Sunday, 27 June 2010

Utter Humiliation

I am struggling here. I have supported England, and West Ham, since 1969 and I am trying to remember if we have ever conceded four goals in a single game in all that time. I remember us netting four. I remember Netzer and the Germans taking Moore and co apart at Wembley and winning 3-1; but I can't remember us either conceding four or losing by a margin of three goals. Has my memory simply installed a humiliation filter for the international team? Is it God's way of saying, supporting West Ham is punishment enough for anybody in one life time, or have Capello's England truly plumbed new depths today?

Post mortems will be conducted, and the ludicrous failure to see that a ball two feet into the goal had cleared the line will figure prominently, but twenty minutes of the game apart, we were second rate. What the hell was going on at the back? Upson and Terry looked every bit as bad as Upson and Tomkins looked all season. Who would buy Upson now? The guy is a total yard dog. For the second goal, we were watching the replays trying to work out where the hell he was. Yes Terry was out of position but at least he was in shot of the camera! Upson apologists will point to his goal but, that apart, his performance was nothing short of disgraceful. I thought Green had a mare in the first game, well Upson has just outmared him!

In midfield, Gerrard was everywhere - except wide on the left where he was supposed to be! It is no coincidence that for that second goal, Upson and Terry were both sucked across to the left hand touchline; Cole was striving manfully on that flank but he was being offered no protection whatsoever. Lampard did okay, but okay is not good enough at international level. Milner looked slow and clumsy. And Barry? Well I have defended him on this blog but he was shocking today. I suspect because he is still recovering from that injury. In club football, he would have had a run out in the stiffs and 20 minutes as a sub before being pitched back into battle. Capello, in his desperation, rushed him back far too quickly.

Up front, Defoe was all but invisible and Rooney saw far too much of the ball. The Manchester United man isn't fit. I will be amazed if we do not learn, over the next two weeks, that Rooney needs an operation on that ankle he injured against Bayern. He was rushed back too soon and Capello compounded the mistake by playing him in all the warm up games, exacerbating the deep lying injury and wasting oportunities to explore a Plan B.

And talking Plan B, where was 4-5-1, and where was Crouch? What the hell was the point of bringing on Heskey today? Was that some sort of farewell appearance at international level, an opportunity to wave goodbye to his adoring fans? Talk about a meaningless and dumbfounding substitution! I thought Zola's substitutions were crass, but this one took the biscuit! What has Crouch done to upset Capello exactly?

The players will be slated, rightly; but Capello has been crass throughout this tournament. He picked the wrong keeper to start. He picked the wrong squad when he included Carragher and King. He picked the wrong centre back pairing when he ignored Dawson. He employed the wrong tactics throughout. He backed Heskey ahead of Crouch, ignoring their goal scoring records at international level. He left himself with no alternative for right back. He took and played Wright-Phillips. He went with old men and left himself without youthful invention, flair and pace. And he left behind Johnson, the possible solution to the left side of midfield because he was blinkered and could not look beyond 4-4-2 and the inclusion of both Lampard and Gerrard.

Lampard and Gerrard have both called for Capello to be retained; well there's a surprise! Six million pounds a year to secure just one victory in four games? Six million pounds a year to make so many wrong tactical calls? Six million pounds a year to score three goals in four games? The six million pound man? We NEED to rebuild him!


Sav said...

The funny thing is that Capello was so quick to say that he won't be resigning! How can anyone after such an utter failure say that? He could have at least stated, I need time to consider my options and all that crap. But Capello apart, the players should take the biggest part blame (those he took to South Africa - not the ones who were left behind). I believe that a new manager should rebuild England from scratch. Not by collecting a bunch of names, but rather having a group of players (a lot younger than these guys) who can become a team together. I don't think Capello can do such a job. He is not that kind of a manager. Wenger or Guardiola could do it but not Capello. That's just my opinion. Not to worry too much HF. After all, it is only a game. I am glad you finally admitted you were wrong though. It is a sign of maturity which I am sure Stani would applaude.

Hammersfan said...

