Football FanCast guest columnist Gallowgate wonders why it is so difficult to support England.
This is the question that I ask myself every time I watch an England game. The memories of Euro 96 appear as distant as those of 1966. Could you see Mitchell and Webb singing England's next anthem (provided we qualify) incorporating what we associate most with England's players? Lampard playing poor, And when Gerrard dives, Ferdinand missing his drug test, and Rooney huffing??
I believe it's those chosen to go into battle wearing the Three Lions with pride and honour that have sapped the love England supporters once had for those in the famous white shirt. Ashley Cole is a hate figure for Arsenal fans for his nonchalant attitude towards being tapped up, and Spurs fans for having dared played for Arsenal. (There's probably a few more from the Cheryl Cole fan club.) Wayne ‘Once a blue always a blue' Rooney creates his enemies with disrespectful celebrations, baying a retaliation from the blue half of Merseyside. Even the ‘goody two shoes' Michael Owen who's never whispered anything bad about anybody in the playground has accumulated a set of disgruntled Geordies who forked out £18 million and £105,000 a week to rent a player from England every now and again over a two year spell. (two years were spent keeping his thumb tucked under his hand whilst feeding polo's to his pet horse). Even though they like to tell us they won the World Cup, there cannot be many around Upton Park sporting the old ‘Dr Martens' shirt with ‘Lampard' on the back or celebrating in the pubs of East London following Jermain Defoe's brace against the Dutch?
It appears that the Hammers fans are of a dying breed of Premiership fans who don't watch England purely in the hope that their player will not get injured or hopefully will just be left on the bench. Or even better, pick up a ‘Groin' injury a day before the England game that lasts till Saturday! So it appears that it's left to the fans of the football league and below to support the Nations select XI, with the new Wembley predominantly littered with England flags from Torquay, Carshalton Athletic and the like.
So I had better answer my question, ‘Why is it so Difficult to Support England'. Well this armchair England fan took it upon himself to see England take on Germany in what was the second game (of football) at our sparkling new national stadium. Ticket in the top tier £50, train travel from Newcastle to London £48, hotel in London for the night £80, travel from central London to Wembley Park £8, programme and World War II propaganda (including helmet and Spitfire) £12; the look on my face when I got back to the hotel room at 1 o'clock in the morning after England lost 2-1? Priceless!
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