King of the Valleys Award 2014

by Charlie_East_West on January 2, 2015


Our King of the Valleys Award is awarded to the person or persons who have seen their reputation plummet the furthest over the course of the last 12 months. The unworthy winner(s) receive our infamous jersey sponsored by dog shit.

In the pantheon of previous King of the Valleys we have a motley crew:-
2010 – Vince Cable moving from national treasure (in his own head) to old fool behaviour after being ensnared in a Telegraph honey trap.

2011 – Dominique Strauss-Khan who slid from being genuine French Presidential credentials and IMF Chair to suspected sexual offender prior to having the charges dropped against him.

2012 – Gideon Osborne won the award for, well, being George Osborne.

2013 – The English Cricket team for not just losing The Ashes, but for giving off the impression that they gave up during the series.

Who has won in 2014? Who or what has gone from hero to zero through 2014?
The winner is the Brazil international football team.

Most football fans admit to having a soft spot for Brazil. Most of us grew up with those iconic players in those iconic yellow and blue kits either winning World Cups or at least going out in glorious failure by trying to play a brand of beach influenced football that was unlike the stale, turgid and cynical football displayed by so many other South American and also European teams. Winning was never enough for Brazil. Playing fearless sexy football was their unique selling point.

In recent World Cups however, Brazil have slowly morphed towards playing football like everyone else. Defensive tactics became more important than showboating trickery, but at least they usual managed to rustle up a few fantastic teams and players. In 2014, that all changed.

As the host nation of the 2014 World Cup, Brazil were expected to reach the latter stages – which they did. However, the alarm bells were ringing with a series of turgid and nervous performances. But, in the back of my own mind was that when it really mattered in the semi final v Germany, Brazil would finally put on the sort of dazzling performance that the likes of Pele and Zico would be proud of.

Instead, Brazil were thumped 7-1 in their own back yard by a ruthlessly exploitative Germany. There was a pretty grizzly 10 minute period in the first half where Brazil conceded 5 goals. German goals were going in before we had witnessed the action replay of the previous goal. Basically, during the latter stages of the first half, Brazil completely gave up. At once stage it looked like Brazil would end up losing 10-0.

It will be remembered as one of the most famous football results of all time. Brazil thumped 7-1 by Germany while hosting the World Cup. My son who was watching, and had heard all the great historical stories about Brazil, probably wondered what the fuck was all the fuss was about. Brazil were playing like a hungover pub side.

It will probably take a generation for Brazilian football to recover from this. But, my humble little bit of advice to Brazilian football is to stop dicking around with trying to play like someone else and just revert back to what we love about their brand of football – unique attack minded football that is off the cuff, expansive and confident rather than playing with defensive fear.

One final recommendation for Brazil is to stop playing in the wrong kit. Call me a traditionalist, but Brazil playing in white shorts is just wrong. They should tell FIFA to shove their petty little kit rules up their corrupt arses, and start playing all their matches in the traditional yellow and blue kit.

It is the little things they need to seek inspiration from to try and reclaim their old magic. Wearing the correct kit right would at least provide a somewhat superficial, yet symbolic symbol of reclaiming their own identity.

The fall of Brazilian football from romantic mythology to nervous quitters ensures that they are, rather sadly, worthy winners of our Valley award in 2014.

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