A little confession Sav - I was running on empty in terms of hope after the Algeria game. I just thought, if I keep saying we will win it, who knows. I felt nothing when we went out. No sick feeling, nothing. It was too sadly predictable. 2010 will not be remembered as a vintage year by West Ham and England fans will it? Maybe Italian managers are shit!

Luke Eliot said...

Just a thought. Why can Capello not speak English properly? He struggles in interviews. How can he expect to communicate properly with his players? As England manager, you're hardly busy - he should have had ample time to become fluent.

Hammersfan said...

At 65 Luke? You forget more than you remember at that age. In 5 year's time he will be struggling with Italian!

Sav said...

It may be some comfort that Italy and France were even worse than England! Let's look forward to a better year for West Ham next season. Keep up the good work HF.

Urban Saint said...

I totally agree. The state of our current team is ultimately down to Capello, but you have to ask the question 'How did we get to this?'. I think the answer really lies with the FA. Over the last 10 years, the FA have appointed a string of either inept or 'I can't really communicate with the team and staff, because I can't speak english very well' managers, and paid them exstortionate amounts of money on long term contracts. Why would you do that, if you knew what you were doing? In addition to this, there has been a disgraceful amount of money pumped in to youth football, and developing coaches (i personally know how difficult and expensive it is to gain certificates in coaching). We need to rehaul the FA, and replace the old brigade with a group of individual's that will start making the right decisions for the english people - this needs to happen for the future of English football, and it needs to happen now! These individuals have to be people experienced in football, that are aided by spokespeople for the youth and community. Somehow we need to make this happen.

Hammersfan said...

How are we going to do that Urban Saint when teachers are no longer interested in running after school clubs and when Bill Bloggs needs all sorts of child protection checks before he can run a Sunday football side?

Urban Saint said...

Hammersfan, I understand your frustration - I actually work for a london borough running afterschool clubs. Thr FA need to implent more money in to the 'Kikz' football projects that are being targeted at 16 - 19 yr old, and develop similar projects for 5-8's and 9-11's. And in addition fund adults who want to be coaches. Why does millions of pounds need to be paid to our managers, when we need to focus on our future (us and our children).

Hammersfan said...

I tell you what mate, I watched The Secret Millionaire tonight, with a guy sent to Anfield. It's no wonder we aren't producing footballers when we are breeding urban guerillas in the inter city seedbeds. These bastards don't want to play football, they don't want to do anything other than take drugs and terrorise their neighbourhood. I know these programmes sensationalise but what I saw was truly frightening.

Zito said...

While today's win by Germany was utterly predictable, I believe the reasons for the win will elude all but the shrewdest analysts of the game.

I'm not going to pretend to be one of those - but I'll give it my best shot and let others decide.

1) Desire. The Germans wanted it more. They were hungrier, fitter, younger, pacier and had raw talent. England appeared lethargic, plodding, disorganised.
Did anyone else notice the English players (eg Lampard) chatting, smiling with the Germans and exchanging shirts after the game? Very revealing. If they were as shattered after that loss as they ought to have been, they would still be lying on that Bloemfontein pitch in misery.
Personally I blame the inflated salaries these guys get paid - it seems to rob them of their pride and will to go out there and die for the England shirt. Lampard/Gerrard etc know that when August rolls around it will all be forgotten about as the new season unfolds.

2) Youth development. This has already been touched on and is a huge problem in England. It won't be rectified until the balance in the Premier League is tilted more towards home-grown players again. Yes, the overseas stars are great to watch, but the Premier League is destroying England's national team. The Bundesliga provides a much better platform for rising German talent to shine on than the Premier League does in England. Therefore more of their young players play at that higher level week after week.

