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Football: Fans' Zone; Continentals better? It's just a myth!

Byline: By Mark Coyle

ISEE the FA have fixed it so that the inaugural "new" Wembley final will be played out between American Dollars and Russian Roubles; sorry, I mean Manchester United and Chelsea.

How utterly predictable. It seems perverse somehow that the "world's greatest cup competition" is increasingly dominated by four clubs who cheapen the event by continually fielding weakened sides while chasing other more lucrative prizes.

The end of season awards are fast approaching and I'm going out on a limb here and boldly predict that our beloved sports writers will select Ronaldo then proceed to fawn and drool, heaping on the hyperbole, while doing their utmost to out-superlative each other.

You may label me a small minded Englander, a xenophobe. Do you know what? Guilty as charged. Ronaldo is a cheat and I console myself with the fact that the good Lord has seen fit to curse him with terminal acne.

But then the sports writers regularly confuse opinion with fact. They've always pandered to this myth that anything from the Continent is infinitely better than the best that dear old blighty can muster. "Giving it to a British born player is so 1970s, darling. Besides, we had fat Frank last year so you can forget about your token Brit for a decade or so."

What have the foreigners introduced into our game? Diving, feigning injury, long greasy hair, Alice bands, advertising tight fitting pants and dodgy French cars, oh - and eating pasta.

Clearly it will be a long time before we see a Coventry City player in such "exalted" company.

However, give me Kevin Kyle over Bobby Zamora, Colin Hawkins over Anton Ferdinand and Micky Doyle over Lee Bowyer and yes, Stephen Hughes over Nigel Reo-Coker or any other of the baby Bentley brigade.

Messrs Dowie and Flowers are restoring my faith in the ethics of hard work and integrity above greed.

Talking of money, I see feverish anticipation of the impending potential Sky Blues' takeover has been greeted with all the excitement usually reserved in the past for the signing of a truly top class player.

What's going on with the game? Why are Americans falling over themselves to invest dollars into ailing companies? Are we missing something here? Venture capitalists are hovering over our football clubs like those huge lumbering spaceships in the film Independence Day and, frankly, it scares me. Where's Will Smith when you need him?

It's funny, though, that suddenly everyone is an expert in venture capital, non-binding agreements and good business models, while wandering around with a copy of the FT casually wedged under their arm and listening to the Five Live money show.

Finally, on another subject completely, I see that Man City are about to jettison Stuart Pearce. Who do they think they are? Us?
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 15, 2007
Words:467
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