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Listening In To Alan’s Greenery


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Shorn of the dead easy access to England’s latest game, albeit through my own stubbornness not to give any money to Setanta, I was forced to listen to BBC Radio 5 Live commentary last night and suffered the insufferable Alan Green in all his self indulgent glory. Trying [and believe me I do] to avoid his weasel words is a bit like sidestepping a halfwit who thinks angry effrontery is an endearing trait. Recent football folk he has been angrily affronted by include JT and Frank, but his latest target is undeniably Fabio, who Capellos the lot by comparison.

An example of the current Green treatment dished out to JT would be his feigned astonishment at Ferdinand not being given the England captaincy, whereas Frank’s failure to play in the same midfield as Gerrard has to be down to the faults of the Chelsea player, due primarily to the fact that Stevie Me doesn’t have any. Both players were to feature in the evening’s entertainment, but it is the Green view on Capello that takes pride of place in my reprise as it sums up his myopic approach to the Italian and puts his other prejudices firmly in the shade…

Earlier in the morning he had told Radio 4 listeners not to expect too much from the contest, leaving everybody with the distinct impression that Fabio couldn’t be trusted in the job after seemingly force feeding the entire squad organic food before locking them away in their bedrooms until it was time to tell them who was playing. Such time, he seemed to be implying, was likely to be just after the singing of the national anthems and such was the level of his sniping you had to wonder how he would react if England put in a half decent performance or even scored the odd goal or four whilst he was on his shift.

Mercifully, Radio 5 listeners are not expected to pay homage to Alan Green’s pearls of wisdom for the full ninety minutes, so it was not until half way through the first half that we had the dubious pleasure of his company at the microphone. The first goal he described, supposedly with some justification, as lucky. We had Graham Taylor’s summarising to thank for this confirmation and he at least had the good grace to say that England deserved it, which was a bit of a turnip for the books. Green, on the other hand, would only admit to an initial desire to take a nil-nil and [steeped in the McClaren mentality] he would still be happy to go home with a point. Halftime duly arrived and, despite one ‘shocking’ defensive error by JT and ‘little that was constructive’ in midfield, the visitors were still on for a full three points.

By the time 5 Live’s senior commentator got back to the microphone again he was in damage [to reputation] mode as Walcott put the game out of reach of the Croats shortly after they were reduced to ten men. I’m still none the wiser how this happened because the radio listeners’ eyes and ears in the rotund shape of Alan Green ‘didn’t know what happened there’ either and so, quite frankly, what chance had any of us got when faced with such ineptitude. However, unlike his audience, he did have the benefit of a replay, plus Taylor shouting in his shell-like that ’Joe Cole is injured’, although the extent of blood loss was never mentioned, Green preferring to give us the benefit of years of bias by pointing out that ’he couldn’t see much that warrants a red card there’ and ’Cole just went over at the sight of it’ - presumably that was the excessive blood that he didn’t tell us about.

So, three up and coasting, I waited for some acknowledgement from Green that Capello had done a good job or at least exceeded his scant expectations of the man, but no, this guy doesn’t do contrition or humility. What we got instead was his way over the top reaction to Luxembourg beating Switzerland, as he hurriedly tried to mask the embarrassment he was feeling at the Italian’s vicarious success. To his credit, Graham Taylor admitted that he had been one of Capello’s fiercest critics, but must now accept that ‘he got it right here’.

Had this been some sort of an encouragement to Green to be more gracious it fell on deaf ears and not even a smooth move and disallowed goal from Frank could persuade him into penitence. Instead, having to say something as a follow up to the incident and swiftly acknowledging a good pass from Barry, he came up with ’any more of this and we shall have Barry in midfield and have to choose between Gerrard and Lampard for his partner’. Would this be the same Steven Gerrard who decided to give this tough encounter a miss? Would this be the same Steven Gerrard who, by his own admission, has only played in his rightful position for England on five occasions? Would this be the same Steven Gerrard who could now only justify returning to the side if every other member of the team went back with him to the straitjacket of a 4-4-2 formation? Sure as hell that ain’t gonna happen under Capello, but wouldn’t it be nice if people in a position to do so, people like Alan Green, actually had the courage to agree with that bleeding obvious truth and came out and said so in public.

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Nice post Dorset. Football on the radio can be quite enjoyable sometimes, but other time quite excruciating

Gerrard could have put his operation and ahead of his England career at his peril.

Fabio has the nerve to drop the big names, not including Owen in the squad and leaving Beckham on the bench goes some way to show that, calling Ronney over for a lambasting against Andorra shows he will not bend to player egos. Gerrard had better watch his step.

The Barry/Gerrad axis didn't really pay dividends away to Russia did it and his inclusion may now be seen to be the factor that disrupts Lampards freedom, rather than the other way round.

Lampard is a player who will carry out the manager's instructions, Gerrard tends to like having a side moulded around him or to play wherever he desires. How many times have you heard Rafa questioned on where Gerrard is best deployed, how many times has a Chelsea manager been asked the same thing about Frank?

Gerrard is now out of the side and Lampard is even silencing the boo boys.......long may it continue, and well done Frank!

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Capello is by no means the best manager in the world, but the bottom line is that his major detractors tend to be completely hopeless nitwits who want to cop him on things like "style" and "excitement".

Andorra was, by all accounts, not a very impressive outing, but Capello is a winner, no questions asked. And when he is wrong, he doesnt let his ego get in the way of things (the Beckham saga at Madrid as evidence) so I doubt he will ice Gerrard out of the side permanently. But in the long term, this is a manager who knows what he is doing and is rarely outmatched by anyone. I would take him to manage Chelsea everyday of the week and twice on sundays.

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