England losing sense of perspective?

March 29, 2007

Steve McClaren has finally lost patience with the media, the media have lost all respect for the coach and England fans are rapidly losing their tempers. 

What England have not done in the last week is lose a match. It’s easy to forget that when you see McClaren being so mercilessly hounded.

England played poorly against Andorra but a 3-0 victory, followed by a goalless draw in Israel on Saturday, leaves them in a decent position to qualify for Euro 2008.

McClaren was subjected to nasty abuse from the crowd at Montjuic on Wednesday and when he was asked about it at his post-match press conference the coach decided he had had enough. “Go ahead and write whatever you want,” he told reporters before walking out.

England coach McClaren looks on from the touchline

According to the Times, the atmosphere was so bad England’s substitutes were forced to retreat from the stands to the dressing room over fears for their safety. Yet there was little or no criticism of the crowd’s behaviour in Thursday’s newspapers and it was left to a thoughtful blogger at Soccerlens to give a different, less hysterical view.

So has England lost a sense perspective on this? The team are two points off the lead in Group E, in a similar position to Italy in Group B and Spain in Group F.

Roberto Donadoni and Luis Aragones have been under fire as well but they have not had to suffer anything like the abuse directed at McClaren.


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What irritates me is not Englands absence at the top of the group, but the misplaced sense of arrogance that England players have shown, and the celebrity worship that English fans – or at least the English media – display. Ok, perhaps the current situation is not a case of Pride Comes Before a Fall, but it’s definitely Megalomania Comes Before Mediocrity.

Posted by fiona | Report as abusive

Does no-one remember Euro 96 when English fans went on the rampage and slashed german cars and stabbed people with funny accents that they suspected of being German?

Posted by Skinny Indie Kid | Report as abusive

I have a great idea for choosing the next England manager. So that they have unwavering public support we should run a reality TV X-factor competition – with celebrity footballer judges and a public vote using a telephone voting system managed by a reputable supplier. The could even release a Christmas single, which we’d all dash out and buy.

Who should enter and who should be on the judging panel?

Posted by Welsh Goth | Report as abusive

The unfortunate thing is that people take their right of criticism too far (and for granted). McClaren and the England team deserve the same civility that we accord to other humans.

The hype-fueled rage that followed the half-time whistle was embarrassing to watch as a football fan. And this type of abuse is common across all grounds in the Premiership, but this time the supporters had turned on their own players in their greatest time of need.

Who is betraying who, exactly?

And mind you, criticism of the fans and the media does not exempt England at all – they are still doing things wrong, but that doesn’t mean that fans are untouchable or gods.

Posted by Ahmed Bilal | Report as abusive

To add to your final comments…

Aragones and Donadoni are getting the same roasting from the media. However, I don’t think the fans have turned on the team this badly.

Posted by Ahmed Bilal | Report as abusive

Lets face it, the appointment of McClaren was a rediculous decision. The guy has no real experience at international level and no pedigree. That said he is doing the best he can, but on the evidence to date it is not ggod enough.

It looks like the red top press, who unfortunatley the baying mass religiously follow, have decided between them to hound McClaren out so it’s a forgone conclusion he will go.

The responsibility for Englands sad performances is squarely on McClaren’s round shoulders. Accountability however is a different matter, and that lies squarely with the clowns who appointed McClaren. Mr Brian Barwick, it is time for you to fall on your sword.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

But who’s going to take over? Sam Allardyce, are you McClaren in disguise?

Posted by Rafa | Report as abusive

Welsh Goth, I think Terry Vegetables should record the single (see here for his past form http://youtube.com/watch?v=V1sPa3qKR50)
Anchorman? Bob Wilson, naturally.

Posted by Rafa | Report as abusive

Perhaps the new manager should be someone who’s actually won something, who knows what success feels like and fancies a bit more.

Posted by Welsh Goth | Report as abusive

To the Welsh Goth,

who, exactly, at the moment would you suggest should be a manager of England who has actually won something?

Are you suggesting the likes of Ferguson, Wenger, Mourinho would gladly take on the respoonsibility of shephering the sad individuals now classed as the England team? If, as you suggest, the only eligible England manager would not be an Englishman: an English manager has never won a premiership title (the highest award a manager can get without being involved in an knockout cup run).

Posted by the oldham owl | Report as abusive

Oldham, I think you’ve hit the naiil on the head. The top coaches are no longer interested in running their national teams. The top jobs are at the big clubs playing Champions League football. Look at England, Spain, Italy, Brazil –the coaches are all no marks. England should either be happy with what they’ve got (ie. a mediocre but largely inoffensive coach) or go all out for the absolute best in the business. I’m sorry to say it, but at the moment that’s Jose Mourinho.

Posted by Rafa | Report as abusive

Ahmed, I don’t know about Italy, but in Spain there is no way that the media criticism of Aragones is as great as McClaren has been subjected to. I wouldn’t exactly say people were thrilled with Aragones but the media accept he’s the one they’re going to have to deal with for a while and they don’t go over the top.

Posted by JJJameson | Report as abusive

That seething horde of England fans and the country’s ludicrously sensationalist press deserve each other.

Posted by irkthepurist | Report as abusive

I think the hype surrounding news on the English national football is that there are constant holes that are inevitable but to be reported (managerial mismanagement, bad attitudes, hooligan fans) aka lust for sensationalism and that is why the retail saga of the WAGS made sensational spotlights when there’s nothing very newsworthy about women shopping at Fendi. Anyone with fame and wealth can shop in Fendi.

Posted by DL | Report as abusive

I’d almost forgotten about the WAGs. irkthepurist says the fans and the media deserve each other. I’d say the players and girlfriends were made for each other as well. And it was quite a strain not using the word “meretricious” in any of that…

Posted by London | Report as abusive