As the gamblers amongst us ready ourselves for a two-game week of international action with the sportsbook reviews, a chaotic week for England comes to an end. Along with Roy Hodgson’s ill-fated London Underground journey to the Emirates, we’ve had the announcement of a new squad for World Cup qualifying and all the nonsense that comes with it.
There has already been endless criticism of the Football Association’s dealing with the two Premier League racist abuse cases that are both now a year old. Too much of this criticism has been dictated not by what was said or not said, or what the evidence was, but by the colour of the shirts worn by the players involved. But former FA chairman Lord Triesman has had his say this week, arguing that John Terry should not have played for England while his case was pending.
Kevin Nolan for England? It’s a view that hasn’t really been aired for a while but Nolan’s impressive start to the Premier League season with West Ham United has got Hammers fans talking again. His team-mate, Matthew Taylor, argues his corner in quotes published by Vital West Ham United that Nolan’s record as a goalscoring midfielder is up there with the best.
But it is Hodgson who just can’t stay out of the headlines this week. For one thing, he’s been knighted in Finland, which is no mean achievement. He “has been honoured with the Knight, First Class, of the Order of the Lion of Finland” for his work with the Finnish national team, where he was head coach for most of 2006 and 2007, during which time they achieved their highest ever FIFA World Ranking.
Unfortunately, Hodgson’s error of judgement in engaging with a mature conversation with members of the public has somewhat overshadowed Hodgson’s week, with the newspapers going all out today to slaughter him as mercilessly as possible. Thankfully, Yahoo! Sport was on hand to give them a kicking right back.
And, for what it’s worth, the FA has just released the written reasons for Terry’s ban.