Seven games into the Premier League season and things begin to take shape. Teams start to hit form with the better sides already opening a gap at the top.
As expected, Manchester United and Manchester City look like the teams to beat, whilst Chelsea seem to have found a new lease of life after a great end to their 2011/12 campaign. It may not last all season, but for the time being, they remain unbeaten.
Relegation murmurs already surround certain clubs. How often can a side be unlucky in defeat before the manager needs to worry about his job?
Matches become more competitive and meaningful whilst that handsome manager we all envy develops a few grey hairs, despite getting off to a good start at his new club.
All of the above progress is about to be ruined by a set of international fixtures which we moan about – but why moan?
We all claim to hate England – we all have reason to. I am certain that at one time or another over the past five years, all of our clubs have been dealt an unfair blow by the cretins who run the FA. This on top of the manager leaving players out who you believe should clearly be included; or employing a formation that hasn’t been effective since 1992.
Yet something always captures me when the international team has a competitive fixture.
It’s not the world class football slicing defences apart that interests me. It certainly isn’t the heroes on the pitch giving 100% for the badge. It isn’t the fact that all prejudice and tribalism is put aside for 90 minutes as football fans, north, south, east and west join together as one (this doesn’t actually happen I may add, but it could be a nice feeling).
It is the child inside me. The boy who was left in tears after Euro 92, Euro 96, World Cup 98.
All of those disappointments fuel my desire to support our international team, no matter how much I do not want to. England need to succeed for that 11-year-old me, who still wills Gazza to get on the end of that cross. No matter how many times I see that footage, a part of me always expects him to connect with the ball. England owe me.
The past two weeks have brought to light the type of character that represents England on the international stage:
- John Terry – found guilty of making racist comments. This guy was the long time England captain and leader of the golden generation.
- Ashley Cole – charged with calling the FA a bunch of twats on Twitter. Arguably the best left-back England has ever had and he is in line for his 100th cap.
Why would anybody in their right mind support two guys of this nature?
If they were average guys drinking in your local pub, would you say hello? I certainly wouldn’t. I would go out of my way to ensure I never got caught in a dialogue with them.
Neanderthals who act like the world owes them a favour are not in short supply across England. Village idiots. Town hard-men. Those we like to avoid and hope we never become.
I do not speak to the local morons, so why should I support them on a football pitch?
To excuse the inexcusable is something I am guilty of.
Justifying why Eric Cantona was right to kick a fan in the head is something I will stand up for until the day I die. Am I in the same boat as the Chelsea fans defending the actions of Terry and Cole? Maybe.
Whilst I must stress that I am not a fan of Terry, I can actually tolerate Cole as I feel the history of his actions are more of stupidity than malice. A question I would be tempted to ask all football fans is, would your opinion on John Terry or Ashley Cole change, if they joined the club you love?
To give a little perspective; Robin Van Persie as a footballer has always been world class – but as a man, he made my blood boil… The incident in which he argued with Newcastle goalkeeper, Tim Krul, nearly resulted in a tweet which would have seen me put in prison for trolling. However, since August of this year, the man has become god in my eyes. Love is blind, in life and in football.
I cannot help but admit that no matter who pulls on the white of our country, I, with my whole heart, want them to do a good job and get a result.
Not for them personally. Not for the club they represent – but for me. For me, as a selfish football fan who is desperate for our national side to finally do something right.
To respond directly, you can contact me on Twitter: @NathonW