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October 2016
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Sex toy scandal dominates Euros along with a berserk Suárez, Arsenal transfers disrupted but MK signing, and the wrong hotel

By Tony Attwood

I am not enough of a cultural expert to know if it happens in other countries, but it long struck me that in England one of our prime pastimes is that of sneering and laughing at others.  We highlight their errors, and if they are not making errors we give them errors, pretending that whatever has gone wrong was their fault.  “If only I was in charge” seems to be the message, “I’d have this sorted out in a day.”

It was interesting to me that when Walter wrote his report about a few days spent in England with his wife Carine, how incredibly polite and kind people were to them at every turn.  That seems such a contrast to the way in which English people are portrayed in the media each day.

But in the media what we get is constant attacks on the value and behaviour of people around us, which leads to simplistic analyses of everything around us.  The focus is normally (but not exclusively) on individuals – we blame everyone else for everything that is wrong, and if we can’t identify a leader to blame only then do we seem only to blame organisations.

And because we are on a heightened nationalism alert (what with England, Wales and Northern Ireland all playing in the latest tourney, the newspapers in England are packed with such stories.

Take Super Victor for example.  According to the Guardian “Euro 2016 organisers face embarrassment of a different kind after it emerged their mascot shares its name with a popular sex toy.”

Now that is of course a huge, huge…. story and one that certainly requires bold headline treatment from a serious newspaper.   “Uefa is hoping for a sizeable income from merchandising featuring the Euro 2016 mascot” it tells us, without telling us if the association with the sex toy (shock horror it is available from Amazon) is actually reducing or enhancing the sales.

It turns out this is another of those things where governments and organisations like to ask the public their opinion, and then find it blows up in their face (like an inflatable sex toy I suppose, not that I am an expert on such matters).   Rather like finding that when Margaret Thatcher died, the great British public arranged that “The Witch is Dead” was number one in the charts.  Or asking the public to name a £200m research vessel, only to find the public decide to call it Boaty McBoatface.  This is, I must admit, for me just about the most endearing aspect of the British public, although I do wish they would carry it through to general elections.

Back with the football, one story that has to arise is that one of the Great British nations in the tournament (or failing that Ireland) has screwed up by booking a hotel where they will not be able to get a good night’s sleep.  This comes from our eternal desire to knock administrators (which is something I don’t like because I am the chair of the School of Education Administration and Management in the UK).

So we learn again from the Guardian “England’s footballers are facing the prospect of a sleepless night before their opening game against Russia on Saturday after being given a hotel directly opposite Marseille’s fan zone – and a beach party that will go on until the early hours involving up to 80,000 people.”

Well, at least we can blame the perfidious French this time.

But anyway – planning ahead – it’s not very… British, is it?  

However speaking of foreigners, Venezuela beat Uruguay in the Guardian Copa América Centenario to go through to the quarter-finals.   And wouldn’t you know, Luis Suárez, the old vampire himself, has been filmed totally losing his temper and throwing one of his boots on to the pitch after he was told he would not play a part in the game.

Even more bizarre Suárez could be seen warming up on the touchline in the second-half despite not being even being named as a substitute.  We are awaiting information on whether he actually bit the boot in order to keep up the tradition he launched at the 2014 World Cup, when he bit Giorgio Chiellini.  Uruguay had been named as one of the favourites.  Suárez has been named as a very naughty boy.

The size of this result (the Vens beating the Urus) can be seen from the fact that Venezuela did not participate in the World Cup until 1966, when they didn’t get a point.  In 1970 they got one point.  In 1974 they withdrew without playing a game and in 1978 they were back to their record breaking high of one point.  In 1982 they got their first win, and got their second in 1994 beating Ecuador.   In 1998 qualifiers their goalkeeper scored against Argentina and they failed to qualify for 2002 and 2006 world cups.  Now they are beating the Vampires.

Meanwhile, away from the international front, the papers are now certain that we are not signing the being known as “Vardy”. “Vardy ’80 per cent’ certain he will snub Arsenal” is the headline in the Independent, leaving readers to ponder exactly how one measures a man’s future decision making in percentage points.   Mind you the mood against Vardy seems so strong now I think he might have a hard time of it if he changed his mind, but the papers press on with (again from the Independent which amazingly has failed to latch onto the sex toy story), “Arsenal transfer plans face disruption over Vardy delay.”

The notion that Arsenal laid plans that just assumed Vardy would sign seems just bizarre – and to make that a fundamental assumption not even worthy of examination seems to remove the news organisation from the realms of reality.

(However since it is still running the Heathrow story Could this be Britain’s most expensive airport link? on its main football page as the lead story under “Bournemouth” suggests that perhaps it is not so serious after all.)

But of course it is all the fault of the dreadfully slow Arsenal administration.   On the other hand “Mkhitaryan nearing Arsenal switch as Wenger continues summer plans” has no worries about Arsenal’s ability to sign players.  And the Indy also goes with “Arsenal ‘plan to offer Bellerin new contract’ to fend off Barcelona.”   (I think that process is well under way, and on this occasion the Independent is just finding it hard to keep up).

The Telegraph, the paper that notoriously picked up on Untold’s piece revealing that England’s persistent failure in international games is due to a lack of quality coaches, and ran the full story a while after we’d done the research (without quoting us of course), is back with another Untold story.

