Roy Hodgson officially assumed duty as the new English national team manager on May 14th last year despite only having won one trophy in 23 years - the Danish Superliga title with FC Copenhagen.
To celebrate this bizarre choice, we reprint an earlier article that questions the integrity of Our Great Leader.
A Drama in Four Acts based around a football match between Fulham and Wigan Athletic
ROY HODGSON, currently manager of the England National Football Team. At the time of the play, he was manager of Fulham FC. Represented by Base Soccer Agents.
ANDY JOHNSON, currently a striker at Queens Park Rangers FC. At the time of the action, he was a forward at Fulham FC. A client of Base Soccer Agents.
BOBBY ZAMORA, now employed at Queens Park Rangers FC. When the play is set, he was a striker at Fulham FC. A client of Base Soccer Agents.
BASE SOCCER AGENTS, representing Paul Konchesky of Fulham and Emerson Boyce of Wigan Athletic from the match in addition to the three individuals above.
JOHN COLQUHOUN, Fulham FC club agent at the time of the play and responsible for numerous signings involved in the match. Co-owner of Key Sports Management.
CHRIS KIRKLAND, currently goalkeeper at Sheffield Wednesday. Represented by John Colquhoun/ Key Sports Management and Wigan Athletic goalkeeper at the time the play is set.
WASSERMAN MEDIA GROUP, representing Fulham/Wigan Athletic players from the match - Danny Murphy, Emile Heskey and Simon Davies.
STELLAR FOOTBALL LTD, agents representing Lee Cattermole (Wigan at time of the action) and Aaron Hughes of Fulham FC.
ENGLAND FOOTBALL SQUAD FOR EURO 2012, 23 members featuring 6 players from Stellar Football Ltd, 2 from Key Sports Management, 4 individuals from Wasserman Media Group and 2 from Base Soccer Agents. Managed by Roy Hodgson (from Base Soccer Agents).
MICHEL PLATINI, President of UEFA, a man who has identified match-fixing as the biggest danger to the future of football.
ROB WAINWRIGHT, Director of Europol.
The action takes place at Craven Cottage, London on or around Wednesday 29th October 2008 and features an English Premier League football match between Fulham and Wigan Athletic, and at Wembley in May and June 2012.
Craven Cottage in late October 2008.
Andy Johnson has been signed by Roy Hodgson/ John Colquhoun for £10 million but hasn't scored a goal in over 6 months since joining Fulham.
Together with fellow striker Bobby Zamora, also signed by Roy Hodgson/ John Colquhoun, the two forwards had only scored one goal between them in 15 matches in the 2008/09 season.
Questions were being asked in the media about the poor returns for the financial outlay.
Roy Hodgson and at least 10 of the players on the pitch at the start of the match were represented by either Base Soccer Agents, Wasserman Media Partners, Key Sports Management or Stellar Football Ltd.
In the hour leading up to the kick off, we registered suspicious insider betting patterns on the match between Fulham and Wigan Athletic.
The outcome was in the market prior to the match.
Craven Cottage on the evening of Wednesday 29th October 2008.
Fulham won the match 2-0.
Andy Johnson scored both goals.
Fulham only had two shots on target.
Comments on the performance of Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland by an analyst: "Made no attempt with first goal scored from 1 metre - foolishly committed himself before displaying revealing body language in his remonstrations with the assistant referee. Looks like a startled rabbit caught in the headlights. Stood claiming for a goalkick while an attack continued with a goal only prevented by the intervention of Figueroa. Looks wired. Mis-timed run from goal to address through ball; defender has to clear putting Fulham on the attack. In the Second Half, poor clearances, seemingly deliberate uncertainty whenever the ball was in the area, a clearance straight to the opposition, before once again committing himself to allow the second goal, after failing to give a call to his defenders. Appeared to make his body area as small as possible for the second goal."
After Johnson scored his first goal, he lifted his shirt to reveal a '100 League Goals' vest-top, as, despite not having registered since March, this was his 100th career goal.
Being a midweek match, the affair ended only 40 minutes before the BBC Match of the Day programme featuring all of the midweek games.
After the highlights of the Fulham match, Johnson was interviewed.
When asked about the vest-top, he gushed words to the effect that: "Some lads at the club told me to get it done this week when they knew I was going to score tonight."
