And so the England inquest begins once again. After every tournament the same earth is dug over and over again. There can’t be a single argument, idea or notion that hasn’t been given an airing in the last 48 hours. I should know, I’ve been as responsible as anyone for writing them.
The corpse of England is undergoing a thorough autopsy. How did the victim meet its end? Could more have been done to save him? Who exactly did kill England?
All vital questions to be answered, I’m sure. And we’ve all got our opinions, good, bad and whacko. However, we seem to have lost sight of one very important thing. In all the navel gazing we have forgotten that football is supposed to be fun; it’s supposed to be enjoyable.
It’s not war, its not politics, its not quantum physics, its sport. Sometimes, we seem to collectively forget that actually we’re supposed to be having a bloody good time. England getting knocked out of a World Cup isn’t actually that serious; certainly not as serious as the hours of air time devoted to it would suggest.
I’m as fascinated as anybody by the debates but last night I caught myself thinking that what had happened in South Africa actually mattered; that it was important, like it was the war in Afghanistan, an oil spill or an outbreak of malaria.
Some rich blokes lost a football match is all that has happened. We can’t lose sight of that. Indeed, maybe it is the serious, intense attitude we tend to take towards all things England that is behind some of their fear when pulling on an England shirt. Maybe if we could keep a better perspective, see it as sport and not some greater symbol of national decline or inadequacy, then maybe our players could enjoy themselves on and would be more successful?
Or maybe they should just learn better technique as kids, stop being so tactically inflexible and develop a tougher mentality………..ah y’see….there I go again…..off on another rant.
Editor’s note: You can now pre-order order Johnny’s excellent new book We Ate All The Pies: How Football Ate Britain Whole from Amazon.co.uk