Hard calls from men of honour
By Larry Ryan
I noticed this week that a front cover of Sport — the free London magazine — has been nominated for UK magazine cover of the year.
The chosen edition features a stark, close-up portrait of Paul Gascoigne’s haunted, prematurely-aged face. I thought it a little intrusive, to be honest, but each to their own.
Anyhow, looking at it again, you couldn’t help wonder how many of those lines had been drawn by Gazza’s last great disappointment, in that La Manga hotel room, when Glenn Hoddle told him he hadn’t made the cut for World Cup ’98. A wardrobe, a vase and a man were broken. “You know what it means to me, you fucking bastard!”
And then you thought of Kevin Foley on that park bench in Montecatini this week, alone with his bad news. And you sincerely hope he’ll get another chance.
At the same time, let’s leave it at that. When Trap says it’s finished, finished, finished, let’s apply the lid. No manager welcomes these moments. The Italia ’90 shakedown haunted Jack long after. “I should have kept Gary Waddock because Gary was a smashing lad and wanted to play.”
But it’s testament to Trap’s professionalism that he would invite grief over a marginal decision that might just lend us small benefit down the line. Hard calls are for hard, honourable men. Home