After England was eliminated in penalty kicks by Portugal in the quarterfinals of the 2006 World Cup, few supporters were sad to see Sven Goran Eriksson quickly dismissed as national team coach. Probably the only people sad in Merry Olde to see him go were newspaper/tabloid writers, because the dapper Swede was a treasure trove for comedy. Whether it was his affairs with Football Association secretaries or getting duped by a fake Arab sheik, Eriksson was a comedy writers's delight -- imagine what kind of guffaws Jay Leno's crack staff of writers could have pulled off.
Since Eriksson took over as head coach of the Mexican national team earlier this year the funny headlines of trickled to a stop, that is, until today when a report filed in the Daily Mail by executive director of the FA David Davies revealed how Eriksson wanted to naturalize a slew of Premier League players to play for England.
"'I like Carlo Cudicini,' Sven told me, an opinion which led to very serious consideration being given within Soho Square to recruiting Chelsea's Italian keeper. However, our goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence was particularly concerned, insisting to Sven it would destroy our keepers.
'Can you also find out about Steed Malbranque, Edu and Louis Saha?' Sven asked me. I wasn't sure what the public reaction would be to an Italian, a Brazilian and two Frenchmen coming into the squad, but I did Sven's bidding. However, all my discreet enquiries to clubs and agents led to nothing. Miraculously, the moment our interest became known, Saha and Edu were called up by their own nations, making them ineligible.
Okay, try to wrap your head around this stuff. The Cudicini idea isn't all that terrible, considering that at the time No. 1 Paul Robinson turned out to be a disaster. Currently their are rumblings that England will try to adopt Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia (with mustache) since he's never played for Spain.
Yet the other names? Yeah, Steed Malbranque might be the coolest sounding name the Premier League, but he's nothing more than a middling player, same for Saha and Edu who are quality, but hardly worth adopting into the Three Lions set up.
The moral of this story, as always, is that it's fun to laugh at how the England team can't get out of its own way.