An Icelandic Warming the Bench

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Well no sooner had I left London, then they dragged me back in.

I’d left the TNS Wigan offices Wednesday morning with Steve & Bert still trying to fix the TNS bookcase, which is officially sponsored by Rothmans & has seen better days.

Its name comes from the fact Steve keeps all his Rothman’s Football Year books on there.  Okay, okay, I know they are sponsored by ‘Sky Sports’ today, but we still call them ‘Rothmans’.

Of course Sky has to sponsor them, as someone like Rothmans can no longer do sponsorship deals.  As the big bad Advertising regulator feels if Rothmans had maintained their tradition, we’d all be chain smokers by now, especially with the number of books on there.

Anyway I digress; Wednesday meant I caught the 10:09 Virgin Train to the ‘Big Smoke’, the TNS London office needed some help.  After work, I popped in to a cracking pub called the ‘Blackfriar’ for a £4.25 pint of lager.

I decided to sit on one of the benches outside the pub and watch the World go by.  & believe me for a lad from up North, the World did go by!  With all kinds of weird & wonderful sights.  It was one of these wonderful bemusing sights, which got me talking to the father & son who had sat next to me on the bench.

They were from Reykjavik, Iceland.  They knew instantly I was from Northern England (don’t ask), so they inquired if I liked football & if I supported Manchester United?  I politely told them I followed Wigan Athletic & was pleasantly surprised they knew who Wigan was.  They’d watched Wigan beat Manchester City in the FA Cup Final last year on Icelandic TV.

The conversation did come back to Manchester United, apparently they’re like many Icelandic, they follow clubs in other countries, and of course they both supported Manchester United.

The discussion covered some of Manchester United past & present players, but Tom Cleverley was never mentioned!  Some of their special games, Champions League Finals & yes some of the times they’d heavily beaten Wigan.  They paid special praise to Wayne Rooney & said he truly was a World Class player.

It was a nice chat, they said their farewells, saying they were off to see the Gherkin, which with an Icelandic twang, sounded a bit like…..well!  I waved them on their way & finished my pint, again watching the world go by, but now thinking that all people from Iceland think Wayne Rooney is World Class.

On the 19:30 train back to Wigan North Western, I had 2 hours to watch more of the World go by, watching trees and buildings flash past at 100+ mph.  It got me thinking about the term ‘World Class‘.

Now each to their own & we have discussed this on our TNS forum, but I must admit I don’t rate Wayne Rooney as World Class!  He’s Premier League & European Class (if there’s such a term), but not World Class against his peers.  This recent World Cup showed that, surely?

But then again if you wanted a pragmatic discussion about ‘World Class’, how would you define it?

Well as I’m writing, I see it in 2 ways.  You’ll have seen I’ve already used the word ‘peers‘ in the above paragraph.  Well that’s how I see the term ‘World Class’ being split, one against your peers & a second against your every day man, like me.

So against me, Wayne Rooney truly is World Class, as I’ve 2 left feet, okay I’d be World Class in the world of Office Cost reductions & I reckon on Project Plan ‘keepy up’ I’d easily beat him too.  But in the world of Football vs me, Wayne Rooney is ‘World Class’.

But, and it is a big But, against his fell peers, Rooney can’t be given that title, can he?  Okay I know he was in a really shit team for England and he did try, but against the likes of Thomas Müller he’s nowhere near him on the International stage. The stage I class as being the ‘World’ bit of ‘World Class’.

Okay yes & this is where it gets further complicated, Rooney can match & beat Müller at Club level, so where does the tag ‘World Class’ start & stop, where they play?

I know this could run & run, but am I talking bollocks with my initial thoughts on this?

Anyway that Train Journey did give me a few other things to cover off in this area, one that includes Sky Sports Commentators & their use of ‘World Class’, but I’ll have a go at that next week.

So go on, before we say a player is ‘World Class‘, do we not need to define it?


P. S. Did you know that Reykjavik is believed to have been the first permanent settlement in Iceland? It was established in 870 C.E. by Ingólfr Arnarson. The original name of the settlement was Reykjarvik which loosely translated to the “Bay of Smokes” due to the region’s hot springs. The additional “r” in the city’s name was gone by 1300.

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