Is watching England only any good if you hate yourself, are Scottish or Welsh or have very large bets against them?
It could be the shortest article in the history of FreeBetFreeTips.com if I just write “yes” and leave it at that. But I’m not sure that would really class as an article, nor be overly interesting for you, kind, learned and esteemed reader. So I’ll elaborate.
My earliest memories of England are from the 1986 World Cup and are largely positive. A boyish, tanned striker, soon to play for my beloved Everton banged in a few goals, a little ugly bloke alongside him played pretty well and the pre-mental Maradona showed both sides of his personality, scoring two of the most famous goals ever. Against England, of course. At the quarter-final stage. Hmm, so the signs were there…
The following year we beat Turkey 8-0 in qualifying for the 1988 Euros and whilst we made the finals we failed to get a single point from our three group games. The tournament though was memorable, with Holland’s “Golden Generation” of Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Ronald Koeman and co lifting the trophy with a stunning volley from van Basten sealing the win. Check it out below, not bad for the 1980s, eh?
The World Cup rolled around once more and again our hopes were raised. Italia 90 was the tournament of Gazza, whilst Lineker, not quite so boyish anymore (and only one season at Everton, the wanker) was still at the top of his game. We made the semi-finals. Guess what: we lost on penalties. To Germany.
Things were to get worse with the appointment of Graham Taylor as England boss. He seems a nice man so I’ll go easy on him. I’m sure he tried his best and he was definitely on the end of some bad luck but under his stewardship results for England were crap. I think I may have cried at some point during his three-year stint in charge, although that may have been because I repeatedly didn’t get a Scalextric for Christmas. Times were tough back then you know. Although I did have an Atari ST to pass the time.
Anyway, we were poor in the Euros and failed to qualify for USA 1994. Mum bought loads of Guinness anyway and turns out we were all Irish for a couple of weeks. Oh how we cheered when this went in… yeeeeeehaaaaaaa!
Yankee commentator knows his stuff. Think he calls Ireland England on 32 seconds, although pretty sure my Dad called Houghton an Irish cunt back in the ‘88 Euros but a “little bloody beauty” after this. The Irish would probably prefer to be called cunts than English though I guess.
1996. I was old enough to be drinking and doing drugs and applying to Oxford University and everything. I was a grown up, football was coming home and even the posh old buggers in Oxford liked my England top. This was gonna be our tournament. I was in the Yorkshire Dales listening to the footy on my Walkman (we had proper technology in 96) when Gazza, all mad and fat and drunk, somehow did this.
Fuck me, football really is coming home, we all thought. This geezer, this cockney wide boy Venables, he’s a tactical genius. We can even beat teams on penalties. Ok, it’s only Spain and everyone knows they’re really, really shit and always, always will be but even so. Hahahaha, let’s all laugh at Spain. They’re even worse than us and they’ll never win anything and we’re gonna bloody well win this and football’s coming home and everything.
If you needed subtitles for Gazza, he basically said that Ant and Dec are cheesy little cunts and Pearce is dead cool and really, really sane. Anyway, it is, it is, you know, it’s coming home!
Except it wasn’t. We made the semi-finals, we even played well. But we lost. On penalties. To Germany.
Then came France 1998. England bravely fought their way through a tough group of Romania, Tunisia and Colombia, finishing second but qualifying on the “name doesn’t end in ‘–ia’” rule. We had Michael Owen and David Beckham and Young Michael could do this…
But then it went to extra time. And Argentina beat us on penalties. At least it made a change from zee Germans.
Euro 2000 was pretty crap with England failing to make it past the group stage and then came the World Cup 2002. Our very own Golden Generation was at its peak and we had a foreign manager who was colder than ice and could shag fit birds just because he had a massive forehead and glasses and was Swedish.
We made the quarter-finals. Fuck me, we’re beating Brazil here. This Owen lad is amazing. He’s a world beater. He’s gonna smash English goalscoring records and have a really, really long career banging goals in for England and everyone will remember him fondly and be thankful for all these great goals that are propelling England to glory, past Brazil. Oh yeah, Brazil. That fucking guy with the silly moustache who moonlights as a model for Pringles. Semen? Seaman. Bollocks.
