Thursday, December 9th, 1999
It is not going to happen! The euphoria that followed the appointment of Kevin Keegan as the supremo of the English football team was a false Hallelujah.
When Kevin was appointed I told soccer friends that it was the wrong choice. Kevin has experience of playing at the highest level and is entitled to a soccer achievements gold medal but to manage the English team successfully accomplishments as a player are not enough. Professors of economics do not necessarily make the best businessmen - in fact in practice few do.
Kevin has a character flaw in that he is too emotional when matters do not work out as he had planned. His distraught flare-up when manager of Newcastle with Alex Ferguson when the Manchester United boss outfoxed him, was the danger sign that he does not have the true grit essential for a manager in international competition. Graham Taylor is similarly affected. Nice guys but doomed to be second best in the highest grade of team management.
The fogey's at the Football Association have again let the fans and national pride badly down.
They did it when they ignored controversial Brian Clough and they have done it again. The rightful England team manager was, and still is, Terry Venables.
As Jeffrey Archer might say, "If you want a saint then don't choose Terry Venables" I say if England want to have at least a chance of winning then Terry Venables must be given the job. Whoever is the England team manager at the time of the commencement of the World Cup will have a very, very difficult task. Therefore, the selection of the right man is absolutely crucial.
The statement I have attributed to Jeffrey Archer is an understandable statement but a saint has never won the World Cup - although Sir Alf Ramsey came close to sainthood through his achievement. However, pious soccer behaviour played no part in his great achievement. When necessary Sir Alf would use successful tactics that would not disgrace a street fighter. No one walked over him. He was a great deal shrewder than Terry Venables and did that which he had to do with far more good thought and discretion than Terry.
History will prove that the old fogey's at Lancaster Gate do not pick the best man for the job when they appoint the England team manager. They insist upon picking the man that is personally best for them. This is an affront to fans and players. The personal opinion of old fogey's based on consideration that have little, or no, conection, with soccer should be invalid and the final choice should always be the best man available for the job.
Terry Venables is the man that should be the England team manager. If the people at the FA do they their job correctly they will recognise this and be honest enough to admit they were wrong, again, and offer Kevin Keegan an 'upstairs job' or any other diplomatic way out.
Kevin is an honest man and it would be no surprise to me that should he recognise his limitations and form the opinion that another could do the job better, he won't wait for the FA to act and will tender his resignation. In my view I believe Kevin made the wrong decision when he parted from Fulham. He was doing a great job there, was thoroughly enjoying himself and would have taken the club to the Premier League with the help of Chairman Mr Mohamad Al Fayed.
Managing the England team requires a special type of individual and as much as I respect Kevin Keegan for his soccer achievements and good personality, he is not that man.
There is no doubt that anything that proves popular in The United States travels over the Atlantic and arrives at the shores of this country.
Unfortunately, it appears that the Americans have taken some of our better attributes and we have adopted some of the worst characteristics from the land of the Stars and Stripes, in particular the worship of materialism that is the facade that hides greed, greed, greed.
However, there is one terrible aspect that should it come to this country of ours will prove disastrous. The present serious problems that afflict the streets of our towns and cities will seem like a gambol in the park in comparison. This very dark cloud is the street gangs that afflict the streets of some USA cities that are often based on the practice of racism.
The definition of racism has been twisted to suit political purposes to mean that racism is white people's aversion against black people. This is yet another political distortion that has about as much resemblance to the truth as any lie.
Racism comes in any colour and is a belief in the superiority of one race against another.
To suggest racism may mean anything else is dangerous and like any lie the more often it is said the greater becomes the mistaken belief that it is true. Racism is rife in Africa. President Mugabe the president of Zimbabwe issued a proclamation that he will appropriate the legally owned farmland property of white citizens of the country farmers and give the land to black citizens. This is racism at its worst because it has the seal of the ruling authority. This is just one example. In other black countries racism against white people is well known. Many Muslim and Jewish parents refuse to allow their children to marry people outside of their religion. Many Indians despise Pakistani's and vice versa. Israeli's hate Arabs and, again, vice versa and so on. The list is long.
The media is terrified to expose racism by black people in this country and treats racism with
the courage of a coward. This is wrong and in the long term will be a serious disservice to the black community.
In the street gangs of the USA colour plays a crucial role. The black gangs are restricted to blacks. Hispanics have their own gangs. The whites, the Vietnamese, the Chinese and their own groups and so on.
In Los Angeles this year alone 100 members of gangs have died in territorial wars. This makes homicide the most common cause of death for that city's teenagers.
