Whatever Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein goes on to achieve in his obviously well-earned role as a Fifa vice-president, he will have to go some to eclipse the great gift he has suddenly bestowed on the world of football trivia.
Complete the sequence: Queen’s Park Rangers, Fulham, Chelsea, Watford, Millwall, England Under-21, Chelsea, Fulham, ??
It is – of course – Jordan. And the list, the managerial career of Raymond Colin Wilkins MBE.
It is, Ray (as he is better known) insisted, only a five-month contract, which appears to be built entirely around a trip to Australia in January for the Asia Games, which must have a certain degree of appeal to any out-of-work football coach.
Bilingual men of the world like Big Ray need not brace themselves for culture shock wherever they go, but even so his days in the Millwall dugout may have proved an unlikely preparation.
Year in year out, the Jordanian league’s top clubs, Al-Faisaly and Al-Wehdat, show a reassuring propensity for football hooliganism, not helped by one, Al-Wehdat, being the official team of the country’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, and as such are regularly treated to pro-Israel chanting by the Al-Faisaly faithful.
Not to be outdone, Ray will be pleased to see, return fire comes each time in the form of anti-King Abdullah II songs (that’s Ray’s new boss’s brother), which are in turn met with some tasty words about the king’s wife, who hails from the West Bank, and then the security services step in.
Such hilarity notwithstanding, as Ray treads the verge of Jordan, this column bids his anxious flat back four stay on their feet, and as such offers a few helpful phrases for that first training session under the desert sun.
“Stay on your feet” – Ibqaa ’ala gadamaynak
“Let’s have a name on it lads” – Laazim ’andnaa ism ’alayhi, ya shabaab
“Back stick” – Al ’asaa al khalfi
“Keep it on the deck” – Ibqeehee ’ala satah as safina
And, of course, the indispensable: “Don’t throw the ball at the referee” – La ramee al kara ’ala al haakim
How Hodgson was ******* misrepresented by the press
One of England’s other polyglottal football managers – and there are many – certainly had no need to call in the translators this week.
Full credit to Roy Hodgson for his post-Norwegian descent into plain English, even if it was a touch on the Anglo-Saxon side. But surely even he will have been a little dismayed the following morning to see in the newspapers some unfortunate ambiguity reinserted into his determinedly direct little outburst.
Idle asterisking all the way across Fleet Street meant this column had to spend several minutes ascertaining whether it was a) f****** b*******, or b) f****** b******t to dare to question whether or not two shots on target – and one of those from the penalty spot – represented a rather low return against Scandinavia’s third best footballing nation.
We can but hope he sticks to the unmisrepresentable “poppycock” in future.
Gold and Sullivan could get their kit out for the girls
While there has been much sympathy for the West Ham Ladies team’s surprising public appeal for donations to help with “playing and training kit”, they really should have seen it coming.
West Ham United’s owners David Gold and David Sullivan, the one-time publishers of such titles as Playbirds, Whitehouse, Rustler and Raider and producers of such art-house movies as Come Play With Me, Mary Millington’s True Blue Confessions and Emmanuelle in Soho, have certainly been willing to put their hands in their pockets for the cause of womankind over the years, but one thing they’ve never really provided is kit.
Yes, the ladies and men’s teams are strictly separate businesses, but if West Ham’s girls are looking for an outlet to show just how desperate their lack of clothing has become, this column imagines the big boys could at least provide the pages to help such a noble cause.Reuse content