Tag Archives: England

A Lovely Pre-Match Story

14 Jun

Once upon a time in a green and pleasant land, men, women and children woke with a great sense of anticipation. A little boy in Exeter refused to eat his breakfast until his father joined him in singing a variety of football chants across the kitchen table. A mother in Dewsbury quickly started her ironing, did the washing up, hoovered the front room, and nipped out to the shops to buy her lottery tickets so she’d have all her work done in plenty of time. Thousands of hungover lasses in Newcastle woke up in strangers’ beds with a desire to get home as soon as possible.

The sense of excitement grew throughout the day. A bin man in Croydon braved the PC Brigade, pinned a flag of St George to the back of his fluorescent tabard and walked into a local pub. As a group of Scousers pushed her and her shopping cart over, a granny gave a cry that sounded like “England til I die” (though it might have actually been, “Help! Police!”). A benefit cheat in Derby spent two hours making sure his telly was precisely angled to allow for maximum viewing pleasure. An intelligent and sexy woman in my very own village asked her houseboy Christopher to hurry through her usual pedicure.

A flock of doves flew over a playing field in Basingstoke.

Today was the day. An entire bunting-covered nation put their mobiles on vibrate, opened their tabs at the bar and waited for the moment of truth.

Happy St George’s Day

23 Apr

Today we honour St George, the Patron Saint of England. Unlike St Patrick’s Day, traditional celebrations do not centre around getting pissed out of our gourds. Instead we spend the day trying not to seem racist.

As a naturalised citizen, I bear no guilt from the evils of the Empire nor shame from the loss of it.  I embrace my new country and can display my Cross of Saint George. However, I am not naive to the world around me, which explains why I’ll be flying my flag indoors (which sounds like a euphemism but is meant literally).

Unfortunately England’s flag—which should represent our entire country, good and bad—has been co-opted by what most sensible people would call the bad.  Apparently, 24% of the English consider their own flag to be racist, according to a report called This Sceptred Isle.

This is unfair. There are still many things English to take pride in. David Beckham is properly lovely and you know it.  Our citizens are incredibly charitable. The NHS may not be perfect, but I’m grateful for it. We’ve got terrific architecture, art, comedy, music: I mean, we got a lot good going on here, people. It’s a shame that those who want to appropriately celebrate these things are too afraid to do so, for fear of being associated with racist ignorance. Is there a way to have national pride without being nationalistic?

I don’t know and I’m not in a position to make that call anyway. But I do hope we can all remember old St George on his day. Who cares that he wasn’t really English and that his greatest feat was killing an imaginary creature? I mean, we’ve all got our own personal dragons that need slaying and he can inspire us to do that. And our saint did tons of brilliant things, including bringing himself and others (even oxen) back from the dead, which is no mean feat, I can tell you.

As the song goes, “I’ve been dreaming of a time when to be English is not to be baneful, to be standing by the flag not feeling shameful, racist or partial.” God knows, Morrissey’s got his issues but let’s make his dream come true today, just for a minute, in the privacy of our own sitting rooms. Then tomorrow when we wake to the hate and violence in the streets, the dire economic picture and the idiots who run our country, we can return to feeling ashamed once again.

An Unashamed Premature Ejaculation

3 Dec


I try to keep my ejaculations appropriately timed—those who vociferate too early look over-eager and those who wait until others start cheering end up looking like sycophants.

But I’ve come over all excited by the opening of the Adelaide test!

When the first wicket fell, Christopher uttered a sudden loud cry and to be honest, I felt embarrassed for him. I’ve had experience with Australians going down quickly and they rarely bring satisfaction in the long run (which is why I no longer accept drinks from men at Walkabout). But when Ponting was out for a golden duck, I admit my face flushed and I could feel the dew on my forehead. Christopher poured me my second highball (I need the caffeine to help keep me awake), and, fuck me, if Clarke wasn’t out, caught in the slips.

Could this really be happening?

Today of all days, England needed a sporting boost. This could be it. I know it may be early  but thank you, my men in flannels, for an incredible start.


Christopher has now slipped into his jim-jams and curled up by the fire. But I can assure you: all night long, I’ll be awake—with bated breathe, racing pulse and slightly moistened thighs.

No Witty Title Today, I’m Afraid

27 Jun

Technology is everywhere. That’s the world we live in. Some technology is morally good—it can help us find directions to little towns with delightful tea shops and allow lovely lady writers to reach out more of their devoted public. Some technology is not morally good—it is helping sad bastards to feel better about themselves when they really shouldn’t,  it is draining us of our sanity by tempting us to six hour Mah Jongg marathons, and it is destroying the pleasure of holding a book or newspaper in your hands as you read.

