by Jamie Whitehead QC
Discreetly located around the corner from the FA’s Golden Square headquarters lies an inconspicuous looking building. Nestling in between a Starbucks and a sex shop, the building attracts few raised eyebrows from passers by, but delve a little deeper, and this strange looking building is a hive of activity.
Throughout the history of football, chairmen, managers and often players are outed as scapegoats for collective team failings. The Court of Scapegoating allows those that are made a victim of this phenomenon to take their case to appeal and rid themselves of this pain bestowed upon them.
The Daisy Cutter, along with list based podcast 3for3, has been fortunate enough to uncover the transcripts of cases made against these individuals and will be revealing the results over the coming weeks. These cases should never have been made public, as they aren’t allowed to be placed into the public domain, but we will allow you to make your claims for or against in the comments below. We will present these findings to the FA should any case go to appeal.
The Football Association Court of Scapegoating
CASE ID: FA8811ADD
DEFENDANT: MR W M ROONEY
PROSECUTION: THE GENERAL PUBLIC OF ENGLISH NATIONALS BASED BOTH IN ENGLAND AND ABROAD.
CASE: THE WORLD CUP, GERMANY, 2006. THE EIGHTEENTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP OF FOOTBALL.
THE CASE AGAINST:
Hopes were running high in England in the run up to the 2006 World Cup. The ‘Golden Generation’ was supposedly in its prime, and after encouraging showings in both the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004, surely the time was right to end, at that time, forty years of hurt. Add in the fact that at the time we thought (and as it turned out, correctly) this would be England captain David Beckham’s final tournament, many predicted it was his destiny to lift the World Cup in Berlin.
England, managed by Sven Goran Eriksson, on paper had a very competent side going into the tournament. Paul Robinson, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Steven Gerrard, Owen Hargreaves, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Peter Crouch, Michael Owen and of course, Wayne Rooney had all travelled. Drawn into Group B, England finished top of a group also featuring Sweden, Paraguay and Trinidad and Tobago. Two wins against Paraguay and Trinidad along with a thrilling 2-2 draw with Sweden, remembered for a Michael Owen injury and a Joe Cole wonder goal, saw England return to Nuremburg (where they had faced Trinidad) to take on Ecuador in a round of sixteen encounter. David Beckham scored the only goal in a 1-0 win, becoming the first Englishman to score in three different World Cups. So far, so good.
England’s progression to the Quarter Final ensured a meeting with Portugal. It would be the third major tournament where Eriksson had met ‘Big’ Phil Scolari in a quarter final, after Brazil in 2002 and Portugal in 2004.
In a similar way to England, Portugal was also experiencing a golden generation of their own. Luis Figo was in his twilight years, with no fear from the Portuguese public as they had a more than able replacement in Cristiano Ronaldo.
It was that name, Cristiano Ronaldo that would eventually come back to haunt England. As the sun belted down in Gelsenkerchin one Saturday afternoon, England lined up in a World Cup quarter final against the Portugese.
The issues with Wayne Rooney was clear from the start. Unlike South Africa in 2010, there were to be no tabloid revelations in the aftermath of the tournament of Mr Rooney’s personal life. This time, it was all down to Rooney on the pitch, as opposed to off it.
Although the disgusting word didn’t exist in popular lexicon at the time, you could see the ‘banter’ between then Manchester United team-mates Rooney and Ronaldo in the tunnel prior to kick off. Unconfirmed reports have indicated that Ronaldo told Rooney he was ‘Going to make sure you get sent off’
The game was fairly uneventful until mid way through the second half. It was to be expected. There will always be a capitulation for England at a major tournament. Other prime examples of this could be Beckham’s leg in ’98, Alan Shearer’s dive in Euro 2000 or Wayne Rooney’s (yep, him again) broken metatarsal in the quarter final match in Euro 2004 against the same opposition.
After David Beckham prematurely (and inadvertently) mullered his England career by getting injured and crying on the bench, an incident occurred which would change the course of the game, and ultimately, the entire World Cup.
In the sixty-second minute, Wayne Rooney was involved in a challenge with Portuguese defender Ricardo Cavalho. Weather he intended to or not, the challenge ended with Rooney having a rather close encounter with Carvalho’s wedding vegetables.
The red card was brandished and England saw the collapse of yet another promising bid for glory (the match had been fairly even up until this point) as the team were reduced to ten men. Ronaldo made his first attempt at becoming crowned the most hated man in football as he ran to the ref and waving the imaginary card. A slight pushing and shoving match between the two quite clearly shows Rooney screaming “Fuck off, you prick!” to his club teammate. Rooney left the field in disgrace before kicking a water bottle on the bench and storming off down the tunnel. In the aftermath, Ronaldo was caught on camera winking at his manager Scolari, not only earning him the title ‘Winker’ but also adding further fuel to the fire that he claimed he was going to get Rooney sent off.
England defended…well. England attacked… not so well.
Owen Hargreaves had arguably his best performance in an England shirt, becoming the only England player to score from the spot in a 3-1 Shootout defeat.
But, ultimately, Scolari defeated Eriksson again in a quarter final and England’s wait for glory extended indefinitely.
THE CASE FOR:
DEFENDANT: MR W M ROONEY
“I were well pissed off in the tunnel, la. Little Chris proper wound me up when we were waiting. But I told him he were a prick on the pitch. I well meant to stand on his nuts and I got him a bit confused with the other geezer. Ronnie told me when we got home he knew some proper sound Prozzies. So I had to forgive him. I felt well cross with him, but he’s a sound mate, la. Anyways he missed a penalty in Moscow. So in a weird way I won”