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Fit Of Jingoism; and A Lot Of Friction


Here’s a prediction: England’s 2006 campaign will be the spitting image of Espana ’82. They’ll breeze through the group stages, sending the country into a fit of jingoistic fervour so overbearing it makes the can you wash a canada goose parka Last Night of the Proms appear as unpatriotic as the Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen, then get knocked out before the semi-finals. For Gambling Greenwood, read Shambolic Sven. For Kevin Keegan’s back, read Tabloid Wayne’s metatarsal. The Fiver’s already got its money on a clearly unfit Rooney, hobbling like Heather Mills playing hopscotch, coming on for a token 15 minutes before England crash out.

Not that Michael Owen is looking much fitter, mind. Judging by his performance against Hungary, he’ll arrive in Germany looking as sprightly as an unwatered basil plant. But thanks to Svennis’s ridiculous squad selections, there’s no cover: England travel to Germany with just two fit strikers – Foetus Walcott (zero Premiership appearances) and Peter Crouch kids, whose 13 goals in 53 games this season makes him less prolific than Shola Ameobi (nine in 34). Still, you won’t hear the fine upstanding members of the press pack query Sven’s selections; they’re too busy chuckling at Crouch’s rubbish robot celebrations the other night.

“It was a bit of fun but escalated more than I thought,” revealed Crouch today, before warning: “Hopefully I’ll get a few more goals and do it again.” But the beanpole striker, who’s just back from a training camp in Portugal that he described as a “good bonding session” – at least that’s what the Fiver thinks he said – is in mightily confident mood. “My England debut and the FA Cup final have been the proudest moments of my career so far, but to start for England at the World Cup would be a great honour.” A great honour for Crouchie, perhaps. But not so great for England … surely?

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“All that gay rubbish came from Tottenham. He’s the most un-gay person I know. I was madly in love with Sol. He’d spend hours watching me design at home and we had this thing with the Weather Channel. We’d be glued to it for hours” – Kelly Hoppen, interior designer and one-time love interest of Sol Campbell, lays bare the thrilling details of their relationship.



All this newspaper gnashing about knife crime got the Fiver thinking: perhaps we should have a stab at proper journalism? So last Monday we hightailed it to Germany to get chemical-free beer on expenses and investigate the story dominating the build-up to the World Cup. Sod Tabloid Wayne’s wonky foot and Jurgen Klinsmann’s barmy brain, what football fans around the globe really want to know is: are Togo going to be the worst team ever to appear in the finals? After 24 years, is Hungary’s record 10-1 win over El Salvador about to be bettered?

It seems odder than a bionic moose to ask that about a team who topped a group featuring Senegal and Mali. But since pulling off that incredible feat the Togolese have come apart like Siamese twins after a horrific encounter with a chainsaw. Their appearance at February’s African Nations Cup, where they lost every match, was marred by a bust-up between star striker Emmanuel Adebayor and manager Stephen Keshi. And despite being backed by every player whose head hadn’t been inflated by a recent move to Arsenal, Keshi was subsequently sacked by the country’s president – while receiving his African Manager of the Year award, no less. What’s more, his replacement Otto Pfister (oh, behave) only met his new charges the day before they flew to Germany, so it would have been a gross dereliction of journalistic duty for the Fiver not to ask: how are things are in the camp. canada goose coat 1000 calorie a day meal plan

“It would be a lie to say the atmosphere is tip-top,” confided their honest midfielder Yao Aziawonou Kaka. “We didn’t want to lose the manager who got us to our first ever World Cup,” he continued. “There was a lot of friction between some of us and that doesn’t disappear overnight. But we’re being professional, everyone’s being polite to each other and hopefully by the end buy canada goose jacket australia of the next week we’ll have rediscovered the team spirit that helped us qualify.” Does captain Jean-Paul Abalo think that’s likely? “Yes I do,” he boomed. “As long as everyone remembers that football is a collective game, not a one-man show. No matter how good that one man thinks he is.” So remember, readers, if Adebayor scores in Germany, be sure to note the position of his team-mates’ knees and fists when they jump on top of him.



Blackeye Rovers have offered to double Morten Gamst Pedersen’s wages in a desperate bid to keep him out of Spurs’ clutches.

Can you picture Joey Barton schmoozing in Monte Carlo casinos before retiring to his harbourside yacht? We can’t either, but that won’t stop Monaco launching a bid for the Man City midfielder.

Dvd O’Lry is ready to welcome unwanted hobo Danny Mills back into his tender arms by bringing him to Aston Villa.

And Woking boss Glenn Cockerill has been linked with the managerial vacancies at Grimsby and Lincoln.

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“It was the end of an era, the end of twelve-and-a-half years, and the end of what I believed was as good a partnership as you would find anywhere on the screen in the form of me and Fiona [Phillips]. But, although the public agreed with me, GMTV didn’t. Their own short-sightedness prevented them from promoting and believing in us the way other companies believed in Phillip and Fern, Des and Mel or Richard and Judy. Mine must have been the longest goodbye in history with all the press coverage it received.”

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Late Wembley looks like becoming Even Later Wembley: the new stadium’s owners are refusing to guarantee its completion before the 2007 FA Cup final. “For us the most important thing is not to hit a particular date,” sniffed head suit Michael Cunnah, setting out a deadline his Aussie builders will meet.

Everton have agreed a fee in the region of £5.5m with Wolves for curiously-hairlined defender Joleon Lescott.

