Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Longshot


I have lived in Wales for 25 years now and have never experienced any abuse on account of being English, not serious abuse anyway. I get plenty of stick for being a Brummie, but not  for being English. Until today. Because of Wayne Rooney. The man in the papershop rounded on me as soon as I walked in………….arrogant bloody English……who do they think they are, spoilt brats and racists the lot of them, and on it went. So thank you Wayne, and kindly do me the favour of keeping your trap shut for the next few weeks, and that goes for the rest of you dopes too!

The newsagent and his customers (it’s an old fashioned kind of a place, more of a hang out for ex miners than a shop; the local youths hanging about the bus shelter regard the place with awe) also had fun at my expense in wondering aloud at what point England would suffer their ritual humiliation and come home with their tails between their legs. These stout Welshman didn’t quite get the irony of ridiculing a team that had actually qualified for the competition, and I wasn’t foolhardy enough to point it out.

It is a very serious business though. Even here in the South Wales valleys police are warning of a likely increase in episodes of domestic violence as the competition progresses. Known offenders will be visited and have their cards marked, and known victims will also be visited by specialist officers. A fairly complex plan is in place for the whole tournament in general and England games in particular (this is Wales, remember).
It seems that incidents of domestic violence increase by a huge amount when big football or rugby games are on. 

Tracing footballs tribal roots.  See, very serious stuff.

There was a good article in the Guardian today on Capello’s temper tantrums during the game with the All Stars the other day. It seems that he will not settle for any complacency. The most interesting bit for me was that he gave Joe Hart a huge bollocking for booting the ball aimlessly up the field rather than rolling it out to a team mate. As a Blues fan, I have sympathy with Capello……………it drives me nuts when our keepers just boot the ball up the field, almost guaranteeing that it immediately comes straight back. If midfielders, or even defenders, passed the ball to the opposition as often as keepers do, they would be vilified and dropped.

I got Roberto Bolano’s 2006 out of the library last week. I keep looking at it. It is huge. I don’t think I will ever develop the courage to dive in. I fear I will never emerge.
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