The "Wing Commander" Gives His Verdict On England's World Cup Hopes

The Wing Commander has reported on some of the biggest football matches known to man, casting his very British eye over Johnny Foreigner.
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March 26, 2008

The increasingly strikingly bearded Nicolas Anelka is brought down by David James - Franck Ribery converts the spot kick. David Beckham celebrates his 100th cap. Rio Ferdinand, perhaps due to his characteristic powers of concentration, is appointed captain.


In 1956, in the United Kingdom, the first Clean Air Act was introduced.  The Act was passed by common consent and welcomed by Britons as a milestone in the history of this sceptr'd isle. Cities became smoke- and soot-free zones, and the Lord God Almighty was able to look fondly down from Heaven upon his most favoured nation, his view unimpeded by smog. A few years later, by contrast, across the unmercifully narrow channel in France, there was an attempt to pass the Clean Armpit Act. This was designed to bring the French nation into line with the rest of Europe in matters of personal sanitation and hygiene, and generally to maintain the proper disparity between man and chimpanzee. From Lille in the north, however, to Marseilles in the south, there was a national outcry at the proposal. Town halls were occupied, boulevards blocked by sit-in protesters brandishing placards, bathtubs smashed with sledgehammers in the streets and a general strike declared. Notably, the nation's women were among the most vociferous of the demonstrators, very much to the fore at the barricades, ranting, raving and reeking. When the authorities threatened to send in the army, the response of the rebelling populace was not one of trepidation but ribald amusement -  as if, as one eminent historian commented, the government had threatened to send in  the homosexuals. Eventually, efforts to pass the Clean Armpit Act were abandoned and the French festered triumphantly once more in a collective miasma of their own body odour.

That there is a small element of fabrication in the above story – it was composed by myself in the early 1970s as part of a pamphlet extolling the virtues of keeping Britain well out of the Common Market and all its horrors – is no matter. Indeed, though I made the whole thing up, it rings entirely true to me today. For it speaks a deeper truth about the rankness of our foes upon the field of play tonight. Let us consider the matter. In recent years, Great Britain has, with in certain cases the token assistance of our former colonial subjugates the United States, won a notable series of wars. Among our conquests are Sierre Leone, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Argentina. Whom have the French gone to war against in the meantime? Greenpeace. And, thanks to the intervention of the mighty New Zealand, they lost. Bested, by an enemy who marched in edible sandals. Moreover, ruminate upon the following, cogitate upon the contrasts. Here is a nation whose most famous sons – Jacques Brel, Tin Tin, Monsieur Poirot, Maigret – turn out, upon closer inspection, to be Belgian. In England, to suggest that one eats a piece of cake is considered the epitome of good manners, not grounds for summary decapitation. In England, our greatest thinkers and philosophers – Newton, Kipling, Powell – have tackled the basic questions, such as gravity, why the English are the proper bearers of the white man's burden, and the racial question. In France, what do their “thinkers” fret upon? “Being”. Yes, while John Bull can quite happily “be” all day long without effort -  after all, it's not that ruddy difficult - for the French, it seems, merely to exist is as onerous to them as maintaining the Maginot line. Which makes it all the more ironic that Frenchmen manage to “be” two things at once – that is to say, excessively heterosexual and ragingly homosexual at the same time.

Let us emulate the national pastime of our Gallic neighbours, unbutton our flies and relieve ourselves openly on the pavement.

To look upon the respective maps of the two nations is instructive. First, the British Isles. There She sits, with a head-like shape, plume resplendent, shapely and recumbent, with Anglia as an uplifted backside, breaking wind in the general direction of continental Europe. As for the French nation, well, let us conduct a scientific experiment. Let us emulate the national pastime of our Gallic neighbours, unbutton our flies and relieve ourselves openly on the pavement.

The resultant splash will, in all probability, form the shape of France. For that is what France is – a urine stain upon Europe. The matter is scientifically proven.

The national anthems, as ever, exposed the great contrast between our two absurdly closely situated nations. Our own is conducted at the measured pace of a slow advance across the battlefield, bayonets raised. By contrast, the French anthem is played, not inappropriately, at the pace of a brisk retreat. Our anthem stresses our desire to save our Queen – the French, for their part, are constitutionally preoccupied with concealing their mistresses. Queens versus mistresses – that was what was at stake in this fixture.

