England’s World Cup Heroes
The Fearless Intruder
The only bright spot for England’s embattled supporters on Friday was when the story broke that a supporter had battled his way into the dressing room to give the players a piece of his mind. The Sunday Mirror got the exclusive interview with the fan and the story was thrilling reading with 32-year-old Pavlos Joseph understandably basking in his sudden fame. It all began, Pavlos patiently explained, when he “needed the toilet” and was directed by a hapless steward straight into the England dressing room where he stumbled into David Beckham and a group of “half naked stars”.
The opening one-two given by Pavlos is fantastic -
Beckham – “Whoa, who are you?’
Pavlos – “I’m Pavlos and I actually need the toilet”.
At this point Pavlos sounds like he was attending his first meeting of Toilet Needers Anonymous but he regained his composure, looked Beckham “straight in the eye” and said “David, we’ve spent a lot of money getting here. This is a disgrace. What are you going to do about it?’” With Beckham stunned into silence Pavlos then “fixed the other players in his gaze” and “I told them, ‘That was woeful and not good enough’”.
Pavlos was led from the room by an FA official. There’s no mention in the article as to how quickly he then managed to find a toilet. Considering Beckham once had a football boot kicked in his face by his own manager in a dressing room, I imagine he probably got over it. On the other hand, Pavlos will be dining on this one for the rest of his life. And quite right too.
The Parrot And The Pigeon
Amongst hopelessly tenuous World Cup stories were two from The Sun. First up is Benji the parrot who’s owner Ruth Borrill had apparently taught to cheer on England, particularly through a call of “Come on Roo”. Accompanying the article is a video clip which shows the parrot squawking what could possibly be translated as “Come on Roo” but could just as easily be “Bindaroo” or even World Cup entrants “Cameroon”. “Benji has also learnt to squawk “Come on England” and “Goal!’” says the article, somewhat optimistically.
The same paper then blamed the draw with Algeria on a pigeon that had rested on Algeria’s crossbar and had been sent by a “witchdoctor” to protect the goal. Whenever a Western paper goes for the witchdoctor line with regards to Africa, they’ve really got to have their story watertight or it could stray into the consistently unsexy world of racial stereotypes. Luckily The Sun had this one locked down with a quote from a local Shaman who firmly stated “It could be someone supporting Algeria has visited a witchdoctor to put a spell on England”.
John Terry took pelters for his press conference but I’d humbly suggest the blame for his unfortunate one-mad stand lies elsewhere. Not that he deserves sympathy. Watching Terry’s performance was like standing in a garage forecourt wearily watching a used car salesman go through his repertoire of achingly obvious moves. The softened voice, the wry smiles, the occasional affected chortle and the laddish asides.
Of course he was talking not to the media but through them to “the fans”. By “fans” Terry revealed that he’d spent a couple of hours that morning reading people’s opinions in the “British papers”. It’s not a great leap of detection to assume that John Terry was therefore unsettling England’s entire World Cup bid after reading the online comments left by readers at the end of tabloid newspaper articles.
Specifically, these are areas of the Internet containing comments full of exclamation marks and cunningly misspelt swearwords, where the contributors seem to be consistent only in their endless bitterness – see the variations on “So what, they can afford it!” which will be attributed to a story of a celebrity who has had their hair dyed/lost a TV contract/suffered the deaths of their entire family in a horrific motorway pile-up.
These, then, are the people who drove Terry into his misguided attempt at a coup. He was but a puppet, a Lord Haw-Haw of our times to the tyranny of the furious Internet warriors. Maybe not a hero though, that might be a bit of a stretch. Hang on, I’ve just realised that the pigeon wasn’t really a hero for England either. So that’s Pavlos and the Parrot. They’re the heroes.Tagged in: england, john terry, neil forsyth, pavlos joseph, world cup
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