England bores raise fans’ and dash writers’ hopes

England success: Frank Lampard stuns Spain at Wembley
England success: Frank Lampard stuns Spain at Wembley
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IT’S the worst thing that could have happened.

All those sports writers at Wembley looking to bury England under a pile of purple prose praising the red and blue of the world champions and bemoaning England’s lack of ... just about everything.

It didn’t quite work out that way - so they buried them under a barrage of ‘boring England’ headlines instead. Still, as long as they’re buried, eh lads?

But the problem isn’t with the press headlines.

The problem is that offering us a glimmer of hope by playing like League One underdogs in a third-round FA Cup tie against a Premier Leage side they raised expectations from zero to one.

Hardened sufferers though we are, we’ll be sub-consciously expecting something decent agains Sweden - historically and horribly unbeatable for England. We ought to know better by now.

The magic of the FA CUP?

Mmm ... more David Nixon than David Copperfield at this stage,

Halifax struggled manfully in the mist and murk at The Shay but eventually went down to Charlton in the first -round ITV game on Sunday and there were few moments when the old Ronnie Radford spirit shone through.

There wasn’t much much magic about the attendances, though . The 7,000-plus United fans who turned up at Bramall Lane to see the Blades beat Oxford doesn’t sound too good until you realise that it was far and away the best attendence of all the FA Cup games this weekend.

Up to Christmas the FA Cup is great for non-league sides on a run but a bit of a chore for league teams and their fans. The mass-appeal magic doesn’t start until the big names go into the black bag.

It’s been a week now since Joe Frazier died but he needs a mention. Anyone with a love of sport who grew up in the early 1970s will have a vision of Joe Frazier.

Bloody, battered and hunched over, shuffling, driving forward mercilessly, unstoppably into the face of his opponent. Ali was more graceful, Forman bigger and stronger, Norton more powerful, but no-one was as scary as Smokin’ Joe.

Like The Terminator, he was relentless.

In all the schoolboy fantasies of heroism that drifted in and out of our over-creative consciousnesses and schoolyard mock-fights we all imagined facing Ali for the world title. But not Frazier. He was simply too terrifying. Because he fought in that era, he did he didn’t get as much recognition as he might.

If he was fighting now they’d be queueing up to avoid him.

What’s the betting Carlos Tevez comes back to Manchester City and wins them a trophy this season?

Don’t think so? I’ll have a fiver that he’s playing again for Roberto Mancini’s team before Christmas. He’s got over refusing to play, he’s worming his way out of a clearing-off-to-Argentina rap and soon he’ll be back training with the first team.

Many think that City will accept him back because he’s worth too much money to have in the reserves and no-one will stump up £30 million-plus for a load of trouble.

All of that is true. But the reason he’ll be playing again is because he’s too good not to.

His all-action contribution and goals could be the difference between second and top in the Premier League, quarter-final and final of the Champions League.

He’ll be forgiven. If he feels inclined to turn out of course.