So, the World Cup has arrived (almost) and may I be the last to give a very feeble woo and hoo. It has been a long time since I had any worthwhile interest in football. I’m delighted that the women’s game has become more prominent but when the announcers mention a cup final or a friendly I imagine that most people still assume they’re talking about the men’s game. Not all football is as bad as the worst football so it’s a shame that the worst football also seems to be the best. Take our premier league for instance. Crammed full of unevenly distributed dirty money, fat, crass managers and gormless pampered wankers. It says a lot that a lot of pre-match footage shows most players lost inside their headphones. They say it helps with their preparation and concentration. That and shit loads of cash, two dozen questionable tattoos, a ludicrous sponsorship deal and some bad adverts for something like Bernard Matthews.
The World Cup is not a lot more than some fireworks and the occasional super-goal; a driving volley from 30 yards out or a jammy bugger scissor kick. Lots of silly people will pay lots of money to fly to Russia just to get stabbed by some neo-Nazi thug and a lot more people will sit for hours on end getting fat on Doritos and Budweiser, a perfect celebration of the sport that makes the world go round. Football fans will be inexplicably thrilled at the prospect of watching 90 minutes of pass-the-ball between Peru and Australia, an option they rarely get because why on earth would Peru and Australia ever make the effort to suggest it in the first place?
And pass the ball is really all it is. Football used to seem to be much more interesting but any time I ever accidentally flick on an England game (and these days it is always an accident) it just seems to be lots of drudge and not a lot of action. I suggest that if the possessing team don’t make a radical and exciting charge on goal within 40 seconds one of their players should have a foot sawn off and the ball given to the other team. And repeat. There are many things out there that bore me but 90 minutes of boring football has to be right near the top; all that time and effort for nothing.
So it isn’t just English football that I despair at, but they really are quite largely to blame. If England had produced anything even slightly like a good competitive team in the last 15 years I would probably still be mildly excited. For all that he annoys me these days the David Beckham years seem coated in candy floss compared to what we’ve had to endure recently. One can only hope that now Wayne ‘thick arsehole’ Rooney has naffed off to insult his marriage with a prostitute and further re-incarnate his hair that some kind of positive balance will evolve.
I read The Times guide to the World Cup yesterday but I could still only tell you the names of about three England players. Perhaps that’s to my advantage. Perhaps I’ll simply switch on just before each match starts (thereby mercifully foregoing all the terrible, thoughtless, brainless crap that gets discussed beforehand) and watch a bunch of young men in shorts kick a football around for a bit and see if they can point it in the right direction more than the other side do.
And it will be fun if we lose because then then we can count all the cliches as we explain ourselves: the ball was too round; the ball wasn’t round enough; the grass was too green; the lines weren’t white enough; someone had cottage pie for dinner; his mum wasn’t well; the crowd distracted us; the sun was too bright; the clouds were unusually fluffy; my headphones didn’t work; I didn’t know it was a football tournament; the earth’s axial spin wasn’t working in our favour; they had the same number of players in their team; Gary Lineker is a smug twat.
But, and it’s a biggie, if it works out and we end up in the quarter finals then this could be the World Cup that makes me interested in the World Cup again. We might even make the semi finals, something which hasn’t happened since Ethelred the Unready was on the throne. Or was it when Gazza cried like a big baby? Blimey if we really play our cards (or balls) right we could make the final, but now of course I’ve gone and jinxed it. It’s always a jinx and never the way the players kick the ball. The World Cup – the biggest tournament on the planet and it’s just about kicking a fucking ball. Come on, England, please kick the ball better than the other teams.
G B Hewitt. 10.06.2018