Last week one of my bets went awry – hardly a cause for shock and horror – but the manner in which it was scuppered was seriously annoying so I wanted to share this with you.
The bet was a simple wager on who would make Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the Euros this summer. Wheras the Irish squad selection was largely cut and dried there was quite an active betting market on who would make the England Squad. With a new manager in place there was quite a bit of guesswork to be done. We’ve all got our opinions on who is best and with competitive games coming up you could be assured Roy would pick his best squad.
Thinking that Roy Hodgson would select Ben Foster – his no 1 keeper at West Brom all season – I had a cheeky punt on Foster making the squad. Now Foster had “retired” in the past, but these area lot like David Haye “retirements” and I’d read he was ready to “un-retire” himself for Roy. Roy duly selected Ben Foster – well that is to say he would have selected him – but Foster said he couldn’t really be bothered to represent his country in a major tournament thank you very much and didn’t fancy really travelling all that way just to sit on the bench. And then he went shopping for a new car or something really important, probably.
As you can imagine, I was not best pleased.
This isn’t a Sunday afternoon kick around with nothing at stake. This is the biggest European competition of them all. There are people who would literally commit murder to be in the squad.
What a winner Ben Foster is. What a man. Take a bow son.
I know it isn’t much fun travelling and not playing, especially with such a band of thoroughly dislikeable reprobates as Terry, Lampard, Cole etc. But that’s really not the point. It’s not about what Ben Foster wants! Where is his sense of duty? His country might need him. International duty should mean exactly that – duty. In a lot of countries professional footballers wouldn’t even have a choice in the matter.
What do you think Steven Donald would make of Ben Foster?
Last October Steven Donald kicked a penalty in the Rugby World Cup final for New Zealand against France and they won the tightest ever final 8-7. He was New Zealand’s fourth choice fly half. He came off the bench at half time after Aaron Cruden got injured. Cruden was replacing Colin Slade, who in turn was called up as a substitute when Dan Carter, the best fly half in the business, got crocked. That’s how to act in a team sport. You turn up and get on with it. And even if you don’t enjoy it you make sure you are seen enjoying yourself. Because it’s not about you, it’s about the team.
Do you think Steven Donald expected to get a game? Course not – but he didn’t pussy out and he did his duty. He joined the squad and did his bit. And he got his reward, against all the odds. You see – you just never know in team sport. Even Chelsea can win a Champions League against all logic. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket. Yes I know England are shit but Foster will never know what might have been because he hasn’t got the strength of character to get off his arse and put himself out for other people doing something that is mildy inconvenient.
If that’s your attitude then you may as well not turn up because you’re not guaranteed to win. In fact all of the England team may as well not bother turning up.
Did Jurgen Hingsen jack it all in because he kept coming second to Daley Thompson in the decathlon? Poor bugger had to come second in every major event because he wasn’t quite as good as Daley. But he did his best, he kept on trying at least. And at the end of his career he can say “well I gave it my best”
But what would Ben Foster know about competing? I’m surprised he even makes it to training when it’s a bit too chilly for his liking.
What will Ben Foster say to his grandchildren when he is retired when they ask him about his playing days?
“Well kids, England did ask me to play but I turned them down. Because I couldn’t be bothered”
And they’ll look at him and say “oh” and not really know what to think or say. But there will be disappointment in their eyes.
Foster, you disgust me. You are so utterly contemptible that you’re down there with the nonces and police informants as far as I’m concerned – the lowest of the low. It’s not even right to put your name in the same paragraph as two real men like Jurgen Hingsen and Steven Donald.
You could understand it when Wayne Bridge asked not to be selected for the England side after Terry had been rumping his missus. He said it would have been bad for team morale and he’d have been right. But at least he had the decency to consider the team. I guarantee you Ben Foster does not want England to win now that he is out of the frame. He won’t be cheering and he won’t want them to have any success. (If you think I’m joking, try reading Eamon Dunphy’s “More than a Game?”. In it he tells you a lot about the mentality of the footballer who is out of the team. How would someone of far shallower and weaker character than Dunphy, ie Foster, react, if Dunphy himself wanted his team to fail?)
Michael Carrick did exactly the same thing by the way. Said he didn’t want to travel if he wasn’t pushing for a first team spot. And he utterly sickens me too, although you can bet anything you like he had a guiding hand from Fergie, who has been pulling his players out of international squads for the best part of three decades.
This doesn’t reflect well on Roy Hodgson either. I can imagine he was “disappointed”, but that’s about it. He probably said “Ben I am disappointed” without getting the remotest bit angry at him. But I’m just speculating. Angry or not, it’s the end result that counts and if Fergie had been England manager, if he’d wanted Foster or Carrick to travel, then by God they would have been on that plane by whatever means necessary.
I hope to God that Carrick and Foster are never asked to play again, no matter how desperate the injury situation. They do not deserve anything from their miserable careers.
And of course had I known what a self absorbed, uninterested, doesn’t-understand-team-values and all round butt-f**king quitter (to borrow a phrase from Team America) Ben Foster was, I could have had 5/1 on Norwich keeper John Ruddy. (I might be talking through my wallet just a bit here…)
In the film Team America the Team were sent into North Korea without an actor – “like pigs to the slaughter”. And now in 2012, the English team have been sent to Ukraine without a disinterested mid table playing on-loan-from-second-tier-Birmingham and all round third rate goalkepper.
Pigs to the slaughter indeed.
It tells you so much about the man that he turned down his chance to play for his country. It’s not just about the bored hours sitting on a bench or being around the squad and feeling left out. It’s so much more and it goes to the very essence of what Ben Foster is.
Because for the rest of his life, whenever anyone is with him and there’s a tricky situation afoot, whenever they’ve got their backs to wall and they might need a hand from Ben Foster, you already know before you ask him – right this minute and forever more – that when you request his assistance, his first and only thought will be:
“What’s in it for me?”
And that is the true definition of a proper selfish twat.