Saturday, 20 February 2010

The problem with being English in 2010

Earlier this month my best mate and I got our heads together, arranged to take some time off in the middle of June and watch the beginning of the World Cup together. He's coming up the night before it starts and I'm looking forward to watching South Africa play Mexico with him on June 11th.

The next day England take their bow against the USA. I'm looking forward to this too, but for different reasons. Watching a game with my best mate and a common interest, great. Sharing a common interest with my other friends, with a plethora of texts going to and from my phone, great. The England kit? Work of art. The players wearing it? Meh.

Seriously, who do we have representing us this summer? Ashley Cole - known to cheat on his wife. John Terry - known to cheat on his wife. Rio Ferdinand - a player with a drug ban on his record (and a whole lot of gossip regarding why he got it). Wayne Rooney - great player but with a temperament that makes Russell Crowe look chilled out. Steven Gerrard - who has been known to get upset on nights out in Southport. And I haven't even mentioned "Fat Frank" and the polarising opinions he generates.

Is there really any one player you can fully say is likeable? I'm honestly struggling to find one.

This reminds me of the Portland Trail Blazers "Jail Blazers" era of a few years ago. The team went after talent at the expense of character and found themselves with an utterly unlikeable team which made the Portland community squirm. In recent years the team has built around character (and luck in the draft) to build a team that the fans are proud of for more than just they're doing on the court.

Will I struggle to support the team in the World Cup? I know I won't. Something will come round, something will happen and I'll get as swept up as every other casual fan of the national team. And even if those things don't happen I can rely on something else stir my patriotic side: the Scottish tabloid media. Yes, the one collective who I think can actually make John Terry likeable, and that's saying something.
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