::: FistedAway today welcomes a guest post from Elliott, editor of the rather lovely Futfanatico :::
The Capello reign of England has been characterised by one theme: discipline. From intense training sessions to WAG and cell phone bans, the Italian has instilled a meritocratic selection regime fueled by the foot soldier’s mentality. Which makes the recent untrue rumour of his prank on Michael Owen all the more shocking.
Owen has been Capello’s bogeyman, his mercurial form for Manchester United eliciting calls for selection and rejection, sometimes in the same day. Yet a telephone call by the Italian a few months ago set in chain a prank crueller than the injury inducing fate of the striker’s blotted career.
Capello rang Owen a few months ago, ostensibly to tell the striker to keep track of his old England shirts as keepsakes. Yet, to Owen’s shock, our lie spewing sources indicate that Capello told Michael that “a special somebody with a bum knee was going to South Africa.” Owen of course thought that meant Owen Hargreaves, but the Italian asked him to guess again. “”Of course! Gareth Owen of Port Vale!”. After a long and awkward pause while the striker racked his brains some more, Capello hung up. Owen was ecstatic.
The Englishman’s booming smile lit up the Red Devils training ground like the new white black and gold Umbro Speciali boots he sometimes accidentally holds up in interview photoshoots. His mischievous grin even provoked the wrath of Sir Alex Ferguson. The Scot had instructed his striker to practice his “hopeless but not despondent face” while sitting on the bench and watching Wayne Rooney stretch. However, the upside down frown made Sir Alex feel the clown, and he banished Owen from the ground.
Undeterred even by Sir Alex’s antics, Owen remained upbeat. Like a doomsday comet, though, he soon crashed down to earth. The Daily Mirror delivered the rude awakening, reporting that Fabio Capello had undergone ACL surgery. The front page, picturing the smiling Italian on crutches, will forever manifest itself verbally in Owen’s psychological treatment sessions. Current England squad members have bravely defended their countrymen, albeit incoherently.
Frank Lampard asserted that an unfit Fabio Capello “absolutely positively cannot go to South Africa” because it would “kill the team’s spirit.” When made aware that coaches can sit on a bench or chair for an entire match, he retorted “well, you college boys have all the answers”. John Terry yet again proffered some instantly forgettable combination of the words “man…stand up…passion…bull by the horns”, continuing his spotless run of failing to acknowledge their homoerotic connotations. Steven Gerrard was available for comment, but not interviewed at the editor’s discretion, as the Liverpool captain’s lip was trembling unnervingly.