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Written the day after England got knocked out of the World Cup
 
After mature consideration we have decided not to award the title "Wanker of the Week" this week.
 
We thought long and hard about giving the award to a certain young footballer who distinguished himself by getting sent off yesterday, thereby contributing, probably, to England's sad defeat by a boring, unimaginative and totally undeserving Portuguese team in the World Cup.
 
But when you think - really think, that is, not just go off half-cocked like most of the newspapers - the boy Wayne wasn't such a wanker, was he? Granted, he lost his self-control and certainly did play recklessly and dangerously. Sven didn't argue with the referee's decision, and nor can we. But put yourself in the boy's boots
 
Here you are, a young bloke barely out of your teens, playing on the greatest footballing stage in the world with the eyes and hopes of millions pinned on your back. Your injury has healed and at last you can put all the press speculation about your fitness behind you and get on with the job you do so well and which everyone expects you to do so well. You're part of a strong side - some say the best England side for decades - and every other team in the tournament is looking perfectly beatable with a bit of luck. This bids fair to be a great day for you. And what happens?
 
You're stuck out the front on your own, the Portuguese goal yawning in front of you just begging to be violated - and half the time nobody gives you the ball! And when they do, you're instantly pounced on by a couple of defenders who swarm round you and barge you off the ball if they can. If you get away from them, there's nobody to pass to. And all the time you know full well that the wily Swede's going to take you off during the second half and put the child Lennon on instead - or worse still, the infant Walcott (or even worse than that, a strange hybrid sort of creature, half man and half giraffe).
 
Well, you think, sod this for a game of soldiers. If it's not working the way Sven planned, I'd better try something else. If the buggers won't give me the ball, I'll bloody well go and get it! So that's what you do. Trouble is, the dastardly Portuguese are so terrified of what you might do, you're heavily outnumbered half the time and once again if they can't take the ball off you they do their best to barge you off it. Finally, frustrated, bruised and battered by three of them you lose your cool and let your boot go where no boot should. Shock, horror, red card, you dreadful criminal, England loses, it's all your fault .
 
Football is a young man's game. David Beckham's only 31 and we're all wondering how much longer he can last - he's starting to look a bit fragile, frankly. If the boy Wayne wasn't a famous footballer, he'd probably be out on the piss and getting into fights of a Saturday night. He doesn't exactly strike you as a deep and educated thinker, does he? So why do we expect him to be so mature all of a sudden? Just what did we expect him to do when surrounded by three belligerent foreigners all doing their best to knock his lights out - stand aside, bow slightly and say "After you, old boy. It's just a game, after all, don't y'know"?
 
No, not this Grumpy Old Sod. You were a bit of a tosser, Wayne, but you don't merit an award from us. You were just cross, weren't you, because they kept picking on you? We can relate to that. We understand. We're pretty cross ourselves.
 
The GOS says: But it's all right, we mustn't be too upset at being knocked out of the World Cup, apparently, because some unprepossessing Scottish youth has beaten the Wombles at ping-pong or something .
 
and A*** L***** says: How many of your readers can relate to the hardship of earning 130,000 per week? I bet 99% of the population would happily be picked on for this income. If he doesn't like it, he should resign and get an anonymous job earning 6.50 per hour in the local supermarket.
 
The GOS says: Good point. Just been reading in the paper that Tom Cruise got $100 million for "War of the Worlds" and $50 million for "Mission Impossible III". Fairness, equality and world poverty apart, how the hell do you spend that sort of money? My dreams run out after a new Merc and six weeks in the Seychelles, which wouldn't make much of a dent. Mind you, Mrs.GOS could probably have a pretty good stab at it ....

 

 

 
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