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Last Updated: Friday, 10 October 2003, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
You're nothing special, boys!
By Derek "Robbo" Robson
The Tees Mouth

Hello Robbo.

Hello son.

You sound a bit down in the dumps.

Not down in the dumps, quietly angry - for obvious reasons. I don't really want to talk about it, but I suppose I'll have to.

I'm afraid you will - the postbag has been dominated by moans about the England football team, including this from Jenny:

Robbo, what's your take on this Rio Ferdinand stuff? From what I can gather he missed his drugs test to go shopping and all his spoilt, overpaid team-mates are throwing their toys out of the pram because "It's not fair!"

I'm sick of the lot of them, quite frankly - it's time they were put in their place. If we don't qualify for Euro 2004 we'll know who to blame.

That's pretty much how I'd have put it, Jenny. But let's look at the positives first. It's nice to see a squad showing solidarity - when Sven arrived they were divided into Man United and Liverpool factions and what have you.

But they're rallying around the doziest bloke in the squad - or who used to be in the squad I should say.

John Terry
Now look what you've done, Rio!

Rio Ferdinand. I bet he got about four or five reminders saying don't forget to stick around, we're doing a drugs test. But instead he thinks mmm, I fancy a new jumper.

Off he goes and 36 hours later he says "I'll do it now". Well I'm afraid it doesn't wash, Rio. You've broken a law and you can't play because you've been daft.

And still everyone rallies around him! What sort of people are they?! If he was a member of my family I wouldn't be rallying around him, I'd be saying: "You daft prat - you've put us all in trouble now.

"Terry's gonna play centre back now, you fool!"

Well the players certainly seem to have misjudged the public mood. None of the people I've spoken to backed them over this so-called strike.

Strike, my backside! These players are just lucky enough to be born with a genetic code which means they can kick a ball to another person, barely accurately, for a period of time.

You're nobody special, all right? You've not saved the world or found a cure for cancer - you can just kick a ball to each other. And for the first half of matches you can't even do that properly.

So stop getting on your high horses when someone bans your team-mate from playing because he's been an idiot.

Do you want some?!

It drives me mad. I thought Beckham might have had a bit more sense and knock a few heads together, but no.

It's a Man United sect that's put this thing together - again. Because you can't say anything to a Man United player without them getting shirty.

I bet when Gary Neville goes and buys fish and chips, the bloke behind the counter says "do you want salt and vinegar?" and Neville says: "What do you mean by that? Are you having a go?!"

They're so bloody neurotic at Man U it makes me sick. I don't think the FA come out of it smelling of roses, but the lad didn't take a drug test when he should have done - end of story.

The whole thing's backfired on them. The fact that they were prepared to jeopardise our European Championship place has really got people's backs up.

Exactly. The players can't win now, even if they do win - if you know what I mean. If they get the right result, we'll all be saying bloody good job too after all that fuss.

David Beckham scores with that free kick against Greece
We need a moment of magic

If they lose we're gonna say what did you expect, after all that fuss - so somebody's going to have to do something heroic, like a last minute Beckham free kick, to get us back on side, because they've been a disgrace.

All this has detracted form the game itself. The Turks must be loving it, but I'm not feeling that confident about getting a result.

I'm not. Mind you, I never was. As far as the England players are concerned, stop moaning and get on with it. You get paid oodles of cash - it's pathetic.

Next we have Gerry Flynn from Scotland, who says: I think it's a disgrace that someone like Derek 'Robbo' Robson is allowed to write on the BBC website.

Oh aye?!

He should remember that BBC stands for British Broadcasting Corporation and not English Broadcasting Corporation.

His comments regarding Chris Sutton's possible inclusion in the England squad show that he only thinks about England.

Well, you're right, Gerry - I do only think about England. If I wasted any of me head space thinking about Scottish football I'd go mad.

If you get a decent Scottish player they'll want a move to England eventually. It was always the way - back in the 70s you had decent teams like Man United and Leeds full of Scots, in the 80s it was Liverpool.

Kenny Dalglish
Scotland has produced some half-decent players

They all want to come down here because it's better. And they get paid more money. That's why I think about England more.

There was a lot of angry people who wrote in following your comments about the Rangers-Celtic game suggesting you've got it in for Scotland and you in fact hate the Scots.

I don't hate the Scots at all. They're very welcome to come down here and play in our leagues. Some of them are pretty good in fact.

But you do keep banging on about how good the league is up there, and Celtic and Rangers are out of sight already - and they've only played eight games! It's not much of a league if you ask me.

Outside of football, you've got lovely countryside and I love the sound of bagpipes, I really do....OK, I can't stand the bagpipes, but I like your accents, the heather on the hills and all that.

I've got nothing against Scots persae, but Scottish football I can take or leave.

OK. Last one now, from Billy Boy: At last we can forget about football and settle down to watch a proper sport. The Rugby World Cup promises to be the best ever. I reckon New Zealand will win it, but good luck to all the home nations.

See, Billy Boy's just like Uncle Robbo - good luck to all the home nations - including the three who don't have a cat in hell's chance of winning it.

Well I think England might win it - that's where me money's going. My only hope is that when they play South Africa, the ground's near a hospital.

I think the biggest danger to us not winning the tournament is if there's too many of our lads on drips after that match.

Jonny Wilkinson
Psst, have a fiver on England

Apart from that, I think we've got a good chance, although I've got a horrible feeling the Australians will win it because they're at home.

Whatever happens, it would be fantastic if we got to the final. In Jonny Wilkinson we've got a great match-winner and I think we're gonna do it, Christopher lad!

As for the football boys, try and prove us all wrong - keep your gobs shut, your private parts in your trousers and drive your cars at sensible speeds - all them things that the rest of us seem to do perfectly capably.

So good luck to England - and Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and everyone else.

Nice one, Robbo.

Ta-ta, son.

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Derek 'Robbo' Robson
"You've not saved the world or found a cure for cancer"

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