WE’RE JUST AS GOOD AS SWEDEN
Printed in the first league game of the season v Barton Rovers Saturday 14th August 2010. We won 2-1 in front of 279 people.
I loved the World Cup. The fact that it was in Africa; the flowing, attacking football; the atmosphere. That the sun shined for once as we hunted exotic Brighton boozers to watch games like a bunch of sad ground hoppers.
I hated the World Cup. Too many defensive, tedious games, the fact that the last African team were so badly cheated out of getting to the semis. That Holland switched to karate in the final. That bloody annoying wasp drone/atmosphere destroying vuvuzela or the empty seats while South African fans said they couldn’t afford tickets. Actually forget all that, the thing that drove me round the bend was what a few seconds on a TV screen does to people. In a slough of despond a French supporter holds his head in his heads as his team lose. But wait, the cameras are on him, his face lights up and he’s all smiles. Listen you grinning idiot, you’re team are still going home; what’s to be happy about, the fact that you got two seconds of fame?
At least I suppose England could hide behind the French political inquisition, and the players wouldn’t find themselves questioned in a North Korean People’s Court for six hours. But what is it with all us knuckle-heads, that think England ever really have a cat in hells chance of winning the world cup again? One final appearance and three semis is the same record as Sweden’s.
Which is funny really cos Sky and the Premiership keep telling us it’s the best league in the world. So fantastic that even our top teams are millions of pounds in debt, and Portsmouth nearly went bust and will be lucky not be relegated again this season. I often think Sky Sports News would give North Korean News a run for its money in its impartiality and ignoring of anything that criticizes the product too much. Just sparkly teethed grinning news readers who repeat the same thing over and over. In one ‘exclusive’ interview they spoke to ex Portsmouth Chief Executive Peter Storrie who received £1.23 million in 2009. Storrie attacked those Portsmouth fans who had turned on him after all he done for the club. They of course neglected to chat to any Pompey fans about the disastrous financial melt-down he had overseen.
The FA’s ‘Blueprint for the Future of Football’ published in 1991, talked of a slimmed down 18-team top flight with promises that the national team would benefit. That pledge was swiftly ditched and English football finances became stacked in favour of the bigger clubs – whose managers are forever complaining that their players have to play internationals.
I don’t know why England are so crap but I do know we have an overblown self importance of ourselves when it comes to football. Yes, football plays an important part of our culture. Yes, there are more professional clubs here than anywhere else in Europe, possibly the world barring Brazil. But as Spain showed when it comes to playing it beautifully, we are the footballing equivalent of a dead donkey. Watching us play Algeria was worse than anything Slough dished up last season. I would have preferred to have even watched Windsor.
What was worse than getting beer over my head when Lampard ‘scored’ was having to sit beer stained on the beach, listening to Turks, Scots and a Brazilian remind me of the score and enjoying the fact that once again our over blown self-importance made us all look like complete doughnuts. Living in Brighton and still actively supporting Slough Town, I get enough ‘you must be joking’ comments without England heaping on the insults.