Euro championships

Well Ireland’s out and we’ve won something for a change!….the wooden spoon! It is funny being in England for the last few weeks during a major footballing championships. Typically up in Scotland you’ll walk into a pub where, see England’s playing Germany and find its full of Germans (or at the very least lots of people cheering on Germany). The following week, again when England’s playing, it suddenly seems to be full of French, or Algerians. Now as a neutral, you’d almost swear the Scots don’t want England to win or something…..

But that said, and I mean no offense here, but that national anthem they play before the England game “god save the queen” sort of does my head in, can’t ye change it to something else? After all its actually the British national anthem not the English one. Its this sort of blurring the lines between Britain and England that really winds up the Welsh and Scots, not to mention confusing our geographically challenged neighbours across the Atlantic.

Of course purists would say, then it needs to be “Jerusalem”, based on a William Blake poem. While I’d agree, let’s be practical, you can’t sing that drunk! and the thought of ten thousand English football fans murdering this song before each game fills me with dread. Furthermore, there’s a lot of religious references in there which will inevitably peeve somebody. Plus some of the lyrics will confuse the hell out of the Germans (Ze Englisher’s Vant to bring Jerusalem 2 ze English country zide? Vas is tis? Didn’t ve try zat in 1940? :no:) who may get the wrong idea. So maybe not.

Rule Britannia? Would probably wind people up the wrong way also (ruling waves? Belgrano? Argentina? on the cultural insensitivity meter that pretty much goes one notch below painting cartoons of Mohammed on the side of that black square thing in Mecca :no:) and I suspect FIFA will say no (unless ye bribe Blatter anyway), and of course its also a British song, so definitely out.

That really boils it down to the Vindaloo Song. It represents core British values (I had a cuppa a few minutes ago, thinking of having some cheddar cheese and reckon I’ll have a curry tomorrow night). While again it will confuse johnny foreigner, it will do so in a nice way (the German team will be still scratching their heads tens minutes later trying to figure out what all that was about, giving ye the chance to snatch an early goal). Tho again I suspect those blokes at FIFA and the FA will say its too silly a song for a national anthem (then again have you ever heard the lyrics to some of the other national anthems? they ain’t much better! indeed some should count as outright xenophobia).

I’m reminded on this point of Mark Thomas who once suggested using the Imperial March theme from Star Wars as it will “scare the shit out of people”. I’d tend to agree, but again this would offend certain religions (Jedi?) and again the suits would never agree to it. Anyone got any other suggestions?….other than the othergod save the queen” song :>>

Dive of the Sugar Plum Fairy

Now having witnessed Ireland playing both Spain and Italy (well the highlights of the Spain match, as I didn’t watch it live…thank feck!), we must address the issue of diving in football. Many fans will argue it ruins the game. And I agree, but that said it does take a fair bit of skill, both in agility, grace and acting to pull off an effective “swan lake” dive.

I therefore propose a solution, alongside the golden boot (top scorer), golden ball (best player) and glove (goalie) awards for tournaments we introduce the “sugar plum fairy award” for best diver. The unlucky player in question will get a pink ballerina dress, shoes and a fairy wand, which he will have be forced too the honour of wearing for every match in the proceeding football season.

My suspicion is that this would solve the problem, in a slightly more humane way than the bloke in the pub the other night suggested (that divers be sent off at once, kicked by all the other players, and then just after he’s disappeared out of sight down the tunnel a single shot rings out).

Battle of Gdansk

Couldn’t help but notice Greece and Germany were drawn together….how many yellow and red cards is that one going to generate? We maybe about to witness a rerun of “the battle of Berne”.

The fifth wheel

Also, what exactly are those guys behind the goal (dressed in Yellow, I assume ref’s of some kind) supposed to be doing? Given that goal that wasn’t for Ukraine v’s England I assume their job doesn’t involved telling if the ball actually crossed the line or not, I mean what was the guy doing? Checking his text messages? On a tea break? And while Brit’s might be smug about dodging a bullet this time, remember what goes around comes around. Sooner or later he’ll miss a goal ye score, of course it already happened as I recall last world cup.


