Warner a one-man wrecking machine

By Raffique Shah
December 11, 2010

Raffique ShahTHE closest I ever got to a football World Cup finals was in London in 1966. No, I was not in Wembley Stadium where England beat West Germany 4-2 in a match that was mired in controversy. My friend, the late Joey Baksh, and I, watched the match on television from a flat near Brixton. That was so close to Wembley, yet beyond the reach of students who could not afford tickets.

Armed with a bottle of scotch, we settled down before the TV expecting to see Germany thrash England. Our preference had nothing to do with politics. If it did, we would have backed England, since the stench of fascism still hovered around Germans 20 years after Hitler and the War.

There was one reason why we chose Germany: it was an English “stopper” named Nobby Stiles. You see, with black consciousness coursing through our veins, our football heroes were Pele and Eusébio. Everyone knows Pele, but few will remember Eusébio. He was a magical player widely viewed as comparable with Pele, and a possible successor to the maestro.

He was black, born in Mozambique, then a colony of Portugal, hence the reason he played for that country. Like Pele, he was also a player marked for on-field death. The English player whose job it was to tackle and break both Pele and Eusébio, was “Nasty Nobby”. Stiles crashed repeatedly into both men when they were miles from the ball, hurting them badly. If my memory serves me right, both players went off the field in the latter stages of the tournament, injured and in tears.

The referees did not eject Stiles, so he stayed on into the finals. I should add that in that tournament were some of the finest footballers the world has ever seen: Lev Yashin (USSR, now Russia), Gordon Banks (England), Franz Beckenbauer, the Charltons. Matches were great and we were lucky to be in England where there was live television coverage.

But Stiles’ brutal tackling of Pele and Eusébio prompted Joey and me to back Germany in the final. Much to our dismay, England won. It was the only time the country that supposedly “invented” the game, won the World Cup. We drowned our sorrow in that bottle of whiskey, cussed, and then fell asleep.

Going down memory lane when one has lived the adventurous and exciting life I have, can be nostalgic. But I must leave the glorious past and address the present. With the advent of global satellite television and live coverage of most big sporting events, I absolutely enjoy the World Cup and Olympic Games from the comfort of my couch.

So I don’t give a damn where these events are staged—South Africa, Korea—what does it matter? Thus, I don’t understand why any country, especially those experiencing economic strife (like England and the USA), would want to stage a multi-billion-dollar tournament that will leave them in even greater debt. I agree with those who say that England should focus instead on trying to win the Cup, not stage the tournament.

However, many countries, among them some of the most troubled in today’s world, pursue this cussed goal with great passion and greater budgets. England stooped so low, they had their Prime Minister, David Cameron, all but kiss Jack Warner’s derriere, in their bid to stage the 2014 tournament. They lowered the bar further by adding Prince William to the begging pool. Really, why would any country go on bended knees to the likes of Warner and Sepp Blatter?

Jack reminds me of a comic strip character called “Joe Btfsplk”, the world’s worst jinx. Mark you, he does not have a jinx: if anything, he had a fairy godmother sitting on his head, guiding him to wherever good fortune lies—in back rooms, on playfields, in luxury hotels, wherever. Still, controversy stalks Jack, whether it’s in football or in politics.

That the Brits actually believed Jack would support their bid to stage the tournament was…well, unbelievable. Yes, they have everything going for them—the best stadia, the biggest and most passionate football fans (except, perhaps, the South Americans), and all other infrastructure that is required for such a huge event.

But they also have a free and fiercely independent media, and even worse, a fearless sports journalist in Andrew Jennings. He has been like a proverbial tick in Jack and FIFA’s backsides. Warner admitted that the British media—the very independent BBC and the conservative Sunday Times—scuttled England’s bid. Their crime? They wrote the truth and they were damned by FIFA’s tin-gods.

Warner is boldface to the point of being incredible. He and his FIFA fellow-clowns have not sued the media anywhere in the world for libel. This course is open to them if the reports the media carry are lies. So what are we to assume? That they are too poor to pursue them legally? That they do not believe they will get justice in England? Or that they are guilty as accused, but do not give a damn?

As if to add bitter cassava to his FIFA-rub, Jack is said to have misled President Obama on the US 2022 bid. I wonder if people understand the implications of this man’s reckless machinations. He is a one-man diplomatic wrecking machine. When the backlash from his misdeeds hits us, we would look back and ask, “How the hell did we end up in this mess?”

9 thoughts on “Warner a one-man wrecking machine”

  1. Fear can be intimidating. We appear to be worried as a result of the allegations leveled against Mr. Warner, because of the role that he is assumed to have played leading to the failure of England and the United States to host the world cup which was given to Russia. We tend to exaggerate our own level of importance. We fear repercussions. It is as if we are actually important. Wiki Leaks tells a different story. Those revelations demonstrate the duplicity fostered by the Unites States against both foes and friends alike and there are those among us who believe for some unknown reason that we have something to fear. Get real, neither England or the United States need a legitimate reason to dump on us if they believe it to be in their best interest. So, wake up.

  2. “He is a one-man diplomatic wrecking machine. When the backlash from his misdeeds hits us, we would look back and ask, “How the hell did we end up in this mess?”

    This is really putting us on a global stage to which we do not belong.
    What backlash? What mess?
    Raffique is delusional in thinking that T&T could be affected diplomatically by this soap opera.Does he really believe that the US is preoccupied with any relationship with T&T?
    Trinis really do have a sense of self importance which is totally amusing.

  3. After all is said and done is’nt it great to see that such a little pea in a sea of pods can have such a great impact, in such a big worldwide event?
    Good for you Brother JACK. JAY JAY

  4. Jack is a ,”little sea in a pea of pods?”Sometime I believe that when it comes to education , and or basic intelligence ,our country has failed miserably ,based on some of the nonsensical responses, and commentaries many of our fellow nationals are putting forth on this here information highway.
    Hey Jay, Jay , in case you were in a drunken stupor since January 24th 2010, this man single handedly changed the entire political dynamics of this entire country of ours,by putting an often ignored ,Indian female woman, in power , after destroying a corrupt political dynasty in the Panday, then his pseudo African rival, 3 months later?
    Base on his FIFA connections, he has help control the political football fortunes in more countries , than the Queen of England, Russian Czar, and half the Presidents of the USA could. How the3 held you think USA qualify over the past five or more world cups since T&T lost to them in , what 1990?
    Just enjoy the ride my friend, and watch your influential Minister of Works ,do what he is good at- namely work the chess pieces- and hope that this government can either last the next 3-4 years , or see if one of Uncle Jack’s numerous foreign, and domestic, enemies can get him first before his maker, yes? Did he not as an African do the unthinkable , and win more margin of votes than his own Siparia PM , in Chagurnas my old hometown,a lifetime, ULF/UNC, non enclave

      1. It is called a typographical error P daisley. Quit behaving as if you are an ignoramous,and instead make a meaningful contribution to the discussion.

  5. Just want to point out that Brazil and Pele did not meet the English in 66. You guys were either watching the wrong channel or just too drunk.
    As for all the Jack stuff well… England is an old lion with no teeth and the US have much bigger fish to fry so don`t worry be happy TandT.

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