Monthly Archives: September 2013

Dyke’s vision springs childlike leak

English football fans lose their minds at the mention of 1966. Now a 66-year -old is losing his. Greg Dyke the FA chairman has announced plans for the English national team to become World Champions in 2022, 56 years after they first achieved the feat.

Beginning today, there should be a documentary series made about ‘Dyke’s vision’ as it has become known to Skysports viewers. Let it run for nine seasons (from the match at Wembley between England and Moldova) to the deciding match in Lusail. Georgie Thompson can narrate, like she did for Premier League Years. Opening with the first scene, ‘This is the story of one man’s vision for football domination on a world scale.’ Cut to Dyke on the streets of London, armed with his leather bound folder, brimming with footballs equivalent of saving Gotham City. Unless manager Roy Hodgson has hidden superheroes for the job in Qatar however, English plans for success will remain on hold.

Roy doesn’t seem the type to organise a win in Russia, let alone operate the high risk strategy of withholding Messi type talent from the media spotlight. Paid well and thought highly of at club level he stands but his coaching at national level is unremarkable. Add to that, eleven English men in the firing line of a world cup campaign, sure to wilt like hot wax and Dyke’s vision takes on an infamous guise.

Long term targets must set a high water mark for success but Dyke’s ambitions are limited by his countries footballing culture. The problem is selling ideas of international achievement to players focused on prizes and riches at club level. A child in the street could give reasons as to why he wants to play for Manchester United or Chelsea before he has the thought of playing for England. That is because he has been caught up in favouring a club team before he knows about national sporting success. After he has watched Gareth Bale kicking a ball toward a cheering crowd at the Bernebeu, all bets for country are off. Don’t mention ‘The Giggs effect’ to the child either. It will only stub his emotional sporting development further. If you insist on talking to your son about Ryan, just say he was a bold boy for Wales. That will compute. A winger with over 1000 appearances for his club but as useful to his home nation as Gavin Henson now is. The point is not Giggs’ nationality, rather the precedent he and club managers have set, a cap is worth less than three precious Premiership points.

Think of international football as a school. Which country would you send your child to if he wanted to win a world cup? Why does England not stand out as a likely destination? Is it because, like education, those with ability will gain more from an environment that has a consistent record of high achievement? Or is it because ability of a child will be determined by the willingness of a teacher to get the best from his/her pupils? Dyke wants talented footballers identified quicker, nurtured better at youth level. Children and teenagers growing up in England presently are likely to contribute to the goal of 2022. Their development will shape the footballing fortunes of a nation bereft of worldly fame.

Yet optimists who place faith in the ability of children to one day change the prospects of England’s World Cup record are misguided. English football has hit rock bottom and during his latest address to the press, Dyke said as much. “The issue, quite simply, is this. In the future it’s quite possible we won’t have enough players qualified to play for England who are playing regularly at the highest level in this country or elsewhere in the world. As a result, it could well mean England’s teams are unable to compete seriously on the world stage.” Tonight, English children will follow Hodgson and his team as England seek qualification for Brazil next year. Good thing they know as little about Moldova as they do about the future of the beautiful game on their doorstep.


American women aren’t the crazy type

People are crazy. Women mostly. That’s the story. Miley’s mad. Amanda Bynes is unhinged. John Mayer must be to blame, a boy with a guitar, no stranger to womanising. He will eventually add Miley and Amanda to his list. Atta boy John get after the girls with Daddy issues. At least the narrative might as well be written this way. Frightening really. A nightmare.

Shameful that the image of women in America is cast in this way, a place where women are comfortable in their own skin and have the attitude to prove it. Speak to any number of female undergraduates or young professionals and their confidence will come across at first meet, it’s a form of refreshing enthusiasm the like of which can’t be found in Europe until everyone is at least three beers deep.

Yes, in certain parts of the States a ‘fake it to make it’ culture is alive and well with women happy to sell themselves like a brand. Those that make it to television and twitterfeeds, appearing in not safe for work videos are the high profile examples that show this culture on display.

Away from the limelight, a better class of women are hiding. Their time and money is spent on independence not acceptance. They have been taught to reach for the stars and are busy getting what they want and who they want. They know there is no such thing as a waiting game in America. These are women for whom money isn’t everything. Who wouldn’t dream of naming a child North West. They laughed and cringed in equal measure when Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from Alaska. Most importantly they are distrusting of men, especially their male elders.

In an era dominated by the man-made excesses of U.S. foreign policy, (the focus of which has seen bloodshed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Palestine) America’s President has become the archetypal male women despise, his lust to carve more and more of the world’s resources; akin to the frivolity of  Eros. Women would do well to see Obama as a forgotten lover, for he has cheated them of peace at home and abroad. When he said he would change, for America no less, he didn’t mention the domestic chaos that would follow the nation and its 12million unemployed. Ladies, don’t be fooled into asking for an end to conflicts either, it might sound like a reasonable thought, ‘Mr. President what about the war mongering, can’t you make it stop?’ the response won’t impress your preyed upon character, ‘That’s the price of freedom my dear.’

The latest price inflation for freedom has begun with events in Syria. An American assessment of the countries alleged use of chemical weapons in Damascus has proved one thing beyond doubt, that woman no longer view their commander and chief as charming when setting forth a case for war. George W. Bush’s ill-judged decision to justify war in Iraq via inaccurate evidence has helped jog the collective memory. Distrust now follows his successor and secretary of state John Kerry. The female psyche won’t permit history repeating itself. Won’t play the part of victim in an ever increasing abusive relationship, for which the advances of power are without recourse.

If a definition of crazy can be found in America, it is the men who best live up to the title. They are on television and twitter just like women but they don’t dress or act crazy. They are war crazy.