Dom Joly: Make England captains live like monks

I used to like the way Beckham called the manager "sir". It was a rare display of humility and respect

Monday 08 February 2010 01:00

So John Terry in moral outrage scandal. Not content with the plethora of predatory peroxide totty seemingly available on tap at every naff nightclub in the land – fellow players' girlfriends now seem to be targeted as well. This, people cry, will upset the morale and the equilibrium of the England football team. Remember this is the team that will definitely smash their way to glorious victory in South Africa, sweeping all other countries aside. Well, it would have been the team to win the World Cup if the captain had not been a randy goat. Now, we will definitely be knocked out by the Germans on penalties – if we manage to defeat Algeria that is...

As regular readers will know, I loathe football and have no interest in it whatsoever. I was, however, fascinated to hear somebody on BBC Five Live describe the England captaincy as "the biggest job in the world". In his eyes Obama, Ban Ki-moon, Bill Gates, the presenters of Live From Studio Five... all, as nothing compared to the mighty England captain. I was not alone in finding this odd – soon Simon Mayo's entertaining radio replacement, Richard Bacon, was wondering out loud just what it is that the England captain does.

I know this – he wears an armband and probably shouts more than some of the other players. But what would he shout? "On the head... kick it... pass it"? There's surely not that much he can impart on the field.

Cricket, now there's a game where you want a Mike Brearley rather than a Kevin Pietersen. You want somebody to be placing tricky fields and rotating the bowling and, admittedly, shouting "catch it" occasionally.

The England football captain should be a person that you want your kids to look up to – not mine obviously, as I've mentioned, I hate football and my kids are banned from mentioning the very word in the house. I did, however, used to like the way Beckham called the manager "sir". It was a rare display of humility and respect – something that football is not usually overflowing with.

I, therefore, have some suggestions for what an England captain can do in future to make sure that he comes up to scratch:

1. Hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden. The England captain should be an adventurer, a Boy's Own figure. He shouldn't be concerned with girly things like fine clothes and dancing. He should head straight off to the Pakistani border and not rest until he has cornered Bin Laden in a cave. He should then strip to his waist and wrestle Bin Laden to death like a man. This completed, he would be allowed a tattoo with the words: "I wrestled Bin Laden to death" in an ancient Eastern script on his buttocks. This would be purely for the visual pleasure of his legal wife and his doctor.

2. Learn to cook. Clearly footballers, with their terrible haircuts and love of shopping, are very much in touch with their feminine side and this must not be discouraged. I suggest that the England captain become a sushi chef. I know that footballers tend to be partial to a "roast" – sushi is healthy and he could make sushi for all the team. Perhaps he could even dress up in Japanese gear as an amusing relaxation technique for the squad? This would also give the captain an alternative career when the football playing is over. He could run a restaurant called "Captain England's Magical Sushi Bar". Whenever an England captain retired he would be taken on in the restaurant and eventually take it over himself.

3. Become a Benedictine monk. There does seem to be a basic spiritual vacuum within the England football team. If the captain became a monk then there would be several beneficial results. Firstly, time spent alone in the monastery reflecting on life might allow the captain to come up with a couple of other things to shout such as: "We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation." Or: "Before enlightenment – chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment – chop wood, carry water." Secondly, the captain could start a crazy new haircut fad by sporting the "tonsure". I also happen to think that England could wear the monk outfit, robes and all, and dispense with the expensive, flammable football shirts. This would not only give them a unique look but they could sometimes hide the ball under their robes and smuggle it into the opposing goal.

As I said, these are only ideas...

Big men, tight shirts

Thank the Lord, Saturday afternoons are suddenly interesting again. The Six Nations is back – big men in tight shirts fighting each other for the ball. Now that is my idea of civilised...

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