Oh. My. God.
Last night I blogged about Sven-Goran Eriksson’s boast that he would leave quite England if they won the Cup in Germany.
This morning (I’m on US Pacific time and it’s 6:30 here), I finally read the entire blockbuster News of the World story about Eriksson’s situation.
Okay, so in essence, the “News of the World” — known in the pages of “Private Eye” as the “Screws” — pulled a massive scam on SGE, having a reporter pose as a rich Arab and flying the manager and his business advisors to Dubai on the pretext of seeking their advice about establishing a football training school. In the course of two days of wining, dining and cruising, SGE:
1) Declared that he was more or less through with England even though he’s got two years left on his contract
2) Told the phony sheikh that he could buy his way into Aston Villa and then hire SGE as manager for 5 million pounds per year
3) Offered to (illegally) contact David Beckham and lure him to Villa
4) Slagged off on a number of his England players, including Michael Owen and (and we have to wait till next week for the full details) Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand.
The “Screws” spent six months — and who knows how much money — on this trap and ran it as a seven-page exclusive this morning, with lots of incriminating photos. The web site even includes video of some of Sven’s more outrageous boasts.
Anyone besides me thoroughly sickened?
On the one hand, SGE has every right to hear out job offers from anyone else (and, in fact, he’s already sized up jobs at ManU and Chelsea, hasn’t he?).
On the other hand, this is going to shatter the confidence of the players, the FA and many fans in his leadership — and, let’s face it, not too many ordinary supporters love the guy to begin with.
On paper, England has the talent to challenge for this cup.
But I think SGE just burned up some of that paper.
The questions, then:
1) Has he done irreparable damage to himself and his team?
2) Is five months before kickoff too soon to replace him?
Ah, England: Never dull…..
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