It's been a while since I've blogged, and it is down to a lot of Uni work: just for example, this week I had to write a 2,000 word dissertation chapter and create a 2' 30" long radio package from scratch. Did both in 4 days, I actually smashed it this week.
But anyway, despite to being smothered with Uni work and not keeping up with the news much, I haven't failed to notice how much criticism Steve McLaren has come in for this week. Ok, 0-0 against Israel is not the result of a team supposedly 6th in the world. But then, when 'England expects' as the saying goes, sometimes 'England forgets' the reality of the situation. Did the England fans watching the game (not least the ones actually there) somehow miss that for about 75 minutes, we were in total control and Israel just threw every single player behind the ball? How can you expect to win a football match like that when you're the only team trying to play football? Gareth Southgate has a point when he says that England shouldn't even have to play certain teams.
Returning to the England coach, Rome wasn't built in a day, and McLaren has been in this job about 8 months, playing only 6 competitive games. Sven Goran Eriksson, who spent most of his tenure as England manager under constant fire from the "anti-foreign managers of England" brigade, was given 5 years, and I suspect it's those same fans calling for McLaren's head. The pictures on Sky Sports showing those fans in Andorra berating McLaren with abuse and gestures just make me think: 'I'm English, I support England and want them to do well and would consider myself a fan, yet these so called 'real fans' that apparently represent my feelings just look like a bunch of wankers to me'.
What is also ironic, and saddening, is that only in England would a 0-3 away win in a competitive European qualifying match be classed as a failure. Like Israel 4 days earlier, Andorra just turned up to try not to lose by too many goals. For 45 minutes it worked, then England proved themselves. But the fans and the media were not happy. McLaren must feel hard done by: you manage a team that wins 3-0 and all the press want to ask you about is why we played so badly? No wonder he walked out of the press conference.
With that conference cut short, Sky Sports News turned to talk about themselves and the press, turning a news piece about England and football, incredulously, into a self-pitying parade of bollocks, acting as if it's not their fault - of course it is: we beat a team 3-0, and you're not satisfied with the good, so you talk about speculation and rifts and poor performances, while ignoring the basic facts. Is this representative of the way sports news, and indeed all news, is going? That 'good news is bad news', or perhaps that bad news is the only news. It just seems to me that the media needs to perpetuate something negative for the public to engage in, which is a really sorry, sorry state of affairs.
And the worst thing is that those witless fans that appeared in their droves in Andorra will lap up every word.