Friday, June 18
"Who's that idiot walking around on the shirt?"
"I don't know. Let's go and have a word with him"
"Oh, alright Fat Boy!"
He might be an hour late but it turns out it is Fat Boy Slim who is walking around inspecting 'the shirt'. Good of the lad to sign it for us.
"Nice one with the shirt mate" he tells Bjorn, after signing one of the England shirts and, with that, all the super star excitement is over. Norman Cook (AKA Fat Boy Slim) and the rest of us need to get on with the day's other business of drinking excessive quantities of beer and watching England thrash Algeria.
Cape Town Waterfront has been transformed from a wannabee millionaires' classy playground into something more closely resembling a street of boozers in the East End of London. Flags 'adorn' every restaurant balcony and cruise ship advertising hording. Tuneless cries of "Inger-land, Inger-land" fill the air. Most pubs are so full they won't let anyone else in.
Blackburn, who has come dressed for the game in a red and white Michael Caine 'Zulu' uniform, has managed to organise tickets for my Norwegian friends. Meanwhile, Columbian Richard, Robin and I bump into London Mayor and cuddly Torrie, Boris Johnson,stumbling around by himself amongst the drunken tomfoolery. It's too good a photo opportunity to miss although Boris does seem to treat my camera-at-the-ready-handshake with slightly nervous suspicion.
The Cape Town Stadium is within walking distance of the water front although FIFA seem to have gone out of their way to create a series of ingenious metal mazes and bridges made of scaffolding that turn a 10-minute walk into a one-hour long crush.
As is the case with all of South Africa's stadia, Green Point is a fantastic theatre of football. The England fans have certainly turned up. Question is - has the England team?
England are diabolical. Rooney, considered to be the best English player of his generation, can't as much as trap the ball. The rest of the team are ineffectual and, worst of all, seem to be playing without passion or character. It's not that I've got a problem with England under performing or even losing. The main things I want to see from the players are passion and a will to win.
The 0-0 must rate as one of the most inept England performances in years. Even Capello doesn't seem able to conjur up the necessary tactical changes of going at Algeria with two wingers and Gerrard playing behind Rooney for the last quarter of the game.
You won't here me booing my own team during a game but I've got no issue with the fans doing it at the end of a performance like this. They deserved to be booed in Cape Town.
We hear afterwards that Rooney sulked off moaning about the booing. Is this the same player who walked off the pitch and didn't bother to clap the tens of thousands of fans who have virtually bankrupted themselves to be at this tournament? Carragher was the only player I noticed who took ten seconds of his own time to acknowledge the fans.
At the Fat Boy Slim concert, back in town, there's talk that an England fan broke into the England changing room after the match with a dangerous weapon. I can only assume it was a football. There needs to be a sea change in attitude from the players because there is currently disharmony of the worst kind in the England camp - i.e. between the fans and the players. Unless England pull out some kind of respectable performance against Slovenia, the relationship between the fans and the players will be irrevocably damaged for many years to come.
The Fat Boy Slim concert turns out to be considerably more fun than the match. The party goes on till four with many of us partying on happy in the knowledge that we can sleep in and hide in our rooms tomorrow.
Watching England has been crap so far. Thankfully, South Africa is a beautiful place where you can eat well, drink affordably, party excessively and enjoy its stunning landscapes on the way to your next embarrassing England football nightmare.