The match began at a cautious pace – one was absorbingly reminded of the opening 15 minutes of the Hundred Years War. Midway through the first half, the score was not nil-nil but, more strictly speaking, nil-Nothingness – which made us effectively in the lead. The key to Steven Gerrard's career success has been that he has always aimed high – and so he did, several times in the first half. To paraphrase the female in the motion flicker picture Sunset Boulevard, it was not any failing on Gerrard's part – it was the goalposts that got small. Absurdly, the Al-Qaeda member in France's midst made a shock attack upon England's sovereign territory and, rather then being dispatched forthwith to Guantanamo Bay, was awarded a penalty – such is French treachery in the face of Islamist outrage.

“Cunt. To Downing. Back to Cunt. Cunt lingers. Cunt passes back to Downing. Downing back to Cunt. Cunt. Cunt!! Cunt!!!  Shoot, Cunt!! Oh you, Cunt!”

Come the second half and England continued to advance, showing their innate superiority. This has always been evident – one notes in recent years the onfield, foppish jinks of Messrs Henry and Cantona who, week in week out, proved themselves singularly unable to conform to the demands of the English game. (“Pressure! Harry! Honesty! Give it! Hoof! Anywhere will do!”) That one Englishman is worth eight Frenchmen is all too evident when one considers our coffee consumption. A Frenchman can evidently only take a thimbleful of coffee at a time, whereas we English can consume a half pint mug of the instant variety without a qualm. It would take eight Frenchman to drink a single English mug of coffee. Hence, our overwhelming dominance in the opposing penalty box. One move stands out in particular – between the frighteningly effective Stewart Downing and the England number 3, whom, I understand from Seppings' notes, is affectionately known to one and all as “Twatley Cunt”. In the interests of jovial camaraderie, I shall address him thus. So went the move. “Cunt. To Downing. Back to Cunt. Cunt lingers. Cunt passes back to Downing. Downing back to Cunt. Cunt. Cunt!! Cunt!!!  Shoot, Cunt!! Oh you, Cunt!”

Michael Owen showed great promise once more – once he has grown a little, perhaps to the same height as his colleague Peter Crouch, he will undoubtedly fulfil his potential. “Square headed, Britney Spears-type busted flush” is what he indubitably is not.

A word concerning the appointment of Rio Ferdinand as England captain. As I have mentioned before, the FA amusingly saw fit to appoint an illiterate Italian imbecile as England manager, if only to point out how superfluous and ceremonial the role is, and rightly so. One might surmise that he had emulated his ancient countryman Caligula, who appointed a horse as a senator. More probably, Stuart Pearce and the rest of his superiors in the English set-up doubtless blindfolded the confused old peasant and turned him about in a game of “pin the tail on the donkey” when making the appointment. Certainly, Ferdinand lived up well to his responsibilities – his thought processes were clear throughout the match. “Ball goes up . . . . ball goes down . . . . ball goes up . . . . ball goes down . . . . ball goes  up . . . . ball goes down . . . . ball goes up . . . . ball goes down . . . . ball goes up . . . . ball goes down . . . .  ball goes up . . . . ball goes down . . . . Playstation . . . ball goes up . . . . ball goes down . . . .”.

However, it would have been still more prudent had the FA appointed our warlike Prince Harry as England captain, bringing back memories of Agincourt, the sacking of Harfleur and the routing of the Gallic popinjays on their own muddy fields. English players a-bed like Michael Carrick would have held their manhoods cheap that they were not beside him on the field of play, but that would doubtless have stiffened their sinews for the next fixture.

But let us return to this matter of the Clean Armpit Act. I propose that England's finest and most fragrant flower, John Terry, be sent on an ambassadorial mission across the length and breadth of France to instruct citizens and peasantry alike in the rudiments of proper bathing, wheeled by mobile bathtub to and from every city, every village, every hamlet. I would happily accompany Mr Terry on the mission, armed with my faithful loofah and flannel, and demonstrate upon his person the most effective techniques of all-over body-washing. My ability to communicate effectively with the French – that is, bellow slowly and repeatedly in plain English – would stand me in excellent stead. In front of small, gathered crowds, I would have Mr Terry disrobe, then step into the bathtub. There, with running commentary, I would apply soap to his chest and stomach, working up an impressive foam in the process. We'll make Englishmen of these Frenchwomen yet . . .

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