They Think It’s All Over…..For Blushes Sake,Thankfully!

Sports stars? The epitome of success, the poster-boys of a generation and the

embarrassment of a nation.

It has been a busy 72 hours in the world of sport, especially English.

I don’t want to sound like a gleeful Scot – i take no satisfaction from what ha

s taken place in recent times even if it is to the detriment of our supposedly fiercest rivals. I say supposedly because, for all intents and purposes, to be a rival that would insinuate a level of competitiveness and whilst Scotland fail to compete with England in lackluster times I refute the claim of rivalry.

It doesn’t stop me picking at their faults though.

Friday afternoon got the ball rolling straight away. The father of Wayne Rooney arrested on suspicion of match fixing. You couldn’t make it up really. The idea of match fixing sounds like possible the riskiest way to make money in modern-day sport. TV evidence everywhere, bookmaker regulations to notice the slightest betting irregularities and a scathing press. It is a risk many would be willing to take when it involves large sums of cash, but not one you would immediately sink to when your are in a position of wealth in the first place.

I do not know Wayne Rooney’s relationship with his father, but i know the relationship i have with my own. If i were earning cash in the figures of Rooney Jnr through excessive wages and sponsorship fees i am sure i would furnish my parents with all they would need . So is it therefore greed?

That subject alone is a disgrace to no one at present but the subsequent reaction towards Wayne Rooney was. Will he be mentally ok to play? Is it right to play him? Can he overcome his worries? – Those are the questions being repeated by every sports broadcaster in the country by Friday evening.

Many things would overcome my professional ability in life. Death in the family, financial concerns and even relationship worries. My father being arrested for a criminal act is not one of them. More to the point if i was to represent my country at the highest level, it wouldn’t cross my mind.

The protection offered to Wayne Rooney by the media was excessive.” Poor Wayne”, they cried. “How will he cope?”.

Along came Saturday night, one ridiculous kick to the Achilles of an opposition player and Wayne shouldn’t even be on the plane to Poland next summer. It’s a fickle world the media, one minute he deserves protection for his possible mental state. One mistake later and that’s it – over reaction of the century. Down with Wayne Rooney!

In my opinion, at least it was a mistake on the field of play. At least he was sober. At least he was representing a team that were on route to another major championship – a route that was carved out on the basis of many of his performances.

At least the Rugby boys know how to behave though right? Model professionals them boys! Martin JohnstonWorld Cup Winner as a player out to lead the boys to success in New Zealand.


It was as far back as September 11th now that Mike Tindall and his friends got the ball rolling on a drunken night out. Messing about in a pub with the locals in Queenstown. Aptly named as, if anyone in the England team should know to keep their head down, their nose clean and out of trouble it should be Mike Tindall. Better than any rugby player before him he should know the press attention and subsequent media circus that would ensue his lack of discretion on a night out. He is effectively a member of the Royal Family.  Although his previous convictions, both for drink driving, would suggest the man has absolutely no self-control when alcohol is involved. A shining example to all.

Then there was the bungee jumping, the indecent remarks to young female hotel workers and a £4,800 pound fine for Tuilagi’s mouth guard. Nothing seemed to be falling into place for Johnston and his boys on this trip, and wasn’t it documented.

Evening news headlines, front page of the tabloids not to mention extensive broadsheet coverage.  England’s world cup was falling apart at the seams, day by day, night out after night out. Then there was the Rugby itself.

A string of unconvincing displays in a group where England should have been rampant did little to dampen the flames of the burning English dreams. They won though,and a winning team always manages to keep the doubters at bay – at least for a while.

Sadly for England, the first real challenge that was put in their path on the field was met with a whimper. Another unimpressive performance and they were out. Home to England,but not before the final nail in the English Coffin.

That boy Tuilagi again. This time however, his actions are completely indefensible.

Martin Johnston had covered for his players throughout the tournament – blowing off steam he said, Unwinding, taking their mind off the rigours of a 7 week trip to the other side of the world to play they game they are handsomely rewarded for.

This time, even Johnston must be baying for the blood of the young Englishman for his idiotic attempt at ‘having a laugh’, lobbing himself from the local ferry into a harbour leading to his arrest and subsequent fine of £3000. Jumping from a sinking ship perhaps?

There was a time when Rugby players weren’t professional, and it wasn’t long ago. Tuilagi has been fined a total of £7800 during this World Cup so far( i say so far because at this stage there is still time before touching down in England, and at this rate – you would be a fool to excuse anything further).The amateur players who represented their country could be excused for a few pints here and there, they were amateurs – they certainly couldn’t afford exorbitant fines for stupidity. They represented their country with pride because that is all they got from it, not handsome remuneration.

Sadly for English fans, this tournament has felt like a cover version, a tribute to World Cup debacles past, perpetrated by England’s footballers.

An absence of class, on and off the field, is a familiar hallmark, as are unsavoury headlines,  moribund performances and then a quarter-final exit at the hands of the first decent opposition faced.

It is impossible not to feel some sympathy for Johnson, whose iconic leadership as captain the Rugby Football Union hoped to exploit as coach, but this is an experiment that has failed.

What has failed more than anything is the professionalism of sportsmen. Again and again a nation expects, a media frenzies and for what? Another letdown at the hands of supposed professionals.

Being a professional is about much more than being paid, it is a mentality and a way of life. If a professional Rugby player cannot manage an 8 week stint at the very top of the sport without a night out then they shouldn’t be there in the first place as they are clearly not professional enough to merit the title.

Even worse, if a professional player cannot go on a simple ferry ride and act like a civilised human being then he shouldn’t be playing the game at all, and that is what should be done. A young man or not, he should be made example of – a shining example to all future rugby stars that representing your country with such a lack of discipline, class and decorum  should result in abolition of your tenure as a national representative.

Lessons won’t be learned however, they never are. Todays news is tomorrows chip wrapper as they say, or at least it was until over zealous health and safety had their say. An initial rumble will be felt, but nothing of Christchurch proportions. The landscape will not be altered,even if the evidence is damning enough – it’s business, names mean more than reputation.

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