England Coach. The FA fell into the trap that so many administrators do of believing that an overseas coach must be better than anything produced locally. Capello made some fatal errors in tactics and selection, not least because he is an Italian manager trying to get English players to play his style of game, a style they were not suited to or used to. His formations did not utilise the strengths of the players available,(eg play Gerrard as an AMC behind Rooney & Defoe, not as a ML!) and, possibly for reasons outlined in the above paragraph, he did not blood enough young players in the 2 years he was in charge. If Terry and Upson are the two best central defenders in England (Rio excluded) there are problems. Where was Dawson? Adam Johnson? Theo?
Also - there is a cultural aspect to this that is often overlooked. Capello doesn't speak English all that well, is long in the tooth and I can't see how he could put the necessary fire in the belly of a bunch of Englishmen. If you had 'Arry there, as they should have had, he would have been recreating 1966 and the ghosts of 1996 and 1990 as motivation...Capello could not and would not have done this.

So, for me, the answer is: Sack Capello. Hire 'Arry or Woy. Drop at least half the run-on team for today's game before Euro12 qualifiers begin. Immediately enforce quota of 3 maximum non-UK players in any Premiership matchday squad. Reinvigorate FA Youth program. FA to use Premiership TV rights money and pump some of it (a lot) into developing youth football.

England needs to go back to the drawing board. 20 years of the Premier League has not helped your game and its time to take stock of what is happening and make some radical changes.

Urban Saint said...

I work with those types of kids on a daily basis! Only time will tell what's going to happen to our society - but you'd better prepare yourself. The only way we can change this, is to enable our kids to express themselves in positive activities. Most Afterschool Clubs aren't cool for 11-12's, and most teachers aren't cool as well, so kids don't really have people around them that can guide and empower them (parent's can't be relied on!) If we got these football projects going at every school, then we might make a difference. I'm going to speak to a mate who creates websites - let's start a petition to get the FA out!

Rabelais said...

It's always a mistake to post on a blog when you've been drinking heavily... but here goes.

What did you realistically expect from England in the World Cup? The team simply isn't in the same league as the Germans, Argentineans, Brazilians, etc. This isn't Capello's fault. It's not Rob Green's, Matty Upson's or any but else in the pitches fault. There is a much deeper malady here. It's cultural, political and economic.

And when I'm sober I'll try to comment on it.

Urban Saint said...

How can we change it Zito? Us leaving these constructive sensible ideas on a random website won't reach very far. If there is someone out there who can start a web-petition to change the FA, then please come forward, because I'm sick of seeing our national football team, and the future of the great game in our country made in to a global joke. It should be our right to change this!

Anonymous said...

f..k england. come on you irons.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say, the Germans were the better team. However, Upson (And I am no fan of his) was not at fault for any of the goals, yet again, Terry was wandering up the field for the first and James should have come for it. Cole was up field for number 2, and James shouldn't have come for it. and from there on it all goes Pup!
Capello, despite being a world class coach, simply made too many errors, tactically and in choices.

Jerome said...

I'm surprised your not happy?

You probably predicted this and can probably tell us all how right you are and how knowledgable you are.

It is also a perfect opportunity for you to have a moan at another team you apparenlty support!

You never have anything positive to say, so negative news is what you feed off of!

Deane said...

Jerome, I'd be surprised if any realistic West Ham or England fan can honestly find anything positive about either side at the moment. Personally I'm happy South Africa went out after beating France rather than after a mauling by Argentina. I'm happy Germany won having supported them since the West Germany Days of the late 60's as SA weren't allowed to compete and as for West Ham it's always been a traumatic experience. I can't see it changing ever I think we've come to epitomise our song but I quite like the back to wall spirit the fans always had reminiscent of the old Blitz spirit We are allowed to whine about the team but it's only a very recent thing that supporters whine about each other the spirit that held our great club together is disappearing and I doubt we'll ever witness the great Johnny Lyall's claret and blue army sung with such great gusto and passion ever again

Anonymous said...

Been a f*cking awful World Cup for Gold & Sullivan. Green and Upson's transfer value just plummeted to about half a dollar (and that would be for the 2 muppets combined).

Pablo said...

That pretty much articulates how I'm feeling HF.

No one involved with the English squad can come away with any credit. Capello made terrible decisions on multiple levels (squad choices, tactics, team selections and subs) and the players general performance levels were poor at best.

