Something For The Weekend (174)
With his means of execution hanging around the necks of Christendom, I don't think many people underestimate the suffering of Jesus and even if, from his hand-picked posse of twelve blokes, there wasn't a single mensch amongst them; when it comes to suffering moaners long-term, Moses takes the Matza.
Spending the best forty years of your life leading a bunch of kvetchers to the promised land, seems no way to spend your retirement. Moses was Eighty when he took on the job - he obviously had a British pension - and boy did they wear him out. Even on a regular diet of quail and manna sandwiches, they still found plenty to kvetch about and he only had to turn his back for a moment and they were back to setting up idols and worshipping the golden calf, instead of sticking with the forty year plan. When Moses returned, he had to kick some serious arse to get them back with the programme and I bet he sometimes regretted giving up that nice quiet job in shepherding business.
Even then, I bet the kvetching never stopped and some were heard to say, 'Egypt wasn't so bad - give me frogs and locusts, I've had it with the quail'.
So it can be no surprise that after Villa's disappointment at the Cottage last week, the nudniks would come out of the woodwork and try and start a shemozzle, about how O'Neill is a schmo because he failed to sign one the legion of world stars, who were queuing round the block to join Villa. The kvetchers are like some hysterical Muter going meshugas because their kind is on the pot and won't make a plotz. Kush meer in tokhes. Tokhes oyfn tisch.
Oy vey - enough already.
It was almost predictable that Villa would come back from Fulham with bubkes, as Hodgson had added several inches and a few extra stone to his squad, while Villa had had their moorings to terra firma severely tested, by them having five players called up to Camp Capello. I think most of the fans were distracted by the flattery (it was totally amazing), never mind the players. By the time long-time absentee Jimmy Bullard, had created one goal and spectacularly scored the winner, there was a touch of the inevitable about it.
Okay, so Villa weren't great but they came as close as you can get to a scruffy draw - their usual fallback position on off-days. But with all sincerity, no one with a single sporting corpuscle in their body, on
consideration, could really deny Bullard his day in the sun, after his sixteen months absence with injury. And for the Villa lads it was a reminder of the pressure and distraction, which is part and parcel of plaudits and praise. One minute you are being told you are the dog's cahones and the next, someone is begging to differ. When you consider the sort of hype and exaggerated praise, players in the very best teams get, its amazing that they can play at all.
Just another of Kipling's impostors.
In the end, after all the blather and excitement only Gareth got to start in the team, while Ashley was handed the Brian Little award for his five minutes in the national shirt. And, for once, Villa's Mr Cool looked slightly nervous, as he waited to come on, and it kind of demonstrated how scary it has become, to wear that shirt in front of eighty thousand of England's finest kvetchers, who now boo where they used to sing.
Of course I was doing my own kvetching at home, as is unavoidable when watching England but I promise you I was not booing. I was more concerned with England's apparent inability to pass the ball, which tends to confound me more than playing it backwards to the goalkeeper. England were far from great but the new guy seems to have ditched the traditional politics of player power and privilege, which is very cheering. Beckham will obviously get his hundredth cap eventually but the whining from certain pros, gave the clue that there has been an undercurrent of grace and favour, running through the whole England set-up for too long: even if we didn't really need telling. More importantly, the absence of Owen made the strongest statement, because under all previous managers, that shirt was his for the asking, just as it was for Shearer before him, and that just wasn't right.
In fact the boy Shearer had one of his best games ever and showed quite a bit of promise with his statement, that if England fail under such a winning manager, then we need to start asking serious questions about the quality of the players. This was the first coherent and original opinion I have heard him utter, since he was handed the keys to the BBC's green room, and it seems all those hours preparing for his Newcastle interview are beginning to pay off. With Hansen inevitably slipping into the role of sex-god for the mature female viewer - the new Des Lynham - a place has opened up for another bloke's bloke, along side the uber-grumpy Lawro. Meanwhile, Ian Wright actually looks depressed, and I am not sure he is entirely happy, with having to tow the line and say things he just does not believe, about the new regime. Either that, or he is still traumatised by England's failure to qualify for the European Championships, this summer.
Change the football analysts, change the kvetchers and the kibitzers but they'll still struggle to find too much to rave about when it comes to the England team. England may have found themselves a new Moses to try and negotiate the laborious schlepp to the next World Cup but every Englishman will need the patience of Job.
As Yosser might say, 'Gissa Job'.