Much pen blood has been spilt recently on explaining to the general public exactly why their beloved brave boys in white or red disappointed them so comprehensively in the World Cup in Africa which is soooo good for the continent (and what pace those African sides have! Such enthusiasm!). It’s the manager maybe. Or its the lack of passion from the players. They’re all too tired from the long season, their talents diminished by osmosis due to protracted exposure to foreigners in their club teams. But no, NO IT ISN’T. They’re not ACTUALLY telling you the real reason why England failed at the World Cup. Yes, granted the so-called ‘Golden Generation’ are in fact a group of jaded, dead-eyed gambling addicts who have a three-hour daily commute to their training grounds from their vast country estates funded by the blood diamonds smuggled by the cackling, corrupt Moldovan billionaires who are what pass for a Premier League owner nowadays. And, true: Fabio Capello may have, offsetting a golden record getting Campagnia Roggerio promoted from Serie C.2 in 1969 after a poor early-season performance, a grasp of English so poor that it would preclude him from succeeding as manager of takeaway, let alone a national football team, but THAT’S NOT THE REAL PROBLEM. Or, at least, neither of these two factors: lack of passion/alertness of players, and problems with the manager, tell the whole story. The real problem is that England have built their team around Wayne Rooney, a BLIND MAN.
Wayne Rooney, the scouse rascal who thrilled the nation as an angry, functionally illiterate teenager made good, was once an electric, instinctive striker who pursued that ball like a bull and then, quite unlike a bull, would use it to score rather than maul the goalkeeper (most of the time). But he has long had his problems. Compulsory Meat Raffle was granted exclusive access to Paule Davidoff, former club optician with Manchester United. He has revealed that during the opening few games of the 2008-09 season, Rooney suddenly seemed to have trouble following the path of the ball overhead, and was complaining to his agent of headaches. “After he missed a sitting header against Blackburn, the management decided I ought to have a look at him,” said M.Davidoff, who is now a grinder with RC Lens. “The results of the eye test were deeply disturbing. He was suffering from rapidly advancing tunnel vision. I estimated that his vision would be completely gone in two years.”
But the club, needing to protect their prize asset, decided to cover it up. The decision was taken to hide the results of the eye test from everyone- including Rooney himself. “Rooney was their hot young star, the British bulldog, but they did not think he had the capacities to understand what was happening to him. I thought that the decision was unethical, personally, but after a discussion with Sir Alec, I withdrew my objections.” Rooney’s vision defect, then, would be covered up, and his performances corrected for by the use of a special scent that Manchester United had the match ball coated with at all games that allowed Rooney to recognise the ball: the young star was known for having an unusual sense of smell, having been a junior smelling champion at local level before deciding to concentrate on football, and whilst still at Everton’s youth academy he had a Saturday job as a truffle-boy at a Cheshire truffle farm, smelling out the truffles deep under the ground. Therefore, despite his rapidly advancing disability, Wayne Rooney was still able to put in the magical performances of pure football that saw him named both the Premier League writer’s and player’s player of the year last season.
But the story was not the same for his performances with England. Manchester United had taken the decision to withhold details of Rooney’s condition from EVERYONE- and that included the FA. Due to his continuing high performance at club level, nobody questioned the fact that Rooney’s name was the safest on the team sheet, despite his complete inability to look anything like competent for his country. Balls hoofed his way were overran dramatically. Shots were made with power out for a throw-in. Frank Lampard was asked to guide Rooney onto the pitch from the dressing-room. He was caught bitching about the fans to-camera after the Algeria game because he thought it was actually Glen Johnson. Most of the time in South Africa Rooney spent the matches wandering around the pitch feeling for obstacles. The REAL problem with England’s performance in South Africa was staring everyone in the face, but we have all been as blind as Rooney’s no-longer-functioning eyes. “No…” everyone watching the match thought. “Wayne Rooney… he can’t be, can he…? Be blind? No… no, he’s one of the best players in the world, he couldn’t possibly…” But it’s true. Time for Manchester United to own up so that the FA can get on, scent the balls, and rebuild the team around this magnificent sightless savant.