Latest: Dec 2nd 2010
JUNE 19th 2010
It is hard to understand why England should expect its team to be in the top 3 or even the top 8 of the world's best teams.The game is now fully internationalised and while we have to pull a team together from the best from a number of home teams, many of the countries we play against make a point of having a national team that practises together regularly with the foremost aim of doing well in the global competition.

Why we should expect this Italian expert manager and coach, Fabio Capello to be the man to inspire this collection of individual talents who, as I understand it (probably not at all), rarely get the chance to get together to work up patterns and systems to use against professional teams drawn from a pool of exceptional athletes impelled by motivational forces toward the extreme end of the spectrum?

We pay our footballers a lot of money, but I can't see why what they are paid should enhance their athletic ability unless we have the best to choose from, other nations are in the bidding, and only money will buy them for the England team. That is not the case. But when it comes to the world cup, athletic ability and team cohesion are almost certainly the decisive elements in winning.

I watched the match against Algeria. Three things struck me. Algerians can run faster and appear to think quicker. England do not appear to have any plan how to make use of the many corner kicks they managed to gain - the ball was kicked every time to the defenders in front of the goal while England watched from a distance. The speed of the Algerians made England more concerned with defence than attack. They seemed to expect Algeria to tire. Fat chance.

While it was perfectly logical for Capello not to choose the goal keeper till the last minute, as both must be ready to play, using the same technique with the team as a whole indicates that there are no particular patterns that use the special high-points of a particular team unless, (what do I know?) these combinations are all in the head of the coach and the players. How very confusing, not knowing till the last minute what the team will be. From what I saw, it just looked like a bunch of players who at best were just used to certain positions and a few routines.

Some of the England team played well. Johnson for one, and there were some others. But on the whole there seemed to be a lack of coherent plans and movements to surprise the opposition. Above all, those corner kicks were utterly wasted. I blame the management.

Finally, it seems to me that the expectation and the pressure put on the team is absurd. If we really wanted to win the World Cup against all these teams, to whom it matters far more, we would have to go about it in a completely different way. I would not be in favour of that. It's only a game.

JUNE 23 2010
The pressure on England is now even more absurd. According to the fanatics, it is unacceptable that they could lose the match against Slovenia. In that case, what is the point of playing at all? It is a given that any team taking the field in a sporting fixture, where they intend to play by the rules, accepts the possibility that they may lose. That is what the occasion is about and that is why winning is a matter for congratulation. Seeing that pressure of the same sort is one of the causes of the failure to score more goals against Algeria, the match today could give rise to intimidation as an alternative tactic if subtelty fails. I shall not be watching as I have other pressing things to do.

5:00pm BST
I hear England played well in the first half but in the second half, far from getting another goal to steady the nerves, Slovenia were striking back. Another draw would have made it doubtful we could go on and if the USA won its match, certainly not. England were defending desperately. America scored at the very moment the final whistle came at Port Elizabeth, proving God is an English football fan so what chance does a referee have?

At Kellogg's factory in Manchester we are told a big screen meant they could all watch and work at the same time. Interesting work, that must be, that you can do at the same time as watching a TV screen nowhere near you. I wonder what it pays. Perhaps that's why we can't compete with the Chinese at making things and putting them in boxes. In my day, Carruthers, we watched this stuff at the cinema, later, and when TV came most people hear it on the radio during the day and saw it in the evening.

Only joking, time off at work for some to watch the match at work when this is possible is a very good idea and I am sure they all deserved it. Not recommended for those with serious jobs though like pilots and train drivers, soldiers under fire, police on duty and any security personnel. I suppose surgeons can delay operations that are not critical for 90 minutes. But there is definitely something a bit screwy here when the first flight of the Space Shuttle, or the Ariane rocket, which are historic events involving the world in their consequences and millions of people in their construction (yep, millions) and decades of work do not get the same allowance by employers. Real time watching of anything could bring some regional, national and global systems to breaking point if this becomes a habit. It's very important we are all doing different things most of the time and never exactly the same thing ever.

