Jack and Vera plus floods of tears as gallant England return

THERE I was, thinking Sven and David Beckham had aged. Then I realised it was Jack and Vera Duckworth.

Yes, the World Cup games are thinning out, no more two or three matches a day, every day, and some of the thinking person's programmes are returning to their normal slots, among them Corrie.

The only difference is that the dramatic acting in the football is better.

One chap went home for his tea the other night and found a note which told him his wife left him the day after the World Cup started. He hadn't noticed because he was glued to Argentina and the Ivory Coast at the time, the third game that day.

Gallant England went out of the tournament with their players in a flood of tears. They were joined by flag makers and those who made the rest of the tat which has festooned the country over the past month.

Despite all the doom and gloom, the great news from Germany is that England haven't played well but will get better, it just won't be this time.

Certainly the effort against Portugal was tremendous when they had only 10 men, it should happen more often. Don't forget England have yet to spring 'wonder boy ' Theo Walcott on an unsuspecting world. He has had a good look at his team mates and should know who most of them are by now.

One of the good points with England knocked out is that many of the thousands from radio and TV, who went to Germany, are back home.

This means we don't hear too many of those daft interviews with people from such as Brazil, who tip Brazil to win the Cup, or Argentina, who tip Argentina to win the Cup, or Italy who...well you know how it goes.

What can be more tedious than hearing someone you have never heard of, saying in broken English their team will win the World Cup...and that's only John Prescott.

Nor will we see Victoria Beckham, well aware the TV cameras are on her, standing to applaud hubby David as he limps off.

In fairness she deserves recognition of some kind. All those selfless hours she has put in giving employment to so many people, such as make-up artists, hairdressers and dress, jewelry and sunglasses designers, the list is endless.

Happily she has had great support from other wives and girlfriends, many of whom are being rewarded with lucrative advertising contracts.

The hype over Beckham was emphasised when England won a corner against Portugal after he had gone off. TV commentator John Motson gasped: "Who will take that?" There were 11 England players on the field at the time and any of them could have taken it, possibly apart from goalkeeper Paul Robinson, who would probably have wellied it over the stand at the far side.

One thing about the World Cup is that it should be useful for some of our clubs. The next time an agent representing an England player comes holding his hand out for a few thousand pounds a week more for his client, the directors might just show him a video of his client in the World Cup.

England's cricketers aren't doing much better. They piled up 321 in the one-dayer and lost by a distance to Sri Lanka, who had 13 overs in hand at the finish.

Somebody should have told the Sri Lankans it wasn't Twenty/20 and they didn't have to rush.

There was at least the excitement of 'our' tennis hero Andy Murray getting through a couple of rounds at Wimbledon. Then came reality, a thumping and the silly women had nothing to cheer.

Don't forget the Batley ex-players 'do' before and after the Rochdale Hornets game on Sunday.

Batley have lost a great supporter in Fred Lees, of Hanging Heaton, who passed away last week at the age of 82.

Fred was an insurance man and, with no car in those days, could often be seen on a Saturday mornings, literally running on his collecting round so he would be finished in time to go to the Mount. His cheery smile will be missed.