Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It's not the winning Roy!

Those who doubted the appointment of Roy Hodgson as manager of England will have been relieved to hear him describe the defeat by Italy as a "victory, but for the goals."
In doing so he followed the long and honourable tradition of England managers dating back to the foothills of time - spoilt only by Sir Alf Ramsey who clearly forgot to read the script.

Certainly in the 48 years since the 1966 mistake, successive leaders of the national team have remained resolutely on message.
Dunkirk has been dug up every four years to describe the spirit in which our boys have tried, and failed, to match Bobby Moore and his boys.

And Roy had the shovel out again as he honoured all his predecessors with his post-match analysis leaving England to go to bed bemused and Scotland to stay up to celebrate.
So it was only on Monday morning, when the heroic headlines were being digested, that thought could be given to the existential meaning of Roy’s ramblings.

The public prints not devoted to England’s singular victory revealed that the mind of the nation’s other leader, David Cameron was not fully taken with matters Brazilian.

In fact the Prime Minister was, at this time of national pride, out scouring the country for the essence of Britishness.

Once found, he intends to have it bottled and served chilled with school dinners.

So what, you ask, is the connection between Roy and Dave? The answer is, of course, Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

It was he who, when setting up the modern Olympics, declared it was not the winning but the taking part that counted.

It is surprising that the England manager at the time did not seek to copyright the sentence but events over the past half century prove it’s never too late.

Even now Roy could have it tattooed on his chest to be revealed if we have the same success with Uruguay that we had with Italy.

The problem with the World Cup, of course, is that if you don’t win you can’t take part.

But come Friday it could be free for Dave to annexe for use in Iraq and Syria not to mention Scotland - and we won’t.