IT must be great to be foreign. Not English I mean. I’ve spent the last month trying to explain why the British tabloids talk such nonsense about South Africa. Now we've started picking on ourselves.
Today, Fabio Capello learned what I’ve learned. The voracious English press has no morals, no limits. They just do what they want, doesn’t matter about the national need for a World Cup victory after 44 years of hurt.
As long as they can get another exclusive snap, a paper-selling exclusive, they will do anything. Just ask John Terry or Ashley Cole.
Today at the England’s luxurious Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus, England’s Italian Generalissimo finally lost it. He shouted at the endless clicking of the photographers, asking them: “WHY, WHY do you need to take a picture of the dressing rooms? WHY?”
His outburst came after the snappers had snapped at the heels of the England side as they went on a game drive in the neighbouring Pilanesburg Nature Reserve, the morning after a very mediocre performance against local club Platinum Stars at the local Maruleng Stadium.
Frankly, they were rubbish. They won 3-0 but nobody was fooled. Local coach Gavin Hunt, who has won the last three South African Premier League titles with Supersports United, described them as “rubbish”.
And poor old Fabio, attempting to get his lads to focus despite the threat of the tabloids – Ashley Cole, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Steve Gerrard all live in fear of the daily revelations – cannot escape the attentions of Her Majesty’s scribes. The FA called it a "gross invasion of privacy".
Here’s what Marc Aspland, the Times photographer has to say: “Yesterday’s problems can be traced back to Tuesday afternoon, when the England players went on safari.
“Capello got out of the wrong side of bed and I am sure it was a factor in what followed. A t the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus the hotel is a little way from another building where the players get changed before training. Normally the photographers line up outside and wait for the players and Capello to come out.
"Capello and his staff are usually on the pitch by the time we get set up because he is extremely punctual. But yesterday we got there first and could see through one of the windows that Michael Dawson was having a massage.
"When Capello came out of the building and saw all of our cameras pointing that way he assumed we were taking pictures of Dawson and lost his temper. It was a massive overreaction to the situation — none of us was taking any pictures. It was a proper, red-blooded, Italian rant.”
None of us was taking any pictures? A Times journalist who can’t even speak grammatical English. It’s appalling. Send them home. Let England’s players enjoy this tournament. Stop this hysterical madness.
Before a ball has been kicked, the other 31 nations at this World Cup have an advantage over England. Because they have a reasonable, decent media following. They want their nation to win this tournament. Already, Terry has lost the captaincy through the hysteria. Ashley Cole is a shadow of the man who became the best left-back in the world two years ago. Gerrard is under constant pressure.
Leave them alone lads. Help us to win the World Cup. Don’t mess Fabio and England’s finest around. The nation deserves better than a pack of jackals. You make me ashamed.
Video of the Capello rant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENNPo6AF1Loac