I think all England fans can agree that it was much more enjoyable in the days when we seemed a bit amateurish. You know, when our players always looked a bit out of shape, off the pace and just too ugly to be competing with the flashy crème of the international footballing scene.
As the French, Spanish and Germans sashayed onto the field of play all fit and tanned, with their lustrous hair and properly functioning postures, it was easy to cheer on our rag-tag band of grotesque underdogs: Chris Waddle with his mullet and pot belly; Peter Beardsley hobbling around like a Dickensian orphan that nobody wanted to own; NAME DELETED BY FANAGEDDON LAWYERS with his brazen alcoholism; Gary Lineker with shit all down his legs. They seemed so out of place, so incongruous, so brilliantly absurd that you just couldn’t help fall in love with them and will them to win with every ounce of your soul.
It became harder to be an England fan when we tried to go all professional: when the players started to get better hair, better skin, better fitness levels and better at football. Suddenly, they carried themselves not with the endearingly vulnerable shame of a Kenny Sansom or a Steve McMahon but with the slick assuredness that playing for Champions League titans like Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal had instilled in them.
Arrogance set in. A sense of entitlement followed. Members of the squad started referring to John Terry as “JT.” And that was the nation’s love affair with its football team ended. They’d all turned into wankers.
16% of England fans said they would be prepared to give up their beloved, delicious, drunk-making alcohol for ever and ever in return for seeing their team win the tournament.
Let’s look at the facts. Going into Euro 2012, England fans have the lowest sense of pride in the whole of Europe (41% in comparison to a European average of 63.9%).
But that doesn’t mean we crave success any less than the next fool. 16% of England fans said they would be prepared to give up their beloved, delicious, drunk-making alcohol for ever and ever in return for seeing their team win the tournament. Now if that’s not desire, I don’t know what is.
Meanwhile, the pretentious French – who are always boasting about having a more ‘mature’ attitude towards boozing with their poncey one glass of wine with their evening omelet policies – are far more reluctant to give the stuff up entirely. 27% of them refused to ever stop boozing, not even for just one day.
Not so mature now, are we France? You couldn’t even stomach twenty-four hours away from your precious alcohol in exchange for the far sweeter taste of European football glory.
Less surprising is the Frenchman’s reluctance to give up sex. 55% of these Gallic perverts refused to countenance refraining from hanky-panky for even a single day – even if the Delaunay Trophy itself was at stake. That makes them the least willing to abstain from sex (or ‘La danse de la gloire romantique’ as the depraved lunatics probably like to call it) in the whole of Europe.
Oh yeah, they might have more pride in their team than us English but, when push comes to shove, they couldn’t really care less whether their team won or lost. But then, of course, the Frenchman’s philosophical nature has always been his Achilles heel.
Jean-Pierre Frenchy is always sat about by some river, tugging on a filterless tab, sipping an absurdly oversized coffee, peering into the middle distance and telling anyone who’ll listen that none of us are really here, life is transient and so nothing really matters anyway. The idiot. How are you supposed to enjoy football with an attitude like that?
We English are likely to respond to defeat tonight with the appropriate level of irrationality: we will shout, we will cry, we will tell our disinterested wives we don’t really care about England anyway, then we will go and kick the cat in a futile gesture of defiance to the footballing Gods.
If the French lose, on the other hand, all the average Gallic football fan will do is shrug his shoulders, allow a wry grin to flicker on his Bordeaux-stained lips and observe wryly, “Ah well, mon amis, zat is life, I suppose.”
Incidentally, 22% of England fans are willing to give up sex for a whole month in return for football glory this summer. Now that’s what I call good old fashioned English pluck. Although the chances of any of us having the option of doing it more than once a month anyway does seem a bit far fetched. Alez Les Rosbifs!!
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