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Bring Back the British Home Championship

By John Nicholson

It seems likely that a revamped version of the Home Internationals will be revived in a couple of year’s time. England will be invited to join Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the end of season tournament but the F.A is likely to turn it down because it thinks England needs to be playing other European friendlies and their place will be taken by Ireland to make a Celtic Cup competition.

This is a wonderful idea and I’d like England to be involved. It’d be much more fun to watch than seeing England play the likes of Albania in a meaningless friendly. But hey, we’re just the fans, what do we matter? It’s not as if the way we’ve operated in the 20 odd years since the Home Internationals were abandoned, has brought England any success.

The FA doesn’t seem to consider that football as a sport and as a nation needs to keep its fans entertained. Team England is not there just to give them a job or to allow them to suck down free gravy, though it does exactly that. It’s there to give us; the paying public a good time and feel a bit of pride in our country. We all know that playing the other UK countries and Ireland too would be excellent competitive fun for fans and players alike.

Sometimes it seems as if that’s exactly why the FA doesn’t want to do it. Lets’ have some more meaningless games against Estonia instead. Isn’t playing International games with something win, with some degree of tension better practice for the European Championships and World Cup’s than just trotting out a half strength side against Slovenia in a meaningless friendly? Yes. It is. So let’s do it.

But even without England I would love to see a Celtic Cup. It’s a great idea because it allows all those national sides to play in a competition that would have some status and which they’d have a chance of winning. It would also be a great way to fill some of the barren summer months. Yes players and managers will complain about being tired after a ‘long’ season. That’s a convenient excuse for being out of form, nothing more.

Don’t forget, as I write this, EPL players are all on holiday on full pay and most of them have been for over a month and a half already. Even players involved in the Champions League finally have had a month off already and still have 7 weeks before the new season starts. There’ll be a bit of pre-season training before then but basically they have almost 3 months off without playing game. How can that be right? No athlete needs 3 months off when all they have to do during the season is play 3 hours of football a week. How can anyone be tired doing so little work? No one said they were tired when they had to play 42 league games in the 1970s on pitches made of glue and sand with only a cold sponge and an ex-army psychopath for physiotherapy. Though a lot of players these days behave like a lot of pre-menstrual prima-donnas, they could certainly manage to play a couple more games without losing valuable time getting their nails manicured or getting expensive hair cuts.

So clearly, that isn’t a real issue to stop the return of Home Internationals, especially as all it would do is replace a couple of friendlies that are already booked in for the national side.

Of course, the fans of Scotland and England famously used to tear each other apart when they played in the 70and I hear people say that’s another reason not to bring the games back. But time has moved on. The culture of football has changed. We don’t fight in the streets any more. Not much. It’s policed better and CCTV monitors us all so we can be nicked even after the event. I don’t see that as a problem.

If fans can exert any pressure on the FA, which remains in doubt, the vast majority would be in favour of the Home Internationals, including England finishing off each season. But I despair of the FA ever doing anything that fans want. Unrivalled as a bunch of fat arsed amateurs concerned only with preserving their own power and their unearned income, I doubt they know or care what regular football people think about anything. You don’t get to hear much with your head in a trough.

John Nicholson writes each week for Football 365 and EPL Talk. You can listen to John’s wonderful stories on episode 30 and 45 of the EPL Talk Podcast, as well as purchase his excellent Footy Rocks book and order one of his unique rock’n roll T-shirts.
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  1. billeshears

    June 23, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    I think that England are refusing to take part, because they don’t want to risk the embarrassment of losing. If the lose it is a disaster. If they win, they are supposed to win and it doesn’t really matter.

  2. eplnfl

    June 23, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Great idea. Well if England won’t sign on why not try the US, Canada, Australia. Even if they do sign on(England) a larger field would be a hugh event and make lots of tv money.

    Think of it. Sorry to think of every thing in terms of tv $’s but that is the reason for being. I’m really excited now about the sport since I was part of a crowd of 50,000 to see the Gold Cup semi-finals and the finals are a 66,000 seat sellout. Soccer can’t make it in America I guess some people still believe. I beleive otherwise.

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