I’m the first to admit, I’m not a football fan, but the World Cup brings out all that I find most odious in England. It’s the sunburnt, fat, alcohol-soaked middle-aged man in a too tight shirt, with his gut hanging out and a can of Special Brew in one hand. It’s the overweight, unwashed woman in an England shirt. It’s the lads with their shirts draped around their neck.
And this time, it’s the flags. Bloody everywhere.
I’m glad no-one on our street has succumbed. That’s partly because some of the street are gay and don’t care about football unless it’s Christiano Ronaldo in skimpy shorts. It’s partly because a big part of my neighbourhood is Asian and they care more for cricket. It’s partly because we’re not council estate knobheads who have nothing better to spend our dole money on than cheap plastic bunting from Aldi and cheap flags for our cars. They’re noticeably the same people who put tacky Christmas lights outside.
I’m such a snob, I know, but it’s soooo tacky and it makes me feel quite queasy to live in a country where yobs cover their houses in flags, just because they can get them cheap, not because they believe in it.
My brother-in-law is an avid fan. They have some flags. He will no doubt have a few beers and watch the match. But he won’t be part of those yobs that go out hammered onto the street to cause mayhem. The sunshine is bad enough – it brings all the worst dregs of drunken society out onto the street rather than huddling inside or in a pub. We already had a couple of men hanging out on the street at Steve’s yesterday, boorish and leery. They’ve no concept of how loud and uncouth they are and also how predictable. It’ll be worse tonight.
It wouldn’t be so bad if people would do it for other events, rather than just football, like for the Olympics, or for the rugby or cricket, but no: football appeals to the masses. I don’t know why. Often the scoreline is rubbish and there’s very little action. As I remember it, the World Cup final 1998 where Paris played Brazil was about as dull as football gets. I think even the Brazilian players were bored. At least rugby has nail-bitingly exciting moments.
I suspect England will go through the group stage – they seem to have terrible competition. It looks like a really easy group. I guess if we’re then up against the runner-up in group D, that’ll be Serbia. I bet we’ll either go out here or just scrape through. On paper, we should beat them. And then we’ll be up against France or Mexico and then we’ll go out ungraciously. I reckon France. In fact, that’d make my whole previous year played out in a battle of the football teams – a symbol of my internal struggle with national identity. And I bet France win : )
2nd July. I predict an England-France result of 2-1.
Now, if I don’t put a bet on, I’ll look like a right loser, so off I go!