For a football traditionalist, this was a painful, even soul-wrenching weekend.
The sight of the proud old English FA down in Trinidad & Tobago, bowing and scraping and kissing the ring of Jack Warner, a disgraceful, venal, amoral old modern day Sauron was sad in the extreme.
The fact that this public humiliation is recognized all over the world for exactly what is was - the Times called it A COSTLY CRUISE FOR VOTES and quoted a source as saying it amounted to "shaking hands with the devil" - most likely only made it all the more satisfying for Warner, a notorious racist who once told a reporter that "no white man will ever order me around".
In case you have missed just how it is the FA, inventors of the game and keepers of the true flame of football ended up spending the weekend groveling at the feet of a disgusting old thief like Warner, a quick review:
Back in August, England announced that they were planning on making a bid for the 2018 World Cup. CONCACAF Supremo Warner immediately LET LOOSE WITH BOTH BARRELS:
“There are moves to give (the World Cup) to England. I must fight that” Warner told reporters.
"Nobody in Europe likes England. England – who invented the sport – has never had any impact on world football.... For Europe, England is an irritant.”
Alarmed, the FA raced out and signed international fixer Peter Hargitay, the shady head of a shadowy international espionage-and-thuggery-for hire firm who, not coincidentally, is listed as a "Special Advisor" to FIFA Poobah Sepp Blatter.
Hargitay's first order of business was to turn Warner around, and as we all know there's only one way to do that: give him money.
So he arranged for England to play T&T in a pointless friendly that no one wanted but that would be incredibly lucrative for Warner. Not surprisingly, Warner immediately stopped badmouthing England.
Unfortunately, after an expose in The Sunday Herald by the incomparable Andrew Jennings, the FA announced that Hargitay's contract was only short term, something which came as a surprise to him. He has launched a lawsuit and is threatening to go to work for the Russians.
Thus it was that after the US match in Wenbley, the England team, disgruntled, tired and desperately in need of a break after the 10 month EPL season, ended up stepping off a plane in beautiful Port-of-Spain last week.
There at the bottom of the ramp, shaking each player's hand, was Jack Warner himself.
England coach Fabio Capello then announced that David Beckham, a wildly popular figure in T&T and a particular favorite of Warner's, had been re-named Captain of the England squad.
Warner was delighted. Most other observers were appalled. Nothing against Beckham, but everyone knew it was done at Warner's request. CAPELLO HIMSELF FELT THE NEED TO DENY THAT IT WAS DONE AS A SOP TO WARNER.
Nobody believes him, PARTICULARLY THE BRITISH SPORTING PRESS which is roasting Capello alive for it. As the article notes, "the man who sent this national treasure to train with the reserves when manager of Real Madrid and left him out of his first England squad, is suddenly considering him for the long-term captaincy."
The players were then whisked off to various events around the island, leading clinics for children and being the attraction at various "receptions" for which attendees forked over more money directly to Warner.
Then yesterday, prior to the match itself, Warner started making some peculiar statements. One measure of just how odd they were is that the British press ran wildly divergent accounts of just what he said.
On the other hand, other sources, like THE DAILY MAIL SAY THAT WARNER IS NOW BEHIND THE ENGLAND BID.
Still others are pointing out that while Warner may now be making nice noises about the England bid, he is also saying that he will support England only if the US bid fails.
(Just for good measure, Warner also blasted the FA FOR DISASSOCIATING ITSELF FROM PETER HARGITAY, who may seem to be a cynically corrupt international criminal to you and I, but to Jack he's just another old reliable pal)
Into the teeth of this controversy, and while the team was still in T&T sitting and rolling over and barking at Warner's command, Andrew Jennings, the man Warner has banned from his media conferences, WROTE THIS EXPLOSIVE EXPOSE for The Sunday Herald.
I urge you to read it in full. You'll need a shower afterwards, but it's worth it.
Among other things, Jennings says that the whole thing is a fraud, that Warner has no intentions of living up to his bargain with England.
Neither does he believe Jack will support the US bid, despite his embarrassing description oif USSF President Sunil Gulati as being part of the "entourage" dutifully following Warner around Australia last week.
(We needn't bother feeling superior here, folks: it isn't just the FA that kisses Jack ass. Sunil Gulati's lips are as puckered up as anyones, and Warner loves every second of it.)
Jennings says that in fact, Warner is getting ready to support a pending Mexico bid. Unlike the US, where there are financial transparency laws, independent courts and the IRS and FBI to watch over him, in Mexico all that sort of thing is, shall we say, much more flexible.
Put another way, in the end, Warner is going to do the most profitable thing, and for him the opportunity to make an enormous killing is not in England or the US, it's in Mexico.
But Warner's tirade before the match yesterday had another point altogether: it seems that FA President Lord Richard Triesman didn't accompany the team to T&T.
Rather, he stayed home because he had scheduled some surgery, and Jack Warner is very unhappy about it.
Warner feels that Triesman should have postponed the surgery and come to T&T to pay homage, and is angry about it.
Fortunately, he says he can forgive Triesman for this insult if Lord Richard comes to the big T&T Centenary dinner this summer.
Anyone want to take bets on whether he shows up?
All in all, a sad, pathetic weekend in T&T, with the FA performing as Jack Warner's lapdog in front of the entire world. And Jack loving every minute of it.