SO THERE we have it. The first British Olympic men’s football squad for 40 years is announced and the biggest controversy is who is not in it.
For a start there are no players from Scotland or Northern Ireland in the squad.
Considering that neither country has produced a good footballer since about 1975 that should not have come as a surprise to anyone.
But then it’s not a best of British team, I hear you cry.
The reality is it’s not a best of anything team. It’s a collection of halfdecent under-23 players who were not good enough to play for England in the Euros (and that’s a damning statement in itself) or who their clubs are happy to do without during pre-season training.
The major absentee is, of course, David Beckham. Team GB boss Stuart Pearce says the former England captain is out because he’s not a good enough footballer any more – which doesn’t really explain how Craig Dawson and Marvin Sordell got picked.
Team Becks says he should have gone because of what he had done to help win the Olympics for London.
Meanwhile, the poor saps – including me – who have shelled out for tickets to see Psycho’s XI take on Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium on August 1 don’t get a say. As usual.
The Cardiff game is sold out and I suspect many of those who have bought tickets did so partly to see Beckham’s last hurrah on British soil.
I certainly did. Yes, it’s a chance to see something of the Olympics a few miles down the road. Yes, it’s an opportunity for Welsh fans to pay tribute to Ryan Giggs.
But ultimately I wanted my teenage sons to see British football’s most iconic figure in action.
Instead we’ll be watching Team England and Wales and no doubt trying to work out which one is Jack Cork. Happy and glorious indeed.
In the words of John Lydon at the end of the last-ever Sex Pistols gig – ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?
Youth coaches are to blame for failures
STAYING with the subject of football, much has been written and debated this week about why British football cannot produce players of Spanish quality.
For my money, the answer lies with poor quality coaching at youth level and a mindset that places winning above player development.
Players with real ability get discarded at a young age in this country because they aren’t big enough and because coaches want to pack their teams with youngsters who are big, strong and fast.
Technical ability comes a poor second.
When you have professional football managers telling youth team coaches (and I’ve heard this being said) not to give them any young players under 6ft tall then you know you have deep-rooted problems.
Such a mindset would rule out half the current European and world champions. Crazy.
Cafe hosts our Dragon
THE launch of the SuperDragons 2 trail in Newport should provide some fun and games for parents and children during the school summer holidays – if it ever stops raining.
Your Argus is sponsoring one of the dragons this year.
Cityscape, which is the creation of artist Lauren Brown, features a map of Newport along with images of city landmarks.
You’ll find the Argus SuperDragon inside the café in Belle Vue Park.
Ship’s future shaping up
AFTER my piece on the future for Newport’s medieval ship last week I was delighted that we were then able to report that the city council was considering 20 potential sites to house the vessel.
Piecing the ship together and getting it into a fit state for permanent display will take many years, but it is vital that a site and funding are identified sooner rather than later.
There is a long way to go and there are some substantial hurdles to negotiate but at least things are moving in the right direction.