However, technology is here. I can’t do anything to stop it. I don’t have to fall in love with it, but it’s here and it’s changing our world.

Today’s England v Germany match would have benefited from technology. In less that a few seconds, we were all able to see that Lampard’s goal went in. In the time it takes for Ashley Cole to decide where to throw in the ball or the time it takes for a player to pretend he’s hurt long enough for the other team to kick out the ball, the refs could have been able to see that the goal had gone in. Cost is not the issue; the fact that video technology won’t be used at all levels of the game is not an issue (international teams get pussy at the drop of a hat but my Sunday league can’t even get a look in, how is FIFA addressing that inequality?). Technology would have shown the goal to be fair and who knows how keeping things fair  might have changed the match.

That said . . .

England’s performance was poor throughout. Despite the hours I’ve spent on the minds of Fergie, Arsene and yes, Jose, I am no football expert. But I do know this:

  1. There needs to be an offensive plan beyond just whacking it towards the goal and hoping that someone on the other team makes a mistake and allows it to go in.
  2. There needs to be a strong defense. Did Germany play fantastically or did they just take advantage of the space they were allowed? David James (albeit in gorgeous yellow) had to work too hard whereas the skinny version of James Corden at the other end was more protected.

While it’s true that we don’t know what might have happened had the “goal that wasn’t (but really was)” counted, it’s also true that it shouldn’t have mattered. When I set out to woo a gentleman, I am a man possessed. I know what I want and, on the few occasions I’ve taken a kicking (not literally, of course, as I do not woo that type of man), I get up and get on with the wooing.  When I really, really want a man, I go in there and get him. England did not go in and get their man today (not even Ashley). It was a poor showing all round: Johnson wasn’t fast enough, Lampard has to do something other than miss “ambitious” tries, I don’t even know what’s up with Rooney and John Terry—Hello? Did you not get the memo that you were playing in a World Cup match today?

I’m afraid I don’t have the patience to analyze this any further, to dig into the sporting, historical and cultural explanations that might make sense of this fiasco. Like the rest of you, I am too mortified and too drunk to do so reasonably at this moment. Instead we should all just concentrate on accepting it, getting to the toilet before we vomit and avoiding kicking off at the elderly German man who just happens to step into our paths as we stumble home.

A Much Relieved Match Report

23 Jun

Our moment came. England played a good game of football. It wasn’t the best game of football but it was a solid game; they played as they should have done in the first two matches.

Defoe’s goal was lovely and the tide had turned. Although we weren’t able to score another, we had some decent efforts. It was exciting and fun to watch (though it was also nerve-wracking, Christopher has bitten my nails down to the quick this afternoon). This is what the World Cup should be like.

Yesterday, Steven Gerrard said, “The fear of not winning drives you on.” Stevie, no. The desire to win drives you on. The desire to win, to be the best. We should not be motivated by any fear—fear of losing, fear of letting people down or being pilloried by the press. Have you ever seen a Will Smith film? Did he defeat the aliens because he was afraid? No. He killed them because he is one tough motherfucker; anyone messes with him and he is going to get all rowdy on their ass.  We need to stop being driving forward by fear. We need to get through the next round because we have that burning desire that fills our stands, our pubs and all too frequently our trousers but is so rarely seen on the pitch.

But today, in the end, we did it. Was it down to a coach, who successfully motivated his team, (possibly Sopranos-style)? Was it down to the players who remembered that it’s three lions they’re wearing and made it to the back of the net? Was it down to the media whose constant pressure finally paid off? Or was it down to the good old English fans, who woke this morning believing that for fuck’s sake, in a week where we’re facing the Budget, a Tube strike and the news that Jordan has doubts about remarrying Alex Reid, something good has got to happen to this country?

Thank you, boys.

Thank you, England.

A Realistic Match Prediction—18 June 2010

18 Jun

England will win draw. But not because they [didn’t] played fantastically well.

Individual players’ strategies during the game will be “Oh my god, I’ve got the ball, I’ve gotta get rid of it” or “I’m kinda lined up here, maybe I should just kick it as hard as I can over towards that goal area.” A few will probably get carded, but there won’t be any serious injuries or errors.

No fans will be truly satisfied with the match.

David Beckham will look lovely.