Richard Ord: One in the eye for England supporters

EURO 2012: England giving blood, sweat and snot

EURO 2012: England giving blood, sweat and snot

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HAS an England team ever promised so little and, free from the shackles of expectation, gone on to deliver, well, even less?

The performance against France this week made the Royal Thames Pageant look like the opening chase scene of a James Bond movie.

I’m sorry, but while I’ve no doubt England midfielder Scott Parker gave his all for his country, that ‘all’ largely consisted of sweat, snot and saliva. Parker’s all doesn’t include much football.

“He covered every blade of grass,” I was told. Great. But that’s the quality usually sought in a lawnmower not an international footballer.

Is it really too much to ask for some attacking flair football? Judging by Monday’s showing the answer is a resounding yes … with a follow up index finger in the eye.

Even my footy-mad children couldn’t muster any enthusiasm. “Give me a shout if there’s a goal,” said my youngest, Isaac, eight, refusing to budge from his trampoline in the garden. Our Bradley, 11, lasted until half-time. “Can you give me a lift to the park,” he said. The lure of kicking a swing and hanging upside down from a tree branch proving a greater draw than our national team.

The awful second half went on to prove a great advert for hanging from trees.

Even the commentators struggled to muster any enthusiasm. Young England hopeful Jordan Henderson was greeted with the words “he may not be everyone’s idea of an international footballer.” Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Perhaps it’s all a cunning plan of Roy Hodgson’s making. Fool them into thinking we’re a bunch of no-hopers by playing like, erm, a bunch of no-hopers … before unleashing hell on Sweden.

I certainly hope so. As it is, mowing the lawn with a Parker-esque gusto has more appeal than watching that lot.

The tale of the England team visiting a Polish orphanage before tonight’s Sweden game springs to mind. “It’s nice to put a smile on the sad faces of those with little hope,” said Tomasz Kowalski, aged six.

AN ADVERT in the Echo this week extolled the virtues of the latest health craze to hit the city.

Platinum Dance Studio in Church Street North is offering a tantalising combination of Pilates and Boxing, under the not so tantalising title of Pilloxing.

Still, better than my exercise mash-up of the shot putt and fighting. Great idea, I thought, but the conjoined name was never going to catch on*.

(* I mean, Fightputt, who’d want to do that?)

YOU know those high-energy X-ray photons radiating from the cosmos? Well, isn’t it about time we started looking a little closer at them to understand more about our universe?

Worry ye not.. There’s no need to go scrabbling for your binoculars, Durham University professors have got it covered, according an impenetrable story in the Echo this week.

We reported that the university has played some part in the development of the Nasa-led $170million NuStar observatory satellite nestled on board the Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL vehicle which was due to be released from an aircraft flying south of the Kwajalein Atoll last week to study the remnants of supernovae in galaxy clusters held together, they believe, by dark matter.

But, hey, you probably knew that already. (They had me at Kwajalein.)

The story revealed the university helped develop the instruments on the E-ELT. Given the complexity of the NuStar mission, I braced myself for what the initials E-ELT stood for.

How relieved I was to discover it stands for the European Extremely Large Telescope. That’s more like it. Keep it simple. Why can’t all science be so straightforward? More Big Noisy Rockets and less Orbital Sciences Pegasus XLs, I say.

To my further delight I discovered the E-ELT was build to replace, wait for it, the VLT … Very Large Telescope! Brilliant.

It is all a far cry from the first and, at its time (1969), the most powerful telescope the world had ever seen, the TRT.

Here’s to the Tiny Rubbish Telescope, sadly decommissioned in 1976.