Mart: It could all go tits up!
MIDDLESBROUGH v SUNDERLAND FA Cup replay – Today, 7.45pm
OU’VE got to hand it to the FA – they have got a real knack for turning everything they touch into shit.
Even with their reputation for cack-handedness, making sure England will do precisely f*** all at the Euros four months before a ball is kicked is some going.
Because that’s what they’ve done with this latest shitstorm – and for what?
The FA are wrapped up in a public war with Fabio Capello over a Chelsea chav who is long past his sell-by date.
Whatever John Terry (below) is or isn’t, he’s not a particularly great footballer any more.
The aging controversy magnet plays in a position where England have an embarrassment of riches: Joleon Lescott, Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill – and that’s just for starters. So why the fuss? Who gives a flying one whether Terry wraps a bit of plastic around his bicep in Donetsk come June?
Let’s be honest, all he does is win a few headers, haul a few people to the ground, beat his chest and shout. e’s got no pace, he doesn’t score many and last time out in a major competition he wasn’t exactly performing miracles for team spirit, was he?
Give Tarzan four months at practising headers and Terry won’t be missed for a minute.
I’m not here to debate the rights and wrongs of the decision to strip Terry of the England captaincy due to his impending court date.
I fell asleep thinking about it after reading the millionth moralising of a toffee-nosed tool from a fancy broadsheet.
But surely the FA should have checked that the man they have so far paid £24million to be England manager was onside before they announced Terry was a goner. A bit of an oversight, no?
Instead, the suits stumbled into an issue which left Capello out in the cold. And now we have a media witch hunt playing out.
Fat people who write for oversized newspapers are falling over themselves to hang the foreigner. But what about the f***ing FA? How about giving that bunch of bellends both barrels for once? hey should have persuaded Fab it was the right move or sacked him on the spot.
Instead, as per usual, they will be dictated to by a load of media salad-dodgers.
And who wins? Not England or their long-suffering fans.
If Capello stays, the media will continue to fire bullets – hissing and moaning because they haven’t got their way. And if he goes, a new man gets next to no time to turn it around and put the first silver on the sideboard since you know when.
Whoever that man is – Harry Redknapp, Roy Hodgson, Alanf***ing-pardew – he’ll have a ready-made excuse for failure – and so will England’s players.
So well done the FA. Football Association? F***ing Arseholes more like.
TMARTIN O’NEILL admits he is a huge doom and gloom merchant who is already preparing for Sunderland to fall apart – but he’s praying it doesn’t happen tonight.
The Black Cats are currently the form team in the Premier League.
But, despite their sizzling form since he took over from Steve Bruce, boss O’neill is far from upbeat.
He’s even advising Sunderland fans not to bet on a victory tonight that would earn them a fifthround clash against Arsenal.
“I would say keep your money in your pocket. Honestly, that tenner may buy you something, not a lot of fresh air,” said O’neill. “I think it’s the Irish background thing. Disaster is just around the corner. It is! It’s lurking and it’s incredibly negative.
“Do I go home and think I’ve cracked it? No, absolutely not.”
O’neill is also determined to inject a dose of realism into his players.
“You have to keep focused as it is almost inevitable you’ll start thinking you’re a bit better than you are,” he said.
O’neill will be without several key players tonight through injury, including former Boro midfielder Lee Cattermole, David Vaughan, Wes Brown, Nicklas Bendtner and Titus Bramble. He said: “We will do everything we can to win the game, but that won’t automatically give us victory.
“Middlesbrough didn’t surprise me in the first meeting. What was surprising was how physical the game was. I didn’t expect that.
“They didn’t surprise me in terms of their ability and their ability to play.
“It was always a difficult game and that’s why the tie is very much in the balance.
“I don’t know what their approach might be – I haven’t really bothered thinking about that – but they’ll feel they have a really good chance.”
John O’shea will captain the side in the absence of Cattermole.
O’neill said: “John’s whole demeanour around the place has been very helpful. I’m delighted he’s started to play the way he did for Manchester United.
“His willingness to help the younger lads is very important – they can approach him. There are no airs and graces about him.”
Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray may call up 19-year-old Curtis Main as Scott Mcdonald and Bart Ogbeche are injured while Marvin Emnes is unlikely to be fit enough.
Mowbray said: “The time has come for Curtis to get onto the pitch.
“We’ve got a few players who have had injury issues throughout their careers and to keep asking them to play every three days is difficult.
“Mentally and physically it caught up a little on Saturday – but it doesn’t get any easier.”
PESSIMISTIC: O’neill doesn’t like his chances
MAMMA MIA! Fab has been put in a no-win situation by the