Friday, January 05, 2007

Heros to zeros...

There will be a phone call this morning, made from the ECB (English Cricket Board) to a bus company somewhere advising them that they won't be needing the open topped bus for the victory parade through London, but do they have a plain white one with blacked out windows instead ?

Yes, once again a sporting team have left these shores and travelled to Australia for a damn good thrashing in the sport of their choice - pick a sport, any sport, and the chances are that the Australian nation will beat an English team at it - style and fashion sense is probably the only thing that we are better at but claiming to have more style than a nation who still prefer to wear long socks and shoes with shorts is not exactly the pinnacle of styledom.

Truth is, we don't really give a toss about sport in this country.

Sure, the press do, but thats only because newspapers have one or two back pages to fill every day.

We give a toss when one of our team wins, when the England RU team returned from Australia after winning the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup they had an open top bus tour through London that attracted between 1 and 10,000,000 spectators, depending on which newspaper your read (newspapers are notorious at picking crowd figures out of thin air, especially at rugby union events), and most of those spectators stood on a London pavement as the bus passed, cheered, hurray'ed, waved a flag, then asked "who are they then ?"

Likewise when the England cricket team beat Australia in this country 16 months ago, an open topped bus drove them through the streets of London where the same 1 to 10,000,000 people (newspapers are notorious at picking crowd figures out of thin air, especially at cricket events), cheered, hurray'ed, waved the same flag that they'd saved from the RU event two years previously, then asked "is this the rugby team then ?"

So the post mortem begins and on the BBC Sports web site we have a long list of perfect excuses ...

Englands captain Michael Vaughan was absent through injury
England bowler Simon Jones was absent through injury
Englands Marcus Trescothick was absent through stress, poor love
England didn't prepare properly for the test series, they only had two years notice of the games
England bowling coach Troy Cooley left the squad
England video analyst Time Boon left the squad
England medical officer Dr Peter Gregory left the squad
England bowler and captain Freddie Flintoff hasn't played much cricket recently
Englands Ashley Giles hasn't played all year, but did in the test series
Englands two wicket keepers were, erm, crap
England were too complacent

...and thats just from one small web page.

I would also like to add my own excuses...

It was the wrong type of grass
It was too sunny
You can't expect our cricketers to play right through the day in perfect weather conditions
None of the test matches were interrupted by stoppages for rain or bad light
Its bad sportsmanship to beat your opponents every time you play them
Australians are very boisterous
We don't care anymore

Today the newspapers are full of "How crap are the England cricket team" reports, tomorrow it will all be forgotten and football will take over the back pages again, and in two years time when Australia play England again the newspapers will pretend to be interested and mention the 2005 test series win by England and ignore this defeat and a bus company somewhere will receive a call from the ECB to ask if they have an open topped bus available "just in case - and how much notice of cancellation do you need ?".

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