Yes, he could’ve done more, there’s no denying that, but as the standard of England’s play fluctuated between dreadful and awful, the defender didn’t need to excel himself to become England’s best player at the tournament.
It’s off the pitch though, where Ashley Cole will get the stick.
“I hate England and the f***ing people!” Cole vented in a personal message to friends.
Cue public outrage. The Sun proclaimed it as a ‘disgraceful’ message. The red-tops then laid into the Englishman as best they could, labeling him as ‘ungrateful’ and a ‘flop’. It’s not a breed of vitriol that would be new to Cole, but, since the revelation, England’s most reviled footballer (yet, aptly our greatest performer at this year’s World Cup) has begun receiving death threats from enraged and evidently confused fans. Well, perhaps not confused but sad may be. No. Not sad. Stupid. And it’s quite unsettling to see how many people can be whipped into a nonsensical frenzy by the press.
It’s not as though the sentiment hasn’t been uttered in anger or frustration by anyone anywhere previously. This isn’t some epiphany moment in which the truth about England’s detestable nature is revealed. In fact, there are quite a few people who didn’t like England before Cole; Jamie Carragher, for example, doesn’t like England all that much; numerous British actors find the Isles dull; even the affable French think it ugly. But, nevertheless, the papers – veins still pumping with St George fever – obviously took exception to Cole’s refreshingly honest approach and so did some jingoistic fans.
But, perhaps the most revealing aspect of the whole narrative was that the message was posted before Ashley Cole even flew out to Austria for pre-tournament training and the game against Japan. That’s well over a month ago. But obviously, in order for the story to work, to create maximum uproar, the tabloids kept the story under wraps – a devious and somewhat callous way of increasing sales after the disappointing exit.
And, look, now look! He’s laughing with Ledley King! How dare he laugh as the nation mourns; how dare he look at the bright-side and get on with life as we suffer the insufferable after being beaten at football, again. He’s on £110,000 a week for god sake, he should be a broken man, drenched in uncontrollable tears, his eyes red and raw and his face contorted with grief after England’s defeat. The cheek of it!
Anyway, fortunately for all involved, Cole can bring an end to the farce with a move to Madrid to meet up with his old manager:
“I would like to have an alternative left-back to Marcelo,” revealed Jose Mourinho.
A deal of around £25million is expected to take the Englishman to the Bernabeu. Many, including himself no doubt, can’t wait.
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