No spirit, no passion, no cohesion, low energy levels and a complete lack of confidence. Probably the worst WC or Euro campaign by an English team that I can remember.

I think that the players, the manager, the media and also the fans are guilty of massive delusions of grandeur. This team simply weren't good enough and never were.

Gerrard and Lampard (our so called 'golden' generation) have had their chances and failed to deliver. Time for a rethink. An English manager blooding younger players.

Hammersfan said...

Jerome, why would I be happy? I am English and, apart from anything else, I struck a £20 double back in December of 08 on Newcastle to go down and England to win the World Cup. I've just lost out on a £1200 payout.

Just because I am honest about the mess I witness, it doesn't mean I'm happy about the mess. That's like saying that a journalist who reported on the attack on the Twin Towers was happy that it happened!

Sav said...

The World Cup for England is over. Can we all concentrate on West ham and the new season from now on. By the way, has anyone heard of what a certain Avram Grant may have been up to, if anything at all, during this time?

T.I.S said...

I love the hindsight genuises

Rabelais said...


You say: I think that the players, the manager, the media and also the fans are guilty of massive delusions of grandeur.

This, I think, hits the nail on the head.

All my life I have been subjected to the most intense football propaganda that convinced me that England were realistic contenders for every European and World competition they entered.

When I watched my first World Cup in 1978, England had been victors just 12 years before, which meant that their absence from the tournament in Argentina could be thought of as a hiatus in a story of otherwise national footballing glory.

Since then I have succumbed to the myth, propagated every four years, that the cup was England’s but for that metatarsal injury, or for the ‘hand of God’ and tricky foreigners, or the incompetence of match officials. This is all propaganda and I simply don’t believe it anymore.

I’ll tell you what else I don’t believe (and this is heresy in some parts). I don’t believe that the third England goal in the ‘66 final crossed the line. I suspect that the rest of the world has always known this, but then again they have not been exposed to the sort of propaganda that we encounter regularly in the UK.

The rest of the world also knows that there was a concerted effort to keep the home nation in the ’66 tournament to guarantee high gate receipts, so there is more than a whiff of controversy about the red card shown the Argentinean captain, Antonio Rattin, in the quarter final against England. The south American was dismissed by for ‘violence of the tongue’ despite the German referee knowing not a word of Spanish.

Now in the aftermath of Germany’s 4-1 drubbing of England I can honestly say that the last vestiges of the erroneous belief that this generation of young English players, or that generation, or any generation is the ‘golden’ one have left me.

England have produced middling football teams for as long as I can remember. Whatever the individual talents on show the team has always seemed to fall short of the sum of its parts. Sure, there have been glimpses, rare moments of magic, but never anything sustained. England expects. England’s football team disappoints. England’s fans and pundits offer a rash of reasons and recriminations.

Those who get closest to the real reasons for England’s malodorous performances look for structural reasons, like youth policies, the number of foreign players in the Premiership, the political economy of a sport where clubs pay exorbitant wages to young men who then never look quite as committed to the less lucrative cause of their country.

But I’d like to suggest another reason why England underperform. I don’t offer this as the definitive reason, but one among a number. And it is this: there is something in the English national character that predisposes her majesty’s subjects to a grossly inflated sense of the country’s place in the world; a legacy of once imperial greatness that fuels a sense of inherent superiority that turns to hurt indignation when the nation’s representatives don’t deliver glory.

England’s footballers carry such unrealistic expectations upon their young shoulders, is it any wonder they looked fearful and frigid in this World Cup?

Karl Marx once said that the ‘The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.’ He was writing about the French Revolution but the phrase could be applied to the English football team. In at least 3 or the 4 games they played in this world cup they looked haunted, like they are living with every patriotic ghost from 1066 to 1966.

Old ‘Arry made an interesting point after the Germany game, when he pointed out that England need to play a more ‘modern’ style of football. He’s probably dead right. But England also needs a new sense of itself in this post-imperial era that doesn’t rely on an identity that is shackled by perceived former glories. It could start with a new national anthem...