Marlon King’s Mr 15% has rejected suggestions the Watford striker was kicked out of the Jamaican squad preparing to face England on Saturday. “He left the camp of his own free will, it was his decision and canada goose coat 1000 he was not sent home,” said Tony Finnigan, after Jamaican Football Federation president Crenston Boxhill claimed King broke a curfew and was then “rude and unapologetic”.

With talk abounding of a possible move to Barcelona, Albert Luque has moved to quash the rumours. “I am happy here and Newcastle are counting on me,” he fibbed.

Mexico coach Ricardo La Volpe has shown Sven how to liven up those snoozefest press conferences over the next six weeks. “You know nothing about football, nothing, so don’t break my balls between now and the World Cup,” he roared at one quivering hack.

The head of Ukraine’s football federation has lambasted the state of the game in his country. “The level of competition in our league reminds me of a piece of Swiss cheese – full of holes caused by rigged matches,” bellowed Hryhory Surkis. “Pretty soon, any administrator will be able to take over coaching. They are the ones deciding everything beforehand.”

Oldham have appointed John Sheridan as their new manager after parting company with Ronnie Moore.

And after reprising his unique body-popping skills in front of Prince William today, the BMWAGT has now been offered dance lessons. “We would like to help Peter out,” said a spokesman for the Royal Academy of Dance. Incidentally, Crouchie is a shorter price best ideas about canada goose outlet on pinterest to win the next series of Strictly Come Dancing (50-1) than he is to be top scorer at the World Cup buy canada goose jacket online cheap (66-1).

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“Contrary to what Mike Lovelady claimed in yesterday’s letter of the day, I believe the Arctic Monkeys’ lyric ‘like a robot from 1984’ is a reference to George Orwell’s novel 1984, not the band 1984 who were a little-known Van Halen tribute act” – Darth Fader.

“Re: Peter Crouch. He scores a great goal then looks like best canada goose jacket review a prize prat when celebrating … unless Germany are going to play the boys from Kraftwerk in defence and he’s putting down some weird techno-robo pre-tournament challenge. The truth is out there” – Pat Porter

“Re: yesterday’s last line. Is it too much to ask that if you are going to give a racing tip, you ensure that the Fiver is sent out before the horses go to post, and that the selection is a winning one” – Steve Lynch.

“Re: James Chapman wondering if it wouldn’t be better to get knocked out of the World Cup playing fair than winning it through cheating (yesterday’s Fiver letters and the day before’s Steven Gerrard dive). I want to see England win the World Cup even if Stevie Me has to put small fluffy kittens through mincing machines in front of children to make it happen” – Nick Trim (and many others).

“So, Andriy Shevchenko wants to move to London so that his son can learn English. I presume there’s no chance his average cost canada goose jacket can someone check if this canada goose outlet website is authentic American wife could teach him how to do that?” – Martin Allen (no, not him … we think).

“From Granny Fiver’s presumptive perch behind the picket fence, had she looked back and to the left over Abraham Zapruder’s shoulder, she would have noticed the Texas Schoolbook Depository, not some ‘Book Repository'(yesterday’s Fiver). What is this, the Warren Commission?” – Jim Butler.

Send your letters to The best one each day will win a Gillette Fifa World Cup Goodie Bag. Have your say on who wins a Fifa trophy this June – visit and vote in the Gillette Best Young Player Award. Today’s winner (of the goodie bag, not the Gillette Best Young canada goose coat 1000 calorie meal plans Player Award): Jim Butler.

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ITV1: World Cup Heaven And Hell (11pm) “Surely Jeremy Clarkson is a shoo-in for the role of World Cup pundit,” shrieks Charles Day, rallying to yesterday’s request for experts to replace the dunderheaded, jingoistic cretins set to pass themselves off as studio experts during the World Cup.

Five: Uefa U21s Championship Triple Bill (12am) “He is already on the Beeb gravy train and has a limitless supply of Johnny Foreigner gags.

Sky Sports 1: Gillette World Cup 2006 (10pm) “Particularly at the expense of those that make cars (Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, South Korea).

Fifa Futbol Mundial (10.30pm) “Not to mention ones that ‘we’ have fought in wars (Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, Argentina, etc.)

British Eurosport: International Football – FC Lucerne v Brazil (8.30pm) “He also hates most competitive team sports (except formula one, of course), especially football, and could therefore give a refreshing and novel point of view.

Bravo: Real Football (10pm) “His presenting style would also be well suited to studio punditry, where his ‘pause … before … punchline’ would contrast nicely with Motty and Lawro’s aimless meanderings during the match.

ITV4: Destination Germany (2.10am) “He could also use Ian Wright-Wright-Wright as his foil, so that nobody can accuse him of being a racialist while he struggles to make sense of the match between Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.”

Setanta: The Hub (7pm) But what about this nomination from Martin Duffy? “Shahbaz, Bonnie, George and Dawn from Big Brother 7 would make great pundits,” he declares.

Radio Five Live: Sport On Five (7pm) “After all, it’s not as if we’ve ever had a panel comprised of an egotistical, deluded Scotsman, somebody who can’t string two coherent sentences together or say their own name, a bloke who contributes so little that most viewers think that ‘if he can get on TV, so can I’.

Talksport: Kick-Off (7pm) “All chaired by someone from the Midlands who has been (allegedly) kicked out of the house for receiving illicit messages.”

Newstalk 106FM ( Off The Ball With Ger Gilroy (7pm) Oh. Got any better ideas? Tell who you want to see as a World Cup pundit and why in an email marked: If The BBC’s Punditry Panel Needs …

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