November 22nd, 2007


A Caucus-Race And A Short Tale

Mr McClaren finally succeeded in earning himself and English squad well-deserved rest during next summer's Euro finals in Austria and Switzerland. It had been a tough work considering stubborn competition from unpredictable and always tired Russian side.

Let's revive this autumn's history in brief.
8 September: England and Russia both win, Russia is one point clear in fight for Group E runners-up place.
12 September: England 3-0 Russia, England leads by two points.
13 October: England wins and keeps five points lead, Russia has one game in hand.
17 October: Russia 2-1 England, owing to ten minutes of Nearly Headless English Defending in the middle of the second half Russia has advantage with two-points deficit and one game in hand.
17 November: Russia loses, England stays two points clear before last match-day.
21 November: England loses at Wembley turf and goes out, Russia wins and goes through.

May be, Mr Eriksson had been a little bit careless about his personal life, but nevertheless he had had full competence in football matters. Unfortunately, his successor had totally answered all FA requirements for job but didn't manifest any signs of game comprehension except for his famous notepad.

The clearest examples of Mr McClaren's don't-know-how could have been seen in his behaviour towards such important members of the squad as goalkeeper and skipper.
A little more than a year ago, newly appointed England manager Mr McClaren solemnly expelled Mr Beckham from the team. Well, for some time Mr Beckham evidently had been a weak point of the squad, so this decision could only be approved. Then, after the year of former skipper's absence and his transfer to bohemian Los Angeles, and in spite of bright performances of Mr Wright-Phillips, the manager inexplicably returned Mr Beckham. But it wasn't end of story. Mr Beckham was omitted from the squad for the decisive match versus Croatia - only to be sent to the pitch for the second half. In vain.
As to goalkeepers - well, since Mr Shilton's retirement England desperately seeks for someone reliable between the sticks. Mr Robinson himself is not an ideal choice - his calamity after Mr Neville's back-pass in Zagreb shows it. But dealing with 'keepers requires a lot of comprehension, trust and patience. The very qualities Mr McClaren seems to lack. He refuses to back his first-choice keeper and gives starting place for the decisive game to Mr Carson, who doesn't have under his belt any competitive match on the grown-ups international level and had tried on an English jersey only five days ago. You get what you want - two goals allowed in first fifteen minutes and lost cause.

So, the battle is lost, and the war is lost, too. How do you do, Mr McClaren?
According to SkySports, "Steve McClaren has insisted he will not resign following England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008. "Now is not the time for recriminations. It's just one of huge disappointment for everyone in this country".
Yes. Just.

Ty v ploskosti uma podoben tarakanu,
A v ostal'nom podoben peskaryu.

You're like a cockroach at the thinking level,
And like a gudgeon at another ones.

It's a pity Mr McClaren apparently doesn't attend Mr Grebenshchikov's concerts in London. I hope he'll have more time for culture events in the nearest future.