Tuesday, April 08, 2008
I took this picture three days ago, when the bay didn’t look like it does now. It’s been raining most of the time since then: at times you can’t see the other side of the bay. I’m not looking for sympathy – in fact I no longer tell people in England when we have bad weather. They have this conspiracy. “It’s beautiful here”, they all say – whether it is or not. They don’t actually say, “Na na ni na na – serves you right for gloating about your weather all these years”, but you can tell by the smug tone that it’s there.
It’s tough being a football manager. Steve MacLaren, when he was England coach, once – just once - carried a huge umbrella, quite reasonably, to keep the rain off his Simpson’s suit. The tabloids made him the national wuss. Even the Guardian, no less, gave “Sheltering under an umbrella” one of the ten reasons why he should not be England manager. (Although some of its other reasons - like playing Joleon Lescott - have since been endorsed by the new manager.)
The result is that ambitious football managers, if they want the England job, have to stand out in wind and rain in just their suits - like poor Gareth Southgate last weekend, catching pneumonia, while the ones who’ve already made it – like the nose-picking knight – can be snug in their Umbro-supplied anoraks.