Weekly football conversation since 2009, with Graham Sibley, Jan Bilton and Terry Duffelen. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or your podcatcher of choice.

What Have We Done To Deserve This?

Pundit muses on the sheer unfairness of it all

Johnny Pundit: Counting his chickens
Johnny Pundit: Counting his chickens
Scottish fans: Saturday, just before injury time
Scottish fans: Saturday, just before injury time
McLaren: Sole achievement - honorary degree?
McLaren: Sole achievement - honorary degree?
Funny old thing, Football. For instance, not only is it funny, and old, it's also completely unfair. Just ask the Scots; and possibly the Russians.
Fried Mars bars
Don't get me wrong. I'm a full-blown Sassenach; no guzzler of fried mars bars, no kilt-muncher, no haggis-hugger, me. But after a spirited campaign, to go out in the last minute — whilst the dreaded English, having deserved nothing, look to have gained something. For your average Jock, it must be too much to bear.
Here's Terry!
Personally, I blame the FA's recruitment policy. It's not even Steve McLaren's fault, ultimately; the man's clearly out of his depth. Giving him the job wasn't fair on him - and it certainly wasn't fair on the English footballing nation. Giving him Venables to work alongside him is like an admission of guilt — 'we know you're not good enough, and haven't really achieved anything yet, but never mind — here's Terry!'
Ah, the luck of the English. A tepid campaign, and somehow — should we plod past Croatia on Wednesday — we're in another major tournament. In which, as usual, we'll be completely unconvincing in the first match against inferior opposition; show uncharacteristic brilliance in the second match against superior opposition; somehow scrape through the next few rounds; before exiting ignominiously in the quarter finals, probably on penalties — which will neatly disguise the fact we weren't good enough to progress any further anyway.
The press will isolate a hate figure, possibly a referee, possibly an opposing player with the gall to be better than us, and everyone will go home happy, lamenting what might have been, when it hasn't been, or anywhere very near it, for forty years. But then, at least we're aren't Scottish. It ain't a fair game, but it is a beautiful one.

Johnny Pundit

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