The camel-coated brigade



The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch rubber - in case you thought optimism was dead.

After another ‘mediocre’ display against the Welsh, the tabloid press, once again, have the knives sharpened ready to plunge them deep into the heart of English football. 

Erickson (if you believe the hype) is little more than a charlatan, devoid of ideas, lacking in tactical know how, and a puppet whose strings are firmly controlled by Beckham, Gerrard and the like. According to Martin Samuel et al. England have little or no chance at next years world cup. Erickson is a hindrance, too many players are in the ‘comfort zone’ and when it matters, when it REALLY matters, Sven doesn’t know how to rouse the troops. 

Admittedly,  is no Winston Churchill, he does appear to lack charisma and it’s unlikely he’ll ever instigate an ‘up and at ‘em’ battle cry in the dressing room. However, in the age of the multi-millionaire premiership footballer, Sven’s calm, methodical, ‘ice cool’ approach is still precisely what is needed to take England to world cup glory in Germany next year. 

Explain to me how bellowing at David Beckham and his £50 million fortune can lead to anything other than ‘F$£K you Sven’? Tell me how throwing tea-cups at Wayne Rooney will result in little more than young Wayne giving him a slap? E-mail me now, and let me know just how you think a more ‘Charismatic, assertive manager’ could possibly extract another drop of sweat out of Steven Gerrard? 

Sven’s approach may appear casual, it might look ‘laid back’, and on five million quid a year and being Swedish it’s easy to say ‘He doesn’t care’. But He does. 

Men like Erickson don’t reach the top in their chosen profession and think ‘Ah well, that’ll do me’. He’s desperate for England to win the biggest prize in football next year just like we all are (the English amongst us that is!). He knows if he does it, he’ll acquire something even money cannot buy…immortality. 


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Games Room

Sven’s dilemma however, and the subsequent attack by Samuel et al. isn’t helped by one minor detail, a detail no England Manager for 30 years at least has ever had to contend with before, the common consensus is the England team practically DOES pick itself. 

Anyone, from the playground to the pub can name Beckham, Gerrard, Lampard, Owen , Rooney, Ferdinand, and Cole as being absolute certainties in any three lions line up. Right? Throw in Neville, Robinson, an on his game Campbell, Terry, Wright-Phillips and Joe Cole, and you have a 13 as good as any. Right? 

Defoe, Carragher, and Hargreaves make up the 16 and anyone else will be lucky to get a kick, right? ….. Wrong. The beauty of Erickson is that his selections are SO spot on that it APPEARS easy. He makes it look like what he’s doing is obvious and that ANYONE can do it. 

The following is a list of England players (in no particular order) selected by managers in the ‘pre-Erickson’ era. Terry Fenwick, Keith Curle, Neil Ruddock, Chris Powell, Seth Johnson, Geoff Thomas, Andy Sinton, Michael Ricketts, Paul Warhurst, Ruel Fox, Barry Venison, Michael Gray, Michael Ball, Shaun Teale, David Bardsley, Kevin Richardson, Jason Wilcox, Steve Guppy, Earl Barrett, John Scales, Dennis Wise, Tony Dorigo, and Carlton f***ing Palmer. 

If the England mangers job is so easy, explain that little lot? Yeah granted Erickson has dropped the odd bollock with James, Heskey and the like, but when push comes to shove he picks pretty much the EXACT team that most of us would in his shoes. 

In my years as an England fan I’d yet to witness any thing other than heart break against Germany and Argentina. I could scarcely remember a qualifying campaign where the cigars were out half way through it. It was rare that a ‘bad performance’ would result in a clean sheet and a win. 

I can NEVER remember facing Brazil and genuinely feeling we were on equal terms. Until that is, Erickson entered Soho . Keegan, Robson, Hoddle, and TAYLOR all made some shocking selections that had even the most experienced pundit scratching his head in disbelief. (Lets not even mention Howard Wilkinson).

Erickson is the most astute manger England have had for a long time, yet STILL he’s crucified after every game. In any other profession, when a man makes his task look blindingly obvious, easy, that a child could do it, we respect his ability for making it LOOK that was. Yet with Sven he chastised no matter how simple he might ever hope to make managing England look. 

England WILL win the world cup in Germany next year. Furthermore, they’ll do it BECAUSE of Sven Goran Erickson, not in spite of him. He’ll get no credit, the hacks will say it was EASY because of the team he had at his disposal, and move onto chastise which ever mug picks up the chalice after the Swede. 

I’m glad England got knocked out by Brazil in 2002. Not because I didn’t want England to win, but because if we had won the world cup that year, it would have been because ‘it was the worst German/Argentinian/Italian side ever’, ‘the teams who made the quarter finals were poor’ or other such rubbish spouted from the back pages. 

Sven Goran Erickson will lead England to world cup glory next year at the second time of asking, and he’ll be better of for it. 

The trouble with doing something first time around, is that nobody appreciates just how difficult it was’. 


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