In the 48 hours following the Ukraine match, the football was ‘overshadowed’ by what has became known as #hosengate #die80prozent and seemingly a dozen other hashtags when footage was revealed of Jogi doing, urm, what men do (Lukas Podolski’s 80% being an underestimate in my informed opinion).
My own personal emotions changed constantly over those 48 hours – from amusement when the picture first appeared on my timeline, to annoyance (can I find a match report, please!?), to boredom (good opportunity to unfollow a few idiots), to showing my support (but then I always do that), and back to mild amusement at the hypocrisy of the German press in berating the ‘humiliation’ of Jogi, when they, themselves, had been the culprits on so many occasions.
When I became aware of the images in my Twitter feed during the last minutes of the Ukraine game, the first thing that intrigued me was, as I was watching the game, why hadn’t seen the footage myself? After all I never take my eyes off the screen, and certainly remember just about every move Jogi makes.
It has now come to light that apparently it was only one channel from Italy that had shown the footage.
If it is the Italians that are indeed trying to ‘smear’ and ‘humiliate’ Jogi with such a video, maybe we should consider whether the laugh is on them? After all, they’ve had a good two years since he won the World Cup to come up with something far more substantial in the run up to this tournament, a tournament in which they apparently so fear him and his German team that they need to resort to these kind of tactics. So what dirt did they manage to dig? A personal indiscretion perhaps? Nothing. Professional irregularities? No. Financial improprieties? It would appear not.
How frustrating it must have been for them.
I’ve been proud to be an admirer of Joachim Löw for the past six years not just enjoying watching his ability as a coach, his tactics and his ability to bring the best out of a player thrilling me as a football fan of many years standing, but also his behaviour off the field showing his qualities as a person – his support for such a worthy case as Plan International being a wonderful example.
Take most recently his comment about Jerome Boateng being a good ‘neighbour’ in defence, typifying Jogi’s continuing stance against the intolerant and prejudiced in society who dare to place labels on a man because of the colour of his skin.
I had the pleasure of meeting Joachim Löw eight months before he won the World Cup, when I had the brief chance of a chat when he arrived for a press conference before the friendly against England. He was under a particular weight of pressure then, with various doubts being cast on his ability and.his team selection methods and the press conference was going to be a tough one. Nevertheless he greeted my words with a warm handshake and a generous smile as he laughed at my declared admiration and the occasion all proving rather too much for me. It still brings a smile to my face when I think about it.
Nothing that has happened in the past 48 hours could possibly change my opinion of him as a lovely man who I have been, am and always will be proud to call my ‘specialist subject’, and I hope one day I shall have the pleasure of meeting him and shaking his hand again.
So, Italian TV, as far as I am concerned, you may have tried, but you have failed.
And if we lived in a world where the worst any human being did was to have to alleviate the occasional itch in public, what a wonderful place it would be.
The laugh is truly on you.
Follow Germany’s Euro 2016 on my website: “A Whole Lotta Löw”