don’t support one particular team. I did once and it was the bunch pictured above but by the time the eighties was over and the formation of the Premiership in 1992 we’d drifted apart.
However I’ve remained endlessly fascinated by football .
Of course today it’s less a sport and more a business and I’ve always wondered how long it would be before fans began to realise supporting teams in the Premiership is akin to having the same affection for any of the companies listed on the FTSE 100. OK football is different for a whole host of reasons, for one the economics of the game seem to have landed here from a different planet and there’s a reality distortion field that surrounds clubs Steve Jobs himself would be proud of. But take the current mess over at Manchester United or Portsmouth or just about anywhere else for that matter, as no team is immune, and you’d be forgiven for thinking as an outside observer that football is about collapse in the same way the banks did recently. However the Martian economics that underpins the sport is probably the reason why so many teams are shielded from the harsh reality facing any other earth based business, where else could you pay individual staff members tens of thousands of pounds a week in wages, be seven hundred million in the red and not call in the Receiver or Government for a bail out? At some point though it will break and a big name will go to the wall, there are only so many rich industrialists, sheiks or oligarchs knocking about after all. The question then of course is who will it be and when?
Whilst the papers pick over the reasons for Mourinho’s departure from Chelsea it’s probably more interesting to speculate where he’ll turn up next. And I have a theory of my own! But before I do the problem that the board at Chelsea forgot, as one sports writer comments, is that the most important person at a football club is the Manager, not the over paid star players or the questionable foreign investors. And Mourinho, whether you’re a Chelsea fan or not, has a track record few can match so Chelsea pushing him out is I predict a mistake they’ll soon learn to regret.
So where will he turn up next? Well undoubtedly his Samsung mobile phone hasn’t stopped ringing with offers but I reckon he’ll take a hiatus until next season, then when Wenger moves from Arsenal which has been on the cards for a while Mourinho only have a slightly longer commute to the Emirates Stadium.
Or maybe someone should have a phone vote.
…well in the land of morpheus anyway.
I had a dream last night where England won the World Cup. The final was against Italy and the score was 3:1.
Yes I know…silly eh?