The Football Association hit back last night after the international community criticised the England football team for becoming embroiled in yet another intractable foreign campaign that everyone agrees is unwinnable. ‘We have learned from the mistakes of the past,’ said David Sheepshanks, joint-acting Chairman of the FA. ‘This time we are entering the competition with a clear exit strategy. I give England fans my word that we will have the boys home inside a fortnight.’
Criticism of the England team began when sources revealed that following a meeting with the USA scheduled for the weekend, hawkish elements of the media will begin talking up regime change as the real reason for sending forces to South Africa. ‘Let’s quash these rumours now,’ said coach Fabio Capello today. ‘You just have to look at my squad to see that this is not an attempt to topple the current rulers of the international game. Besides, we are lacking supplies for a long campaign, such as a creative playmaker, a natural left-footed wide man and competent penalty-takers.’
In seeking to play down allegations of regime change, the FA has compiled a dossier claiming that given England’s defensive frailties, any side in the competition would be capable of launching a potentially devastating attack within 45 minutes. Although pundits have questioned the claim, suggesting that we look vulnerable throughout the whole 90 minutes, especially from set-piece offensives, the FA has strongly denied that the case for involvement in the competition has been ‘sexed up’, pointing to Wayne Rooney and Peter Crouch as compelling evidence to the contrary.
Despite the controversy, the pledge by the FA and Capello to quickly end England’s latest foreign engagement has been welcomed by the ‘Bring Our Heroes Home’ campaign. ‘What we’ve asked for all along is a clear timetable for withdrawal so that England fans everywhere know when the suffering will end. It’s great to have the certainty of knowing the lads will touch down on English soil straight after the Slovenia game on 23 June.’
Sadly, though, the promise to pull the players out did not stop the conflict claiming its first casualty. A captain from the Manchester defence corps was brutally cut down last week in a friendly fire incident during routine training manoeuvres. His sponsors have been informed.
(Hat-tip to Jimmy)