FA Shambles, Dodgy Bookies and Lame Excuses

I was out with some media people last Friday afternoon, in a lively pub packed with Slovenian supporters, and one of them asked me if I was going to blog about the World Cup. I could write about how Americans just don’t seem to get how to publicly support their national soccer team. However, why would I do anything further, however small, to damage our special relationship?


It seems to me that everyone has a view on the World Cup, whether they know anything about football or not and let alone if they have any interest in the game. So here are a few of my observations.


Are the FA run by committee. Is there one individual running the shop? Do they have any expert PR advice, or do they just not listen to it? I ask this because what is the benefit to anyone of the leak on Sunday “they expect Fabio Capello to resign as manager if England doesn’t reach the last sixteen.” Some people believe the team are a bunch of overpaid egotists who don’t have the lion-hearted passion demanded when playing in the England shirt. Even if that is only partly true and if Capello is as unpopular with the squad as widely reported, this has huge potential risk. Some players could be less motivated to play the game of their lives on Wednesday against Slovenia. If they don’t win and get knocked out at least they lose old misery guts. A cynic like me might say the FA’s stance shows they are most concerned with their own image, and jobs, and are clumsily preparing us to believe they be can proactive in taking steps to move on. What a shambles.


Are we really supposed to believe there is any sincerity in Wayne Rooney’s apology for his pop on camera to booing fans at the end of last Friday’s shocking team performance? The prepared statement doesn’t use sentence structures and a vocabulary apparent in his previous interviews. Perhaps his hours of boredom in South Africa have given him time for reflection and he has become a thoughtful and articulate fella.


Hyundai missed a great opportunity last Friday to big-up their sponsorship of ITV’s World Cup coverage. We all know England’s opening game in HD was marred by ITV cutting to a Hyundai commercial just as Steven Gerrard scored England’s only goal to date in the competition. Why didn’t Hyundai re-edit their TV commercial to run in last Friday’s game, potential to be seen by 19m viewers? The new version would have started as usual but inexplicably cut to footage of Gerrard scoring that goal. Perhaps Lucozade Sport as joint sponsors could have done it instead. I bet that would have made a great story.


There is no point betting on World Cup football. The odds offered by bookies don’t match the statistical chances of bets they market most, even taking into account their need to make a profit. I saw a board outside a betting shop today offering punters the chance to win £25,000 for a £1 outlay if they successfully predict the scores in just 8 games. I got my slide rule out and did the only maths I can do, simple. Even if you just had to pick the outcome win, lose or draw in 8 matches, odds would be 6,561 to 1 against you winning. If you had to predict the actual scores, the odds become staggering. Look at the permutations even if results could only be with a maximum of 2 goals scored by any one team. There are 9 possible outcomes per match. The odds against being right over 8 games are over 43 million to 1 against. If you fancy a bet, put your quid on the National Lottery, odds of winning only 14 million to 1. Good luck.


Lastly, two lame World Cup excuses.


The new ball is a problem. I can’t remember the last major tournament when the ball wasn’t a problem for our players. It didn’t seem much of a problem for Brazil’s goal-scorers on Sunday or a rampant Portugal’s seven goals yesterday. There’s been some cracking saves too. I don’t remember seeing any goals let in where the ball moved unexpectedly, in the air at least.


Capello refusing to announce the team to anyone, squad members included, until two hours before the game. Every fit England player in South Africa should be fully prepared and psyched-up prior to every game, they could get called on at a moment’s notice and that’s what they’re there for.


Enough ranting; next week back to Outdoor advertising


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    Ivan ; may i beg to differ on World Cup Betting?

    There is a point in Betting but keep it simple. Do not do conditional bets ie Argentina to beat Greece tonight 5-2 with Messi scoring the first goal. The odds will look attractive but this involves 3 bets; Argentina to win , Messi to score the first goal and the final score; the more conditions , the harder it becomes.

    The way to make some money is to keep it simple ie back the favourites in a straight win; you won’t win much but you will still win something.Well that’s the theory.