In the night and early hours of the morning it is common to hear the whir of the police helicopter as its flashing searchlight lights up the streets as police investigate another gang killing.
The common form of execution is either by a car driving past the victim or a street confrontation. The deaths are not confined to gang members and the list is long of innocent people on the streets who have also become victims.
The words of gangsta rap idolise the behaviour by the gangs and one song by rapper Ice T forecasts that, 'The gangs of La will never die/Just multiply". Los Angeles does not stand alone other major US cities have similar stories to relate about the gangs.
The LA police reaction is to form a squad known as CRASH (Community resources Against Street Hoodlums). The latest police statistics show that that there are 61,406 members in the 409 LA street gangs.
Respected members of the communities are desperately trying to stem the tide but it is an uphill struggle and they deserve genuine respect for their courage and foresight.
Before the UK politicians resort to the obvious and tell us they are going to bring in draconian measures and build more prisons to combat any danger from street gangs I am going to tell them this would be a wrong policy and will fail miserably.
The threat of punitive punishment and long term prison sentences are not the answer because only a fool commits a crime knowing he will be caught. Very often a street gang killing is a result of an order from the top hierarchy of the gang which has filtered down to a soldier. So if the actual killer is caught he will have followed orders like any soldier.
The real answer is for politicians to show foresight. If that is beyond their capabilities then they have to follow the advice of those with this good sense and give youngsters opportunities that are better than the attractions offered by the street gangs. The communities have to harness teen power and develop it.
A plan to build Centres that will offer all sorts of facilities not just for sport, although this is vitally important but also for IT educational learning resources and other activities should be put into immediate effect. These Centres should be made so attractive that membership should be coveted.
Anyone who suggests that these centres should be cost effective and pay for themselves should be exiled to an island in the Outer Hebrides. They should be a community benefit with no regard for balance sheets that please accountants.
Youngsters working could be charged affordable fees. Those not working or concessionaires should be offered special terms - if necessary free admission. So good should be the facilities and attraction of these centres that misbehaviour that causes loss of membership should be a severe loss to the offenders.
Jobs are also a tremendous asset to keep young people on the straight and narrow. Employment must be created and small businesses encouraged. The high Business Rate charges are a major cause of small businesses failing or being shown to be uneconomical. The high cost of business premises is also a very significant drawback to would-be small business entrepreneurs.
Business Rates, Council Tax and central government taxes pay for the alleged free services that local councils and the government provide. It is commonsense that none of these alleged free services are actually free. They have to be paid for and by imposing heavy annual costs on small business ventures, and large businesses, severely restricts the development of job creating trades.
Whatever the cost will be the money should be found because it is a necessary investment in the future and will prove a long-term valuable investment. A much better distribution of tax money has to be invoked and, if necessary, money should be take from politically correct schemes and, even, foreign aid.
I fail to understand corrupt and ungrateful politicians invariably rip off the logic of giving millions of pounds to other countries that when the need of our own people is ignored. Less than a small percentage of foreign aid trickles down to the people for whom it is intended, when our own people are denied essential requirements because of the excuse that government money is not available to pay for essential requirements. This has to be a contradiction of terms. Charity begins at home.
The responsibility of keeping a job, and the many advantages that come with employment, are, and will become even more so in the future, an important safeguard for good behaviour.
Most companies complain of the lack of suitable workpeople. This requires to be analysed and then rectified. Again the cost to do this is unimportant. The money has to be found.
The graffiti is on the wall in bold letters. If the politicians ignore the signs then the cost on the negative results will be horrendous.
The stand I have taken with regard to the Dave Courtney matter has sparked enormous interest, which I suppose is understandable.
To the many people who have asked me to elaborate on the matter I must say that I am not alone in my view and highly respected members of 'The Chaps' fraternity share with me the viewpoints I have expressed. This is nothing more than I expected.
The appearance last month of 'Dodgy' Dave dressed as a court jester to answer his bail may have amused some people. However, I have no doubt that the innocent mother whose allegation that 'Dodgy' Dave was involved in an alleged conspiracy to 'fit' her up with a quantity of a hard line drug, was far from amused.
To give 'Dodgy' Dave every opportunity to prove his innocence in court I propose to allow the matter to rest until the case is fully heard. This is only fair. However, if I do hear anything on the grapevine that I am unable to ignore I will report back to you.
At the present time my reaction to the riposte by 'Dodgy' Dave and the pains he is taking to declare he has done nothing that breaks the code of 'THe Chaps' is probably expressed by paraphrasing the words of the master wordsmith William Shakespeare:
THE MAN PROTESTETH TOO MUCH, METHINKS