Friday, 1 June 2012

Something to look forward to…

With the Football League season well and truly over after last weekend’s League One and League Two playoff finals at Wembley, it seems like such a long time until football returns. It is in fact only a week away, with the Euro 2012 competition commencing next Friday. The most exciting part of that for me is this:

Yes, I am one of those sad geeks over the age of 21 collecting.
I am also a part of that minority that cannot get excited over the national side and England’s chances. I don’t think I can even explain why, I’ve always felt that way. I will never understand why people get so overly optimistic, they must know themselves they sound stupid saying really out-there statements like “England will win the Euros”. Let’s all be honest, they won’t.
I’m not a pessimist, I’m just a realist.
I mean, I support Barnet. I know they aren’t very good; I’ve never for one moment pretended they are. Every year we scrape relegation on the final day. Every year I predict a lower half finish. It’s just how we are. I’d be kidding myself if I said we’d get promotion, make the playoffs, even finish top 10. It just wouldn’t happen – although would be a lovely surprise (and somewhat, a miracle) if we were. So why is supporting England the same? You get those people who get outrageously ahead of themselves, like the national side is some kind of super team, it’s just average. I know my opinions on the matter are unpopular, but it’s true.
I can’t even get excited over England games the way I do about Barnet either. I watched that friendly last weekend in silence – I didn’t really have anything to say on the matter. I didn’t cheer when the goal went in, I didn’t moan about substitutions or anything. But then again, watching England in a friendly, is like watching your club team pre-season. I can’t get excited about pre-season friendlies either; even if it’s against the likes of Arsenal ‘reserves’ and even more so, when you’re playing a team at least five divisions below you.
I sometimes think maybe this lack of enthusiasm is down to not watching an international match live. But on the other hand, I really don’t think it’d appeal to me. I think watching an international game at a stadium would have the same impact as that poor girl who knows nothing about football who gets dragged to football by her obsessed boyfriend! And don’t even get me started on the people who take time off work to watch England matches, or phone in sick the next day when they’ve had too much to drink. I’d much rather be earning money!
Now don’t get me wrong, I watch the tournaments and enjoy watching them – but that isn’t because of England, it’s to be entertained by some of the best footballers in the world, and to see who can cause the biggest shock. That underdog country that springs a surprise on the rest of the competition makes it all that more watchable; like Greece in 2004, defying the odds.
Group B, tipped this year’s ‘group of death’ looks the most interesting. Denmark, Germany, Holland and Portugal. Trying to vie for the two quarter final places will be interesting. If you look back to qualifying, Germany won all 10 of their games and only conceded seven goals. Denmark finished top of their group, ahead of Portugal who had to go into playoff against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Holland also finished top of their group, scoring more goals than Germany, but losing a match.
And of course, midway through the competition, the Football League fixtures are announced – June 18th at 9am. The League Cup draw is often the day before. At least then we can start to plan our first away trips, and who we will be travelling to on that dreaded Tuesday night.
I shouldn’t really complain, all in all, it’s a pretty good summer of football, right?

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