So, that's another world cup over. Spain, hotly tipped by most, including those who tip them every four years ‘because this has to be their year’ triumphed in a supposedly brutal final - I say supposedly because I must have missed the worst of the kung fu tackles whilst making my tea and flicking channels. A final that was notable for being reffed by a Yorkshire copper, who claimed this would be the pinnacle of his career but must have wished he was laying by a river bank in Northumbria with Raoul Moat. And a final that summed up the most overhyped world cup of all time by showing that the majority of times, a football match is a bit shit. As an advert for football, it just exposed most of the players, especially those of the England team, as the classless multi-millionaire playboys they are.
It’s not just England who suffered. The Kermits hilariously reverted to their national stereotype by bickering, striking and meekly surrendering. The Italians, like the old joke about their tanks, seemed to be stuck in reverse gear, finishing below a team of part time posties and shepherds, and Slovakia which I still have no idea where it is, and has only existed for about 6 months.
The other big teams, Germany – who I hoped would win and looked the best team - Brazil and Argentina did better, but did nothing to suggest the hype around the supposed superstars of front and back pages, glossy magazines and adverts, were actually any good when it counts.
Take that bloody Nike advert for example. With just 4 goals between the lot that appeared in it, half of which came from Iniesta who scored for Spain in the final, they'd be better off practising kicking a ball rather than advertise kid made polyester tat. Oh, and Theo Walcott, one for the future four years ago and still one for the future now. Satisfyingly, the advert, became absent from our screens relatively early on in the tournament. As did the mass of England themed adverts. Terry Venables, looking like a cross between someone who spends his evenings dogging and the considerably richer than you Harry Enfield character, advertising shit tabloids. John Barnes rapping to flog Mars Bars – how much did they have to pay him to humiliate himself like that? Answer, they probably just gave him the Mars Bar.
I remember the bloke who drew Portugal in the pub sweepstake where the prize was a free pint for every goal your team scored being particularity pleased during their game with Korea
The worst offender, in the advert stakes, was that Carlsberg advert. Even getting past the fact that the England national team is being trumpeted by Danish pisswater, it’s still a wretched affair. Where to begin? The ‘for Bobby bit’ (nowhere near as good as "That’s for Bobby" by the way) which perpetuates the rewriting of history as far as the abuse he got from the press and fans during his reign as manager, Clive Woodward who's bizarre stint at Southampton springs to mind, Phil Taylor, that bird who went round the world in a boat with only the latest technology and a stack of Diva magazines for company, Kasabian, the ghost of Bobby Moore… the whole thing feels like it was dreamt up by a WKD fuelled stag party. All it was missing was a few bars of ‘No Surrenda’. I first saw this advert in a hotel bar in Crewe after a Bradford City match. When it finished I let out an astonished ‘What a crock of shite’ to bemused glances of the half a dozen other people in there who I’m guessing thought it was the best thing they’d ever seen. Then again we were in Crewe.
If you chose to inflict ITV’s coverage on your household then you deserve to sit though that type of dirge. To miss one winning goal with an ‘technical problem’ the other year during the Merseyside derby was bad enough, but to do it again during the England game is pure farce. It’s no wonder their viewing figures for the final were so poor - 3.3 million compared to the BBC’s 15.1 million. Football on ITV has always been shit, and even though they’ve got the likeable Adrian Chiles, who comes over as a genuine fan, they also have Peter Drury, who’s commentary consists of stringing soundbites together with an exaggerated sense of importance.
And if that’s not enough for you to lose the will to live, just to top it off they’ve put on whiney voiced, ham beanbag comedy vacuum James Corden on after, to host a blokey ‘footie’ show. Which is about as funny as a taxi ride to see a loved one in a care home with Derrick Bird.
The tournament hasn't been without its merits, it's been nice to have three games a day, and I remember the bloke who drew Portugal in the pub sweepstake where the prize was a free pint for every goal your team scored being particularity pleased during their game with Korea but as a whole, it was a predictable let down.
But if you believe the hype whilst snacking on Mars Bars, enjoying a Coke and a Bud whilst dancing like Roger Miller in your brand new Nike hotshots so you can score like Rooney does in a YouTube viral, blowing your vuvuzela and waving your flag and singing for Africa then you deserve to be let down. After all, as any football fan eagerly waiting August 7th will tell you, being let down is what it’s really all about. It’s the true spirit of football.