— by Alan Gibbons, Blue Peter Book Award Winner
The Alan Gibbons books are like FEVER PITCH, JR. A boy. A girl. Liverpool. Manchester Utd. Romeo. Juliet. In track suits. I love these books because of Gibbons application of “Grammar B”, a writing style that flies in the face of traditional grammar. I love how he uses fragments, interjections, punctuation. That especially. He uses punctuation to create an arpeggio of emotional chords. It looks so simple, but any writer worth the title knows he must have worked it out the way Beethoven worked out the final movement of the Ninth Symphony.
These books are close to my heart because I lived so many of the moments, both personal and soccer-related. England’s shambolic last minute fumble against Romania in Euro2000. (To this day, my parents still don’t understand why I was yelling at the TV.) Beckham’s tragic spleen venting at World Cup 98. Michael Owen! Phwooooaaaarrrr! Michael Owen. Oooooh, he’s GOR-GEOUS! His sexy smile and big brown eyes on a cover were guaranteed to sell millions of copies of magazines like 442 and Shoot! He’s just so feckin’ hot!
But the dodgy hamstring. The silly crisps commercials. The disastrous year at Real Madrid. Joining Newcastle to work with Alan Shearer (scored pots of goals, but could bore for England) who then retired. Collapsing like a house of cards at World Cup 06. I think he had a vision of what was up the road against Portugal, so his knee did him a favor.
ENGLAND 2 — CROATIA 3
It’s official. Michael Owen is so over! My heart is breaking. He puttered his way to the top…then stumbled his way out. That whole generation of academy players is OVER. Rooney. Lampard. Owen. Neville brothers. (Not the singers, DUH!). Scholes. BECKHAM. That’s it. They’ll be too old for World Cup 2010. They couldn’t even crash and burn out of Euro2008. They played like a bunch of new-boys who just met that afternoon. Croatia outplayed them, out-strategized them, BEAT them! They looked HUNGRY. England looked confused and dumb. There was no back four to be found, just a bunch of white shirts who don’t know how to think on the pitch. They deserved to lose. And now they don’t get to go to the big alpine party next summer.
And the British media is making sure no one wants the England job. They really are quite repulsive. Who will save England now? She can’t even save herself. Don’t even get me started on how boring and creatively stunted English managers are. They are like the hillbillies of Europe at this point. NONE, repreat, NONE of the British teams made Euro’08. Not Wales. Not Scotland. Not Eire. Not Republic of Ireland. Not ENGLAND!
Let the finger-pointing begin. And John Terry was kind enough to get it started. Way to go, dude. You didn’t even play in the game.