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November 25, 2022

“IF I was on that field, I’d have a sit down” lesbian icon Jess Fishlock said on the BBC Radio Wales commentary for Wales’s embarrassing 2-0 loss to Iran at the World Cup…

Well, she couldn’t have done worse than the men and may even have added something from a seated position, particularly if she was kitted out in rainbow colours and carrying a slogan or two to reflect the new progressive Cymru.

She could have formed a seated midfield triangle consisting of lesbians and women of colour strategically designed to let the opposition score to show Wales is a country which prides itself on its tolerance, gratitude and deep respect for other nationalities by letting in more than even Drakeford and Price would allow. She might even have scored a few own goals from a seated position, too, maybe to highlight issues around mental and physical disabilities. Heck, why not let her change the colour of the ball to black or a sort of rusty brown to really seal the deal.

She was most vocal and effective after the match in discouraging phone-in callers – one complaining about £15 for a pint of beer in Qatar – from voicing their obvious disappointment and disgust at how such richly remunerated sports people could perform so abysmally as if everyone should just be grateful for whatever the footballers did (a general and universal approach at BBC Wales, where robust criticism and fierce confrontational inquiry and assertion is totally lost in a sea of deep denial, political paralysis and paralysing compromise).

Indeed, Cardiff-born Wales women’s soccer team striker Fishlock seemed, in her commentary, to be shielding more than exposing players in a largely protective way and her comments seemed more grounded in west coast psychotherapy for “oppressed minorities” than in ruthlessly assertive Brian Clough-style winner takes it all bollockings and blistering barricades.

Would Fishlock drop Bale and Ramsey for the England game, she was asked, and answered that she didn’t know. Did she know anything or is asking a direct question and expecting a direct answer itself an oppressive micro-aggression now?

She was there, of course, to represent women but her utterances seemed mildly moronic, completely gutless and flat-footed with frequent uses of “don’t” when she should have used “doesn’t” to be grammatically correct and send the right message to our children.

Owen Money, yet another ancient over-rated relic overpaid and over here who doesn’t any longer cut it, took over the reins from the sports team to “cheer us up” after the match. That, by itself, would be enough to make the red and rainbow wall jump off a bridge.

This was a woefully inept performance by a Dad’s Army past their sell-by-date which I didn’t see but heard on the radio.

The elephant in the room, of course, is the disastrous appointment in 2018 of Ryan Giggs as Wales manager by the Welsh FA. Poor Rob Page was given first a caretaker role before getting the job but he was never a first choice and would not, ordinarilly, have got a sniff.

The preparation for this World Cup needs, now, to be properly assessed and evaluated to establish how effective it was then a completely new regime introduced quickly to jettison underperforming veterans and hopefully uncover some new talent and build a long-term strategy for success.

Just don’t ask Jess Fishlock to decide. She’d have to sit on it for a while.

But let us not, under any circumstances, have a victory parade through the centre of Cardiff ending at the Senedd with Dr Doom embracing these players and pinning silly medals on them in a glorious bunfight with lots of icing and cakes.

The boys of 58 genuinely definitely did deserve that but this lot definitely does not.

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