An open letter to Fabio Capello: A secret weapon to win the World Cup
A suggestion for World Cup success
Dear Mr Capello,
An idea. OK, so it may be a tad premature but if we’re going to finally win another World Cup, we need some cutting edge ideas. The Argentinians had a Hand of God in 1986, the Germans perfected the noble art of diving in 1990, the Brazilians learned in 2002 that poor dentures equals great footballers.
Basically we need a secret weapon. Something so cunning and unexpected that its visual representation will accompany the word ’surreptitious’ in the dictionary. And as it happens, I believe I have the answer.
This idea has been with me ever since England defeated Colombia in the group stage of the 1998 World Cup. The South American side, facing elimination from the tournament, went wholesale at half time using all three available substitutions. It was at this point that I felt there was a loophole in the laws worthy of exploitation.
World Cup squads contain 23 players. In usual circumstances, a squad large enough (if used correctly) to cope with injuries in any department. However, I have often debated the wisdom of taking a third goalkeeper. Admittedly, should keepers number one and two both befall injury or ill heath it is a wise decision, but this is very rare indeed. In fact, many club teams will use only two goalkeepers in a 50-odd game season.
Therefore, I suggest that the third-choice glove merchant be replaced by our secret weapon. To replace him, I am looking for an individual so mentally enraged that they require restraint even when on the bench. The kind of person to whom a Saturday night’s itinerary is incomplete without some kind of fisticuffs. What we need is an out and out thug!
I know what you’re thinking – where is he going with this? So here it comes, possibly the best idea that football has seen since Zidane ‘put one’ on Materazzi.
Once the opposition have used all three replacements, we spring into action. Off comes one of our fine footballing 22, and on comes the unknown brute. Our unhinged friend then sets his red mist tainted sights upon the opposition goalkeeper. His objective is simple: eliminate.
Completely unprovoked, the hooligan rains down blows on the poor and unassuming stoppergoalie. The surprise of the attack should buy our savage enough time to ensure that the unfortunate victim plays no further part.
Fair enough, our ruffian will be sent off for his moment of bloodlust (although the standard protestations of innocence from his compatriots should still ensure), but at ten-a-side we’re still numerically equal. The difference is, they have an outfield player in goal. Cue shots from anywhere to pile the pressure on the inexperienced replacement.
The remainder of the game sees goals of various wonder from a variety of long range efforts, and England march on victorious.
Now, I appreciate that the scheme is not without flaws. Firstly it can only be used once, so we must use it wisely (fingers crossed for a semi-final against the Germans). Secondly, such a violent and unprovoked attack will be no doubt be scrutinised by the powers that be. Therefore a Gerrard-esque legal defence must be conjured up. Aside from that, the plan is pretty much watertight.
So I hope you’re reading this, Fabio. You’ve never been worried about upsetting anyone in order to win before, why stop now?