Saturday, 24 May 2008

Football - Seasons End

Other than the tidying up games which will resolve the final promotion places within the English Leagues that’s the end of the football season.

Every other year this will mean a drought of football for a couple of months which does rather rip the beating heart out of a fans weekend. For the other years during the English closed season the gap in domestic fixtures is filled by either the European Championships or a World Cup.

This year (of course) we have a European Football Championship which I must admit I am rather looking forward to. In fact probably rather more than usual. Which may seem a little odd coming from someone who would consider himself quite a patriotic.

For those who don’t know none of the UK’s representative football teams have qualified for the tournament which starts on the 7th of June and is to be co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland.

I think regular readers will be aware that I do feel quite ambivalent about supporting the English football team. Whilst representing the Nation on the field of play I wouldn’t generally wish them ill but I just can’t get my head around supporting players who, for their day jobs, play for club sides I just don’t like. You see a Spurs player in an England shirt is, to me, still a Spurs player. And if ever it came to a choice between club and country I think that you will easily be able to guess my answer.

Of course the broadcasters and the purveyors of high quality nylon replica kits will be reeling at the inability of a home nation to qualify. The loss of so many till receipts and so much advertising revenue must be the stuff of nightmares.

And they don’t even have the team of the Republic of Ireland to use as ‘One of Us’ proxy as they did in the 1994 World Cup.

Which is one of the keys as to why it might make good viewing. What crystallised it in my mind was, for the first time today, seeing the BBC advert for their coverage of the tournament. They were going with a ‘Who will you support’ tag line.

To which my answer is everyone and no-one.

Well, that’s not strictly true. From my point of view a little affection will be shown for any National side that contains a respected former or current player for Arsenal.

But perhaps the media will allow us to enjoy the tournament without all of the normal hyperbole. It will certainly be without the ‘added value’ of reports about the breakfast menu from the ‘In-ger-lund’ team hotel, discussions about the anti-slip studs on the boots that John Terry will be wearing and worst of all the details on which of the shops and nightclubs were being patronised by the wives or intendeds of the players.

I just want to enjoy a football spectacular and have the chance to watch spectacular football without biased commentary or the flood of banal trivia.

On a completely selfish level it will also mean that I stand a half chance of getting sat down on my usual seat at my local to watch the game just before kick off!

Of course I’ll be back to myopic partiality when the domestic season kicks off again in August but until then ‘come on’ you Reds, Blues, Yellow and varying shades in-between.

Should be a cracking show!


Fitaloon said...

Thanks for the welcome back, I'll just be glad I won't see Scotland raising my hopes and then dashing them.

gcw said...

that was a well done write up!

Crushed said...

I'd with you on this is in principle.

England raise the Jules Rimet trophy, or Birmingham City win the FA cup...

Yes, you know my choice! :)

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Neither England nor Israel are competing. What's the point of watching?

Liz said...

"any National side that contains a respected former or current player for Arsenal"

So that will be most sides then? I was listening to a report on the radio that it will be only in 1 in 3 games that Arsenal will field an English player at kick-off.