Goal. Arsehole. Goal. Arsehole. Quite.
Euro 2004 was special. For me. I went. Somehow we managed to get four tickets for all England’s group games, Germany v Holland, Sweden v Italy and, as luck would have it, England’s quarter final. Rooney! Rooney! Michael who? Owen’s shit isn’t he? All about this young kid Rooney. The white Pele. Gonna be a true legend. He’s down to Earth (that is to say not vain and concerned about appearance or premature baldness), he’s in love with his childhood sweetheart, who frankly is well out of his league, even allowing for his wealth (that is to say won’t sleep with old, haggard prostitutes) and, best of all, he plays for my beloved Everton. Once a Blue, always a Blue. Everton and England are gonna win things with this bulldog ballerina.
There is some talk about this greasy Portuguese kid Ronaldo but he’s a show pony. Not like Wayne. Wayne lives and breathes football whereas this greasy, skinny kid just cares about step-overs. Rooney is a superstar!
Good quality video that eh? But then, guess what happened. England make the quarters. Rooney gets injured (good, fat fucking Judas cunt rumoured to be going to Man United). And England lose on penalties. Breaking entirely with tradition, this time it’s to Portugal, supposedly our oldest allies.
Anyway, onwards, 2006. The World Cup in Germany. This is it. Familiar conditions, players like Gerrard at their peak. The country expects. I don’t. I’m 27 now. I’m really starting not to give a fuck about England and their shitty performances. I KNOW we’ve got no chance. I know it, I know it, I know it. We make the quarter-finals. That greasy kid gets the fat granny shagger sent off. Ha good! We lose on penalties to Portugal.
2008. The Euros. Why do we have to have a big tournament every two years? Could we not withdraw from one? Limit the pain to every 1461 days perhaps? Ah, cheers England. The Wally with the Brolly and some class goalkeeping ensure that England have an extra two year’s rest. Ideal. Book a holiday, if you can afford it.
Mind you, this hadn’t helped too much in the first game against Croatia (incidentally, population less than 10% of England’s).
Refreshed from our four year break from the terrible pressure and stress of major tournaments England would surely sweep all aside in South Africa. We had a new foreign manager, Steve McClaren having proved that English people couldn’t possibly cope with the rain involved in managing England.
This was Fabio Capello. Like Sven before him he had silly glasses but unlike Sven he didn’t bother learning English. Why would he need to speak the lingo when he had an art collection worth £10m and looked like Postman Pat? Anyway, he was a winner. This was the man to lead England to victory and his methods, making the team eat together and not use their mobiles too much, simply couldn’t fail.
Obviously I knew this was all total and utter bollocks. We finished second in the group of eternal life, behind USA, a point ahead of Slovenia and above Algeria, with whom we drew. We were then royally humiliated by zee Germans, losing 4-1, my new anti-England persona revelling in this merry little moment. Poor, poor, poor, fat Frank. I’m sure we would have won the World Cup if that had been allowed. Sure.
We’re nearly up to date. Just 2012 to go. This was the one where we were going to win because nobody thought we were going to win. Apart from loads of fuckwits who thought we would win because nobody thought we would. The logic was that we were so shit we simply had to win. Flawless.
I’ve given up on football. Still not convinced? Think Roy “I look like an owl” Hodgson can lead the shambles that is English football to glory? Roy says qualification for Brazil 2014 is in our hands but given the only teams we’ve beaten in this latest campaign are Moldova and San Marino our chances don’t look great. Montenegro has a population akin to Sheffield and they battered us in the second half and could easily have won in Podgorica.
Why bother watching England when you could be knitting, punching yourself in the nose, licking dogs or any number of other relatively painless pastimes? I won’t be watching England any more, I’ll leave that to the idiots and the Welsh.
Edit – Ok, so Roy got us to Brazil and he even dared to pick some young players. However, after defeats in our first two games we were out. Without even the tension of things going to the final game. We managed a draw against Costa Rica in the final game to finish bottom of the group. But fear not, we’re bound to improve for the Euros in France..