JUNE 27th 2010
Comprehensively thrashed today by Germany who were faster, better in every way and had a very good idea exactly how to win against England. If we had for some reason (which I can't imagine) beaten Germany there was still not the slightest chance of winning the cup. If these are the best players we have to make a team, then we must realise they would have to play a lot more as a team, with a much better manager, to gave the slightest chance of winning a world championship. Even then, since they can be outrun by most of ther opposition, they would have to me a lot smarter then any opposition. I doubt they are likel to be. Since it was obvious to me, someone who does not play football and knows diddly squat about it, that we were going down, how is it that most of the nation and many experts are so deluded?

Finally, I have to say I know nothing about Fabio Capello, but he comes over as bumbling mumbler I wouldn't trust to put the cat out. He can't understand English, or speak it, so how can he possible manage a team not fluent in Italian. He thinks that today England played a good game. Communication is key for a manager and he can't communicate and does not appear to understand how football is played.

I am glad we just won the One-Day series with Australia. As somebody who finds the use of the word 'humiliating' as used by the media quite ridiculous, I have to say the defeat today at the World Cup was humiliating because of the absurd hype the world has had to put up with from the British media, fans and many footballers and commentators. Humiliation is bloody well deserved, though not for the players. They do not pick themselves, nor manage the team or the sport. Canon fodder in my view even if some of them have remarkable talents not unrelated to football.

AUGUST 9th 2010
It has taken over a month but now the manager has spoken. He says the reason for England's poor performance was exhaustion and fear. I think he is very likely correct. The exhaustion has been dealt with by many commentators. The fear, on the other hand, is largely the fault of the commentators and the fans and outlandish expectations of both, not for a good performance but for a 'win or else you are rubbish' barrage, day by day as the matches approached. I refer readers to my opening paragraph and you will now understand why I wrote it, and why I write everything I do on this web site - to explain the bleeding obvious and how we cause all the problems that come our way, although sitting on this planet waiting to be hit by an asteroid will be the first time we have not had a chance to get out of the way of trouble and so must be collectively proactive. The rest is just practice.

Incidentally, Mr Capello, having analysed the problem with England's football team said he didn't have any idea what to do about it. This should give us pause for thought. Perhaps what he is saying is that no team or manager can be expected to handle the situation created by the British media and British football fans and the current system and enviroment in which the teams operate. Or, alternatively, that somebody could but he can't.

DECEMBER 2nd 2010
We didn't get a lot of votes at the voting for the next world cup because we haven't a clue how to handle these things. We look at this as a presentation competition. Nobody else does. We don't like joining international organisations like the EU or anything else. FIFA has a bunch of guys who have got themselves onto the election committee and they decided who to vote for, NOT on the basis of the presentation but on where they thought it might be a good idea, never mind the reasons or the quid-pro-quos of which there may have beem few or many. They want to send football round the world. Of course it would help if that was stated clearly in advance.

Instead, various criteria were set out as merits to be judged when voting. They were clearly ignored. In the run-up to the vote the UK did a lot of lobbying. Votes were promised no doubt in the end just to get us to shut up. I think it's a good thing it has gone to Russia, but Qatar, that needs explaining - it looks as if our press created a bad smell in the FIFA corridors and nobody felt particularly interested in voting for Britain. The whole idea of members of the committee 'promising' to vote for others is to my mind utterly absurd. The vote is secret. It is highly likely that if any member started hearing votes had been 'promised' to any country they would tend to dismiss that country as needing their own vote. The very practice of 'promising votes' sounds to me like a stitch up.
If Cameron and others had any sense they would not have got involved. The best way to make an impression with FIFA would be to win the world cup.

DECEMBER 5th 2010
Now we learn that Boris Johnson, London Mayor, has cancelled the 'freebie' accomodation for FIFA delegates at the 2012 Olympics. Oh, so they were offered a freebie because they promised to vote for us - and now we call them corrupt.