Communication Breakdown

I’m trying to think of how far back the record of PR disasters surrounding England players, managers and the FA actually goes: it’s a long way and might even start as far back as the Alf Ramsay era. Ramsey was famous for his curt manner with the press and although we’re separated by five decades and an almost unimaginable leap in technology, I’m almost certain that to some extent the anti-England agenda that occasionally manifests itself in the mainstream press dates from that time.

In the last week, we’ve seen what can happen when both managers and players attempt to communicate information and opinions in an informal atmosphere. Although Roy Hodgson was giving an honest answer to a reasonable question about Rio Ferdinand’s international future when he took a tube train to the Emirates to watch Arsenal play Olympiakos in the Champions League, it’s fair to say that either a political answer or keeping schtum altogether would’ve been better options. I happen to agree with him: I think this might be the last time Ferdinand gets mentioned  in this blog as a player. Rio Ferdinand is too old and unfit to play for England but could make a decent coach somewhere along the line.

On the other hand, exactly what Ashley Cole was hoping to achieve when he tweeted about the FA in the wake of the John Terry case is beyond me. At first I thought his ‘foul mouth rant’ was a joke: but then I saw the ‘verified’ symbol next to his handle. In a way, referring to the FA as ‘a bunch of twats’ is a simple case of it takes one to know several. Having been ‘encouraged’  to be a bit more media friendly in the summer and being only two caps short of a century of international appearances, you’d have thought that Cole would’ve been smart enough to realise that keeping quiet would’ve been the best option under the circumstances, especially as there are still questions about the captaincy going forward.

However, apart from possibly in the context of wearing expensive clothes, the words ‘Ashley Cole’ and ‘smart’ seem never to be destined to be used in the same sentence again. I wrote what I thought of John Terry here and I’ve got no problem with including Ashley Cole in the description of some contemporary football players in the fourth paragraph.

I’m pleased that the FA seem to have indicated that Cole won’t play against San Marino at the weekend, but that’s not really a punishment. He’s just lucky he wasn’t around in when Ramsay was boss.

He wouldn’t have played for England again.

I’ll be back later in the week when I’ll attempt to concentrate on the two forthcoming games. But it’s only Tuesday afternoon: plenty of time for tweeting.

Andorra Preview

Well Saturday couldn’t have gone any better, could it! A four goal win away from home, six wins out of six, our nearest rivals drawing and a seven point lead going into a home game against the bottom team in the group.

Not the time to get complacent though, even though the facts are overwhelming: Andorra have only ever picked up a point away from home in the World Cup qualifiers (against Macedonia in 2005) and have never won an away game. They scored against Belarus on Saturday, defender Ildefons Lima notched in the last minute but by that time the Belarussians had scored five. Lima – Andorra’s all time leading scorer – plays for AS Triestina in Italy’s Serie B whereas the rest of the Andorran squad play for minor Spanish clubs or in the eight team Andorran league.

On the other hand, we ‘ve only lost two home World Cup qualifiers since 1997 (Italy and Germany) and haven’t been beaten at home since Croatia knocked us out of Euro 2008. Not much to report on the England team today, although it’s worth keeping an eye on whether Theo Walcott will play or not seeing as though he’s supposed to be playing for the under 21s later this week (and apparently if Arsene Wenger had his way he wouldn’t even be playing for them) and that Beckham, Johnson and Heskey would all miss the Croatia game if they were booked tomorrow night.

We’re going to try something a bit different tomorrow night: a commentary on twitter – if you want to follow it follow us on Twitter . Can’t guarantee what time coverage will start and as I’ll be watching the British Lions latest tour game, I’ve got a ‘Big Brother’ issue with my other half and if England score an early goal it might turn into a discussion about ITVs coverage

Couple of non-football notes to finish on: there’s a tube strike on London Underground tomorrow and having been up to Wembley three times since it reopened I can only begin to imagine how much chaos that might cause. There have been various reports this evening that Setanta is facing administration – which raises the question of which channel might carry England away games if/when Sentanta goes down the tubes…sorry, couldn’t resist that one.

Enjoy the game!