Cooney and Black

Woops! As Wayne Rooney goes to the lectern, Roy Hodgson drops another howler. Even, as an unashamed admirer of the Bernard Manning School of Humour, I’m getting worried.

Wayne Rooney and Roy Hodgson

Steve Bott byline

HUSH THAT MOUTH! Steve Bott takes an irreverent look at sport’s verbal howlers – and finds Roy Hodgson refusing to step into the new age.

ROY HODGSON has, at 67 years of age, reached that time of life where daily exercise is recommended. Is this why he keeps putting his foot in it so damned regularly?

In his latest outpouring, the England manager doubts if his captain Wayne Rooney would be able to command much attention in a lecture room.

The Scouse accent and an admittedly far from charismatic persona prompted Roy’s statement.

But he should have thought a hell of a lot harder before coming out with this latest howler, considering his own speech impediment!

I don’t know whether he or Wayne do any after-dinner speaking, but I imagine Wayne would command a slightly higher fee and a bigger audience than Roy if they did.

Poor old Roy has been showing signs of ageing recently, what with remarks about putting his teeth back in and carrying on after a denture-laden reference to the World Cup humiliation.

His “feed the monkey” gaffe when talking about giving the ball to Andros Townsend was a real howler. Even I, an unashamed admirer of the Bernard Manning School of Humour, would think twice at that one these days.

Back to the accent, granted there are some we hate and some we can live with. The Scouse one isn’t one that really irritates me, but the girl who does the business reports on BBC News has the most grating accent imaginable.

It’s a cross between Middlesbrough and Cumbrian. But, more importantly, she is excellent at her job.

The new age, though, dictates equality for all, so no longer do you need to speak the Queen’s English like an Eton toff to land a job with Auntie.

Anyway, I would sit and listen to Wayne any day of the week, Roy. And I’m sure more people than just his team-mates would be interested and attentive enough to listen to what he had to say. Football knowledge is the criteria, not the accent.

No verbal gaffes from Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger, not that we know of anyway. They exchanged words during the Chelsea-Arsenal match, but we mere mortals were not privy to them. But their little spat was all about pettiness.

Sadly, in this age of X Factor and Big Brother mentality, it’s incidents like this that the media, internet and consequently the general public home in on.
Frankly, I’ve seen better squabbles between a couple of my neighbours over the back garden fence.

So, come on lads and lasses, especially you in the “meeja”, let’s grow up a bit and concentrate on the real action from now on rather than a petty squabble on the sidelines.

Over in the golf world, Nick Faldo called Sergio Garcia “useless” during Ryder Cup weekend. You can imagine the turmoil that caused among the television producers. Within 24 hours, Nick pointed out it had been a “top of the head” remark while commentating.

In other words, no more than any of us do at a football or rugby match, or what the wife constantly shouts at you.

Sergio had the last laugh, anyway, as he helped Europe defeat the Americans yet again at Gleneagles.

Finally, I think someone should have had a word with Matija Nastasic when he first arrived at Manchester City as a promising 18-year-old centre back in a £13m deal from Fiorentina.

He has not had many starts since and, quite rightly, people will point out that has mainly been due to injury. But he didn’t exactly endear himself to the fans when interviewed on local TV shortly after arriving in Manchester.

Asked to nominate his favourite player, the Serbian proudly and boldly stated – with a big smile on his face – “Nemanja Vidic”. The latter just happened to be vice-captain at arch enemies Manchester United.

Not the best of starts, then. Much merriment ensued from the red side of the city and I am sure not a few City fans have since pointed out to Matija the error of his ways.

But the thought occurs that, considering United’s current centre back plight, it might have been a good idea to persuade Louis van Gaal to make a move to bring Matija onside.




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