World Cup Jools

Kingston University staff may have been watching the World Cup recently, at least those who are not working evenings in fear of losing their jobs. There is something of a parallel here between the misfortunes of England and the delusions of the Kingston VC Julius Weinberg. Just as Roy Hodgson and the players talked about winning the tournament before they’d played a match, Weinberg believes Kingston can match the top universities despite all their history of research.

Wise heads will have viewed all the England hubris with scepticism born of all the past football debacles. KU staff, less optimistic than England footballers, will view the VC’s posturing in the same way. They know that all the hype and chatter of research does not make it happen. Just as England does not win football matches because people who ignore history think they will, bombastic newsletters and aggressive management from River House, pensioning off some of your best staff, threatening others with redundancy, and introducing young (cheap) employees, will not turn Kingston into the research equivalent of Brazil (who incidentally have not played that well so far).

England could not beat indifferent teams from Italy and Uruguay. Kingston cannot hope to match Imperial or UCL. The reasons are not dissimilar in both cases. English football suffers from too much unsupported self belief and not enough appreciation that world class football stems from a deep culture which this country does not have. Brazilian players grow up in a country that applauds delicate skills and tolerates mistakes. English footballers play in a grunt and run style and suffer abuse for any errors. So when Weinberg postures on how great Kingston will be, he fails to understand that supporting staff long term and allowing them to fail is the first step on a long road to becoming a better university. Kicking out one set of players only to replace them with more of the same will not work.

So England is out of the World Cup. Kingston, an eye constantly on the university league tables, wants to become a big player, but like England lives on hope and empty boasting, while the sweating staff run endlessly round the training ground to no purpose.

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