Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 May 2016

Billy on the Box: England thought it was all over - and it was

Published 22/06/2012

Spare a thought for Frank Lampard. There he is minding his own business on holidays with Christine and suddenly he’s the talk of Donetsk.

Yes, it’s a major footie championships and where would we be without a goal-line controversy involving England and it duly arrived on Tuesday evening as thanks to the hawkeye reactions of the fifth (or sixth) official, the Ukraine goal that never was took centre stage.

As Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend (English now that his other country has gone home) skirted round the issue, another replay showed that despite the heroic efforts of John Terry (although he couldn’t look, right)he failed to clear the ball before it crossed the line.

“Is this over the line?” asked Andy knowing full well it was leading to an untimely pirate impression from Clive, not so much Bluebeard as Browntongue.

“Harrrr, harrrr — two years ago, Frank Lampard. Do things even out in football?” he guffawed. Yes, that one evened out the one in 1966, so you’re 2-1 up now.

He was at it again later. “Our video analyst boys have been having a good look at that goal that never was and while they’re pretty convinced that it crossed the line” Hang on. Pretty convinced? There are three-year-old blind children who cross the line less in their colouring-in books than how far that ball was over the line.

But it was okay, ‘they’re equally convinced that it was offside in the build-up so, maybe, somehow justice has been done.’ Hmmm, I’m not convinced and I wouldn’t mention that to Oleg Blokhin just now.

“In 1966, Geoff Hurst, we’ll never know, Frank Lampard 2010 we definitely know and I think we’re pretty certain for John Terry 2012. You win some, you lose some, but Mr Blatter are you watching?,” concluded Clive.

Of course not, he was instructing fifth and sixth officials to be on the look-out for anyone with naughty pants and to turn a deaf ear to anything really wrong with football.

And at the end, Clive was in hyper hype mode, England were ‘obstinate and opportunist’ and more importantly ‘unbeatable and unbreakable’. I think he left out ‘unbearable’ but that’ll come if they beat Italy.

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