Come on now, be honest

The dear old Beeb are doing their best. They’re trying desperately to gather interest in Euro 2008 with their ‘Who will you support?’ campaign. And last Friday there was chatter on Five Live with various people saying things like… ‘Actually, it’ll be nice. No pressure, no heartache. I’m really looking forward to it. We can just watch a football tournament as neutrals and fans of the sport.’

What utter, utter bollocks.

Never mind that failure to qualify meant England could get shot of Maclaren, the fact is, as the tournament looms ever larger, the reality is starting to bite. We will not be there. Couldn’t care less about the other home nations these days by the way. England aren’t there and that renders the tournament dull and uninteresting. And there is no true England fan who would dispute that. I went to the World Cup Japan in 2002, to Euro 2004 in Portugal. And I’m upgrading to englandfans+ so I can go travelling again. All in the knowledge that abject failure is staring me in the face as it so often has…

Of course we wouldn’t have won Euro 2008. Of course we’d have suffered penalty heartbreak. Of course we’d all have been put through the wringer as we got out of our group by the absolute skin of our teeth. This is what supporting England football is all about. And people are trying to say they won’t miss it? Bull shit. I love that gut-wrenching agony. The nerves as kick off comes round and the spectre of depression looms just 90 minutes away. There’s even a perverse part of me that enjoys the empty feeling after the inevitable quarter final elimination. The kindred spirits you see all about you with the long faces. The sad looking flags fluttering dispiritedly from the backs of cars from those who will not be bowed by defeat.

Who would not rather have all that to face than Lineker failing to get excited about Russia and Croatia playing teams we should have faced. Yes, we’d almost certainly under-achieve and darkness would grip the nation for a few days but always, always if you’re in the tournament, there is a chance. And one day, my friends, one day…

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• June 2nd, 2008 • Posted in Football • Comments: 0