England put on a great display tonight in their Group 6 World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan, winning 5-1, and the hero of the piece was Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, who had fans chanting his name until well after the final whistle had blown.
Cole played a 'blinder', that is, like a blind man. He marked his 68th international appearance, by making a horrendous howler of a backpass on 68 minutes, letting in Kazakh striker Zhambyl Kukeyev, who gratefully and gleefully made it 2-1.
To their credit, England fans did not batter an eyelid.
Cole was 'cheered' every time he touched the ball, and even had time to wave and smile to the crowd when the ball was upfield. They responded by giving him the two-fingered Victory salute, and telling him to:
"Get back to Barbados!"
England's Italian coach Fabio Capello said after the game:
"We don't have letter 'j' in Italian. Wayne Bridge will be fit again soon."
Cole said later:
"The fans were great. They're so forgiving, that's why they're the best in the world!"
Today, Cole was being feted as the new darling of English football. Arsenal fan, Stavros Theolonikus, said:
"He's the new darling of the English game. Like that other c*nt, Alistair Darling!"