Tiger Woods could be heading for golfing oblivion, Fabio Capello is in the doghouse and David Beckham has been cruelly put out to pasture. Yes, it's just another week in the crazy and cut-throat world of top-class sport. Winners are now big-time losers, reporters act as judge, jury and executioner and the real action is never what is happening on the field.
During the six weeks since Germany thrashed England 4-1 in the World Cup, the recriminations have been long and loud. First, there was the disappointing news that Capello, our now discredited coach, would be remaining in his £6 million per year post. The FA (Football Association) toyed with the Italian for a few days, before making the announcement on 2 July that dashed the hopes of all blood sports fans in the British media. With Fabio refusing to do the decent thing and resign, most believed it would have been just too expensive for the FA to get rid of him.
Capello's head was safe — for now — so attention switched to those England players who had the temerity to slip into their designer swimming trunks and jet off on expensive foreign holidays, rather than languish in sackcloth and ashes. Still, this did mean that the rest of us got to enjoy regular updates on Frank Lampard's romance with TV presenter Christine Bleakley, and the progress of Wayne Rooney's suntan. Where was the shame, the penitence or even the sunscreen?
The vacation couldn't last forever: the fates decreed that England would play another friendly before the new Premier League season kicks off this weekend. So Hungary, once aristocrats of the European game in the days of Puskas, came to Wembley for one of those matches that no one really wants but everyone feels obliged to talk about ad nauseam.