Monday 26 November 2007

England's unfounded claims to football supremacy

Croatia – the new enemy

The selection of England and Croatia for the same qualifying group for the South African 2010 World Cup excites a need for a complete root and branch overhaul of English football.

Unfortunately, what we would have is a new enemy like we once had with Germany and Argentina where our inability to perform brilliantly and win crucial games is read back to us as those countries denying us our rightful progress – Bunkum!.

I would hate to see a situation we also have to go to war with Croatia as we have had with the other two nations, but you can expect our tabloids to whip up both a frenzy and a commotion oozing with xenophobic abandon about every historical issue concerning Croatia and no doubt some would have lots to say about Split.

The fact is English football has been in decline since the climax of the 1966 World Cup which we won against Germany when we were hosting the competition; we have achieved little glory in international football since then.

Get real – England

Where we got this bizarre and perverse idea that we are amongst the best in the world escapes me; we are not even has-beens; that fizzled out when we failed to defend the cup in 1970.

The sooner we moved on from this self-conceited hubris and confidence that delivers disappointment and shame, the earlier we can get to fixing English football.

The other missed opportunity is one that should have seen the scalps of every old fart in the Football Association involved in the appointment of Steve McLaren taken – I cannot believe they are having a second bite at the rotten cherry.

Let us put aside national jingoism, the unfounded claims to football supremacy, the unwarranted call to arms that dashes hopes like a shipwreck in turbulent seas, the unnecessary xenophobia that is supposed to fuel the excitement and support of the fans and face the cold and frosty wind of international football realism – it needs to be built from scratch, it needs to have devoted people who recognise the honour and privilege to play for England, it needs to matter more than any league or championship, it needs to be results-based and not rhetoric driven.

The duty or the death

Anyone who has anything to do with English football owes a duty to Queen and country to ensure that not only do we get to South Africa 2010, we should get there having performed well and not on a nail-biting encounter of sheer luck and circumstantial providence.

If they fail, send them to the tower and feed the crows their hearts, lame legs and fat arses. Almost the same can be said of Nigeria's performance too.

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