Firstly, a geographic note. I am Cornish. Cornwall isn’t part of England but our sportspeople play for England. For example, Phil Vickery (and before anyone says it I know he was born in Barnstaple hospital) is from Kilkhampton in Cornwall and captained England. At rugby.
Which brings me to football. I have followed every World Cup England campaign since 1970. If you want expectation go back to 1970. We were expected to win the World Cup again. We were the champions after all. Bloody fools. In Mexico? It was a debacle and there was some strange business in Columbia which was none of Bobby Moore’s fault. But Gordon Banks made The Greatest Save Ever Bar None – click below. No one will ever make a better save than that.
And since then I have had a nervous breakdown every four years (12 times in all) as I have allowed myself to go through the exquisite torture which is England trying to win the World Cup but failing in the most painful way possible.
So last night, by accident, I sat in the Plough-on-the-Green in Greenham with some olds boys who shared my cynicism and some young boys who were going through the full works of the England World Cup Torture.
I left after ten minutes.
I knew Italy would beat us. I knew Uruguay would beat us. I knew Costa Rica would beat Italy.
I am as patriotic as the next person. But I am not bloody stupid. I am not gojng to put myself through an emptional wringer when it is obvious that we haven’t got a hope in hell.
Enjoy the Premier league folks. It’s on our patch most weeks and it’s the best football in the world.
Sod the World Cup.