Team GB Is For Bunting and Pimms in the Home Counties

As much as I wanted to be excited for Team GB's opening match, half way through I realised I had turned into Mark Lawrenson. A sobering moment, let me tell you...
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I don’t like to be the party-pooper. No one wants to be the grumpy nerd in the corner while the popular smiley kids have fun. I sat down to watch “Team GB” last night with this exact attitude in mind. I knew I wouldn’t be served up anything near as tasty as the treats of Euro 2012, yet I was ready to embrace this unusual tournament.

After all, for any “serious” football fan the opportunity to see tomorrow’s stars, players usually restricted to obscure, far-flung leagues and highly-rated sides such as Uruguay and Japan should be welcomed with enthusiastic endeavor. The problem, however, is that when the game you’re watching is so far from serious that it becomes reminiscent of soccer aid, that enthusiasm doesn’t last very long. 14 minutes to be exact; the same amount of time it took for the crowd to engage in a Mexican f*cking wave.

It did not take long last night for it to become apparent to me that Team GB are the football team for those who don’t really like football but are more than keen to get involved for the next month if it means we’re “doing our bit” for Britain. The total non-existence of football fans was made apparent by a constant silence from the crowd that even the Emirates would be proud of. Perhaps I was naïve, but I was expecting at least one or two humorous songs from the crowd, at the very, very least we could have had a bit of jingoism with a rendition of “Rule Britannia.” Alas we were only left with pantomime noises and the very occasional, very half-hearted, and very unoriginal Team GB chant.

The total non-existence of football fans was made apparent by a constant silence from the crowd that even the Emirates would be proud of.

I didn’t want it to be like this. Believe me I didn’t. It was too my horror when I realised mid way through the second half that my antipathy towards the game had turned me into Mark Lawrenson. Yet I struggled through in the hope that a good win, an encouraging individual performance, a sight of Becks or even a nice move would get me excited again. I was left waiting. Perhaps that’s a little harsh; Aaron Ramsey looked good when he came on, but Team GB’s surrendering of their lead was so utterly predictable it didn’t even illicit a response when it finally came.

Teams like Brazil, Uruguay, Spain, Japan and even Senegal have all provided their countries with genuine cause for excitement. Out of last night’s line-up only Ryan Bertrand and Micah Richards looked capable of holding down a place at a top team. Sturridge, Cleverley and Allen all failed to live up to the hype and while Butland admittedly looks very promising in patches, he still has a long way to go before he’s getting anywhere near Joe Hart’s England place.

Perhaps more to the point, however, is that not only do those aforementioned teams have thrilling young prospects, they are team that will continue to play together for years to come. For Brazil or Spain fans, these Olympics provide a sneak-peek into future World Cups. Why should we care if Joe Allen can link up well with Jack Cork? Team GB is a team that will die before it gets a chance to live. Team GB is not for football followers, it’s for Bunting and Pimms in the Home Counties. Hurry up August 18th.

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