Tommy Cooper's statuesque profile of Fabio Capello, or is it the other way round, filled the England dugout. Then Fabio 'Cooper' Capello told another joke;
A man walked into the doctors, he said "I've hurt my arm in several places"
The doctor said, "well don't go there any more".
At that moment on the pitch Robert Green, the England and West Ham goal keeper had just brought down a Croation player in the penalty area…
Stuck up around the dugout was this typed scribe, as one of Tommy Capello-Cooper motivation tools;
"Tommy Cooper was introduced to the Queen after a Royal Command Performance.
- 'Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?' said Tommy.
'No, ..." said the Queen, '....but I might not be able to give you a full answer.'
'Do you like football?' said Tommy.
'Well not really ' said the Queen.'
'In that case, ...' said Tommy, '....do you mind if I have your Cup Final Tickets?'
Over cups of tea we laughed out loud in the England dugout during Croatian match about that joke. Fabio Capello has that on his wall at home, in his office and in all the England dugouts.
Robert Green the first England goalkeeper, to have ever been given the red card, was now being sent off. As Robert Green trudged off, instead of getting irritated Fabio Capello cracked another typical Tommy Cooper joke;
"That Robert Green has been watching the Green Street hooligan film again! Bring on Calamity James!!"
As Davis James quickly got ready, out came another typical Tommy Cooper special motivation talk from Fabio Capello, "Dive the wrong way when the Croationa takes the penalty, that will put him off and he will hit the post!!"
David James did as he was instructed and it happened just as Tommy Cooper-Fabio-Capello predicted! No wonder everybody in the dugout laughed and it is this style of Tommy Cooper man management techniques by Fabio Capello, that have helped England qualify for the World Cup Finals in South Africa.
I had been imbedded into the England team set up for some days now, as an on the spot reporter in combat. They had issued me with a full uniform and had given me the tools to do the job…
As planned, the England team went in at half time 1-0 down!! In the England dressing room was Stephen Gerrard's full sized Magic Roundabout whirling round for the entire interval with the whole of the England sitting on it in relaxation mode.
Fabio-Tommy-Cooper-Capello gave them a team talk;
- "Two Aerials meet on a roof - fall in love - get married.
The ceremony was rubbish but the Reception was brilliant."
"Man goes to the doc, with a strawberry growing out of his head.
Doc says, "I'll give you some cream to put on it".
"Doc, I can't stop singing the green green grass of home."
"That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome".
"Is it common?"
"It's not unusual".
"A guy walks into the psychiatrist wearing only cling film for shorts.
The shrink says, "Well, I can clearly see you're nuts".
It is that type of inspiration that makes the England football team, the team they now are. In the second half, ten man England conceded no goals…
At the end of the match, Tommy-Fabio-Cooper, gave another insightful joke to us all;
- "So I was in my car, and I was driving along, and my boss rang up, and he said, "You've been promoted". And I swerved.
And then he rang up a second time and said "You've been promoted again".
And I swerved again. He rang up a third time and said, "You're managing director".
And I went into a tree. And a policeman came up and said, "What happened to you?"
And I said, "I careered off the road".
Whether Fabio Capello swerves off the road in South Africa, using Tommy Cooper jokes, only time will tell…