Revealed: One in three players at Euro 2016 could play for another country

You may recall several pieces here where we have considered what qualifies a player for a country.  The list includes being born here (even if it is just during a stop over), having a parent or a grandparent who were born here, having a parent or grandparent who one way or another has a British passport, being born in the Channel Isles (not only not part of England, they are not part of the UK nor part of the EU), applying for nationality, (which in many cases means living in the country for two years…)

Still the Telegraph does have one amusing headline…

When Chelsea faced the music over their dismal treatment of Eva Carneiro, they folded quicker than their title defence

And one that is not at all unexpected

Zlatan Ibrahimovic transfer to Manchester United held up so striker can collect large loyalty bonus from Paris Saint-Germain

And one that is just utterly appalling

‘Isis, where are you?’ England fans ‘chant about terrorists’ amid Marseille clashes ahead of Euro 2016 opener against Russia.

And that’s more or less where the world seems to have got to this morning (or evening if you are in Australia).

Recent Posts

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16 comments to Sex toy scandal dominates Euros along with a berserk Suárez, Arsenal transfers disrupted but MK signing, and the wrong hotel

  • Leon

    “in England one of our prime pastimes is that of sneering and laughing at others.”

    It certainly is.

  • WalterBroeckx

    So the English press is better in finding sex toys with the same name as the mascot than in finding bad referee decisions… probably more important to them…

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    On the financial outlook of things at Arsenal in respect to their incoming transfers this summer, Mkhitaryan doesn’t look he’s an Arsenal singing, does he?

    If media report of his rejecting a new £6.4m deal by Dortmond is true, which translates to over £130k/w, how much then would Arsenal offer him for his wages to come to Arsenal?

    And besides, Mkhitaryan will be clocking 28 years old in January next year, which means he could only still play at the top level of the game for another 1-2 years before he may starts to regress in pace and form save if he’s specially gifted with stamina.

    And we don’t know what amount of money is in his release clause. But I believe Arsenal will know if at all he’s on their radar.

    With this Mkhitaryan’s exorbitant wages demand, I don’t think Arsenal will be ready to sign him. Therefore, on my 2nd thought, I am removing him on the list of my 4 guessed Arsenal incoming transfers in this summer which I posted on this site yesterday. That leaves me with, Granit Xhaka(done deal), Rod Holding(still in the pipe line) and of course Jamie Vardy(I suspect the deal is done, but delaying the announcement at the request of Leicester and Vardy).

  • Luvyourclub

    I really don’t see how that chant is appalling. There is a horrible threat from certain individuals to the Western world trying to scare us and live in fear. I find laughing at these people a great remedy and a help to get on with our lives or we’d never leave the house. They going to try to kill me and the rest of us so lets show them we don’t care. You try to scare someone and they laugh at you, you feel like you’ve failed. Don’t forget that through the 70s, 80s and 90s we had a threat in England from a cross the water. We’re used to it as a nation and with 7/7 as well, well chanting and mocking them is good thing. They not going to stop if we don’t.

  • Luvyourclub

    The stupidest question was someone asking Northern Ireland fans if they were scared and would they still go.

  • Leon

    I doubt if the “Vardy snub” story is true, but live in hope.
    Another blogger this morning has made a good point: that if France make it to the final [as expected] Giroud would be likely to end as the tournament’s top scorer. Some irony.
    Go Olivier!

  • Polo

    Suarez to Manager: Why not put me on, some of the opposition looks tasty.
    Coach: Not today son
    Suarez: BOOM BANG!!!

  • para

    Kante is the one AW wants i think, Vardy is not.

    At least this makes more sense to me, but what do i know.

  • I’m from N Ireland and yes it was a bloody stupid question to ask. We have to live through 30yrs of mindless terror so the ISIS threat we can deal with the stupid questions unfortunately we are used to as well.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Ten Guru mantras for a cool life:

    1. Money is not everything. There’s also MasterCard & Visa.

    2. One should love animals. They are tasty too.

    3. Save water. Drink on the rocks.

    4. Fruits/Salads are healthy. So leave it for sick.

    5. Books are holy. So don’t touch them.

    6. Don’t shout in the office . It disturbs those who are sleeping.

    7. Love thy neighbor. But don’t get caught.

    8. Hard work never killed anyone, but why take the chance.

    9. Why do something today when it can be done tomorrow. By someone else.

    10. Every one should marry because happiness is not the only thing in life.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ‘Life is too short to worry about what others say or think about you .
    So have fun and give them something to talk about .’

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Dear Abby,

    My husband is a liar and a cheat. He has cheated on me from the beginning, and, when I confront him, he denies everything. What’s worse, everyone knows that he cheats on me. It is so humiliating.
    Also, since he lost his job 14 years ago, he hasn’t even looked for a new one. All he does all day is smoke cigars, cruise around and shoot the bull with his buddies, while I have to work to pay the bills.
    Since our daughter went away to college he doesn’t even pretend to like me, and even hints that I may be a psyco.
    What should I do?

    Signed: Clueless

    Dear Clueless:

    Grow up and dump him. You don’t need him anymore! Good grief woman, you’re running for President of the United States!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Wife texts husband on a cold winter morning …. ‘Windows frozen ; won’t open.’

    Husband texts back , ‘ Pour warm water over it and gently tap edges with hammer.’

    Five minutes later wife texts back,’ Computer really messed up now !’

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ‘Our house has an open door policy – bring beer and we’ll open the door !’

    Its the same on UA – use your brain and we’ll all have a great time on here !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    News on XYZ TV : ‘Water and presence of whales and sharks discovered on moon by XYZ satellite .’
    News on BBC : ‘ Satellite launched by XYZ found in Arabian sea !’

  • Amit

    Hi Tony

    Quick Question?? asi have noticed seems like lot of your research and articles are being copied by a big newspaper dont you have a Copyright for this blog?? it is very sad when somebody else takes credit for your hard work and research which if i may add is very thorough and covers lot of crucial aspects of football.