So we’re now into our amateur close season while the big pro games are yet to come. What will we do why we wait. I suppose we could watch more hockey; baseball will kick in (excuse the pun) soon full-time; we could always wait for the Denver Nuggets to win a basketball game away from home; Michael Jordan’s next comeback is due; or I imagine we could practice some more and prepare for the summer season. There’s none of us getting any younger. Next season we’re going to be better. Where have I heard that before? What does a soccer pro do between seasons? Rest first, then think and prepare to play again, bigger and better.
What about England and King Kev. It’s been said that the caretaker must become the headmaster. The pressure intensified last night after Sweden’s’ 1-0 away win over Poland strengthened their grip on Group Five in the battle for Euro 2000. This leaves the distinct possibility of England finishing no better than second place and facing a two-legged play-off in November to reach the finals in Holland and Belgium. With four games remaining each, the Swedes have a 100% record and can even afford to lose at Wembley and still top the Group. This would place England in a farcical position of bringing in a new coach for the play-off matches. Watch for whatever offer it takes to “convince” King Kev to “do the right thing.”
David Beckham wasn’t satisfied merely upsetting the soccer world last year and presumably feels that he hasn’t got enough bad press yet. Perhaps he subscribes to the view that there is no such thing as bad publicity. His latest PR fiasco/stroke of genius sees him taking on the Church in a controversy sparked by his embarrassing front cover photo-shoot of Time Out magazine. Church leaders are embarrassed by it, the Board at Old Trafford and manager Alex Ferguson are embarrassed by it, even the English FA (if it’s possible to embarrass them any more) but of course David Beckham is not. The picture’s theme depicts ‘The resurrection of David Beckham’ astonishingly wearing all white robes and three crucifixes. Needless to say, it is no coincidence that it hits the shelves at Easter time. Now you can sure cross a ball David, but you are not Jesus. When you learn how to cross the ball and be at the far post to head it home at the same time, then perhaps consider camera, lights, and action.
From the it’s a funny ol’ world category, Newcastle were last night told they had qualified for Europe as FA Cup winners – despite the fact that they do not play their semi-final until Sunday week. The ridiculous situation was ratified by UEFA – England’s three places in the new competition will go to the team finishing fourth in the Premiership, the Worthington Cup winners and the FA Cup holders. But Spurs are already qualified by virtue of their Worthington Cup triumph over Leicester. UEFA assumes (rightly) that the other semi-finalists Arsenal and Manchester United will finish in the top four. That just leaves little ol’ Newcastle. It must be nice to know you won the cup before you qualified for the final.