Not surprisingly, the British media has reacted
strongly to the News Of The World‘s (see right) astonishing sucker-play on Sven Goran
Eriksson. The consensus seems to be that it’s too close to the World Cup for
Eriksson to be booted from his job, but he would be sweating on the side not
under-performing in Germany. A
lynch mob might be formed.

The broadsheet commentators have been appalled, but
mostly at Eriksson. Maybe they’re used to the antics of the smaller papers and
can’t be bothered discussing morals, or a lack of them, any more.

Simon Barnes appears to be most angry, while also
having trouble digesting that the English coach was dumb and greedy enough to
have been so easily suckered.

Barnes wrote that he understands Eriksson is a
mercenary, hired to do a job, but says it is not unreasonable for the people
paying the Swede three million pounds (after tax) to expect him not to be
actively courting future employers months out from his greatest challenge.

Or, as Barnes memorably puts it: “What Eriksson is guilty of is very poor contractual
manners. If you hire a $1,000 wh*re for a night out, you don’t expect her to
love you. But you are entitled to expect that she doesn’t spend the evening
making eyes at the man on the next table.”

The ongoing headache for everybody involved in Britain’s
World Cup bid is that Eriksson would appear to have deeply eroded the trust of
his star players in the countdown to Germany.

‘s Kevin
was more worried that the man in charge of England’s World Cup hopes
was so obviously gullible, questioning how sharp the country can expect him to
be in the cut and thrust of the world’s biggest football tournament.

, a sister paper of the News Of The World, was reasonably muted in its coverage, merely
lining up critics who were willing to bag Eriksson for his lack of loyalty and
indiscretion, though it has promised to forgive Sven if England can somehow win the World Cup.

And finally, The Times had a little fun with the whole
thing, providing a handy checklist for how to spot a fake sheikh.