5 June 2007

"Fredalo" incident

Michael Vaughan has given an interesting interview to The Guardian where I think he probably gets quite close to the truth of why England came 5th in the World Cup rather than make it any further. Of course, the fact we were ranked lower than that going into the tournament gave a good indication that 5th was as good a result as we could expect, but really only Australia and South Africa were fancied prior to the tournament and England were no doubt eyeing up a semi-final place at least.

According to Vaughan, the "Fredalo" incident left the England players afraid to go out, and a lot of pressure within the camp. He and Duncan Fletcher also felt under pressure and this transmitted itself to the players who played without freedom. All team sports do require a bit of spirit to build up for a team to be successful, however that is done. It's just a shame that one incident where a few players drank too much meant that the players were worried to have a few social drinks - presumably they knew from their media training that were they to be photographed with a drink in their hand that would be in the English papers. (You should have seen how worried Monty Panesar was when I approached him in a bar in Malaysia before the Ashes tour!)

Once again the English press have managed to damage our chances of doing well in a sporting event. Yes, it's mostly down to the players etc. But, as Clive Woodward showed at the 2003 Rugby World Cup, there's a lot of peripherals that influence things - Woodward and his team got all those peripherals right to such an extent that England won that World Cup without even playing well. Remember Svengate (which one I hear you ask?!) - when The News of The World ran a story about Sven slagging off certain members of the England football team just before the last World Cup? How could that possibly help us win the World Cup? And then you have the Cricket World Cup where the players were forced into a siege mentality....

If the press could put England's success before getting a scoop, we might increase our chances of winning something just a little, but the chances of that happening are low to say the least.


Peter Lamb said...

Whilst the UK press has much to answer for, I really don't think you can blame it for recording incidents such as fredalo in such a way as to sell more of their newspapers. The only way to avoid such stories is for no newsworthy incidents to take place (and even then the press may make something up).
It has to be up to today's well-paid professional sportsmen (and women) to exercise a modicum of self-discipline and to try to optimise their performance when representing their country. No one expects them to abstain from alcohol altogether throughout an (excessively) long tournament, but they should be mature enough to know when to stop.

Ed said...

I'm not denying that the players drank too much the night of the "Fredalo" incident. But only in England would the players then be scared to be seen with a drink in their hands and have to stay in because of the press.

The issue is that the British press will zero in on whatever they feel will make a story, and that comes far ahead of England sports teams doing well....this is, in my opinion, harming England's chances of winning anything in all sports.

Take the example of "Big Phil" Scolari in football - he declared he wasn't interested in managing England almost before the FA had a chance to interview him because his family were being pestered for stories....I can't imagine that England would be struggling to qualify for Euro 2008 with a highly successful and experienced manager like him in charge.

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