Meltdown at Zurich

Swiss officials have warned of a serious Meltdown unfolding at the core of world football, in the FIFA (sleaze cooled) reactor. This FIFA reactor consists of a core filled with highly enriched fuel elements, drawn from a variety of international sources (corrupt club managers, nepotistic politicians, dodgy businessmen, ex-ticket touts, etc.) which are then immersed in a large vat of cash. While much of this money is typically drawn from sources such as TV rights and sponsorship deals, a good deal still needs to come from corrupt sources. This is obviously a precarious situation in which to operate, made worse by the vulnerability of said core elements to exposure to “media” reactions.

The current meltdown was indeed triggered by exposure of several core elements in the FIFA reactor to media scrutiny. Worse still the form of media in question was a combination of the British tabloid media and the BBC. “that’s the worse case scenario really” A Swiss official said. “I mean if it was the German media, we’d have seen a few articles in Der Spiegel which everyone would have ignored, if it was the Russians it would have been a long series of exposes on RT which nobody would have believed”. As a consequence of this media exposure at least one of the core elements when rogue and this led to a chain reaction that has triggered the current crisis. With sponsorship money rapidly evaporating, its seems likely the core will soon be fully exposed, already the primary fuel element has very publicly melted down, nearly exploding at one point and the crisis is expected to get worse, unless action is taken quickly.

Swiss officials are at a loss as to what to do. Some have suggested cutting off the flow of money to the core, or even expelling a couple of the damaged fuel elements, but opinions differ as to whether this will be successful or not. A complete shutdown of the FIFA reactor is one opinion. However, FIFA is a hugely important thing for the Swiss to host “I mean they’re one of the few people in the country actually paying tax don’t you know!” Another problem is the inevitable legal situation “when fuel elements as old as the one in the core gets this exposed and hot under the collar, as a natural by-product it tends to attract lawyers who quickly surround it” an expert explained “of course, these tend to decay naturally as the money dries up, plus the fact that they cannot resist the temptation to go chase after ambulances, but in the interim approaching or attempting to operate on FIFA could be hazardous”

There are also worries that the current crisis in FIFA and the increased media activity it has generated could spread to a similar plant in Lausanne, the IOC reactor. “this would be very worrying” one Swiss official was quoted as saying “there are a lot of highly enriched and highly corrupt fuel elements in that reactor too, a couple of them even dating back to the end of WW2 when they were imported from Germany and they still require heavy shielding to protect them from media exposure”

Many local officials seem to be of the opinion that opting for a low enriched fuel cycle in future maybe the way forward. Such a system would use natural fuel elements drawn from football supporters around the world. The system would be smaller, cheaper and not need the corrupt over-enriched fuel elements currently used nor would it need a large vat of money to sustain it. In the meantime officials working at the FIFA plant plan to deploy spin doctors to try and control the level of media reactions.

Deploying spin doctors is a radical move that could backfire. As one expert pointed out “it can aggravate an already bad situation”. Take for example the situation in Britain recently where the Man U reactor suffered a minor but still serious meltdown scenario. A fuel element, known for legal reasons as CTB, wound up becoming lodged in a stray Gold-digger. Local officials took the radical step of using a “super injunction” to try to control media exposure, but this just aggravated the situation and caused a runaway chain reaction leading to the jammed fuel element’s complete media exposure, largely due to a failure to understand the Streisand effect. Fortunately, its believed the damage to Man U isn’t serious and its suspected that officials may opt to simply remove the fuel element and place him in spend storage, once the natural decay cycle of lawyers has allowed things to cool down. But obviously there is a risk of a similar process now affecting the FIFA reactor.

Again local officials in Britain think that a repeat of this crisis can be averted by gradually reducing the flow rate of money into the UK football plants. They can then opt for a low-enrichment fuel cycle. “this will have numerous benefits” one boffin pointed out “the current setup is not sustainable, Britain cannot naturally produce these expensive and highly enriched footballers, we’re forced to import them from abroad, principally Brazil and Portugal, that’s not sustainable”. He added “also there is the amount of corruption the current fuel cycle generates, and the waste! Manchester and Liverpool are practically ringed by these large fenced off Mc Mansions where we’ve been forced to store the spent fuel from previous generations of teams, we’ll have to fence off half the home counties when the time comes to dispose of our current crop, that’s not sustainable!”