On returning to the studio, Alan Hansen had a look of horror on his face.
For fully two minutes, he and Gary Lineker attempted to explain how a forward was prescient enough to be so certain of scoring in the match that a '100 League Goals' top was created when he hadn't scored a goal in nearly 7 months.
Wembley on 16th May 2012.
The England squad for the Euro 2012 Finals in Poland/ Ukraine announced by the new England manager, Roy Hodgson.
Alongside the obvious key selections, there are a number of surprising/ very surprising players in the squad: Jack Butland (Stellar Football Ltd), Martin Kelly (Stellar Football Ltd), Phil Jones (Key Sports Management), Jordan Henderson (Wasserman Media Group - although he seemingly oscillates between WMG and Key Sports), Phil Jagielka (Stellar Football Ltd), Ashley Young (Base Soccer Agents), Scott Parker (Wasserman Media Group), Theo Walcott (Key Sports Management), Joleon Lescott (Wasserman Media Group).
In total, 14 players out of the 23 member squad are represented by just four firms of football agents and Steven Gerrard (Wassermann Media Group) and Jordan Henderson are respectively the England team and Under-21 captains. John Colquhoun/ Key Sports Management only have four English players of any note on their books - Walcott and Jones are in the full squad while Ryan Bertrand and Josh McEachran are in the Under-21's.
English players in the EPL are represented by over 30 firms of agents (ignoring the family linkage ones).
It is statistically highly unlikely that the England Euro 2012 squad was so unbalanced by accident.
Roy Hodgson: "I have chosen players... on what I have seen in the Premier League over the last couple of years."
We would like to put forward a number of questions regarding the above.
- Is it conceivable that Roy Hodgson/ John Colquhoun knew nothing about the fixing of the match between Fulham and Wigan in the 2008/09 season (Colquhoun bets professionally on football matches)?
- They need not have gained financially by betting on the event to be outside the law - Antonio Conte (the Juventus manager) was banned for 10 months (later reduced to four) for simply being aware of two fixed matches when he was manager of Siena in Serie B. Conte was accused of not passing on knowledge of the match fixing in these games. Burkino Faso manager Paul Put is banned for life from Belgian football for match-fixing in 2007 at Lierse.
- Is it conceivable that Roy Hodgson chose his Euro 2012 squad on a meritocratic basis when ALL the questionable selections AND over 60% of the squad AND the captain were represented by Base, Wasserman, Key Sports or Stellar?
- Does Roy Hodgson receive any 'rewards' for the inflation in player value created through these obtuse selections? Birmingham City turned down a Southampton bid of £6 million for Jack Butland earlier in the season - prior to his inclusion in the Euro 2012 squad, he was valued at £200,000.
- Do Key Sports Management, Wasserman Media Group, Stellar Football Ltd and the Base Soccer Agents operate as a form of inner circle or fragmented cartel?
- If so, shouldn't the Premier League be taking a forensic interest in events where such agencies have potentially match-controlling influences like the match above...
- ... or, say, the Merseyside derby - Carragher, Johnson, Kelly, Gerrard, Henderson, Shelvey, Wisdom, Howard, Baines, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Osman and Naismith are all represented by Base, Wasserman or Stellar. No potential confusions of focus for these 14 players then! And players are with an agent for life while, in general, playing for numerous clubs.
- So, who gains most from these structures? Who has the most value-added? What on earth does it mean for the future of the beautiful game in England? What about the players who are out of the cartel?
Non-meritocratic structures mean England continue to fail in tournaments so that some individuals might enhance their bank balances.
If games are fixed then fans, bettors, television companies, peripheral bookmakers and relegated teams are suffering from fraudulent events and might seek recompense in a court of law.
If bookmakers don't expose the insider trading and choose to trade this knowledge elsewhere for financial gain, what is left of integrity at the top of the English game?
And if Roy Hodgson/ John Colquhoun had any inkling that the Fulham/ Wigan Athletic match (or indeed any other match) was fixed, should they not be banned for non-disclosure?
Rob Wainwright: "Given the scale of corruption involved, it would be naive and complacent to think that the criminal conspiracy does not affect the English game."
Michel Platini: "If tomorrow, we go watch a game already knowing the outcome, football is dead."
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