Saturday, June 07, 2008

Alpine extravaganza

The European Championships kick off today and, it may have escaped your attention, England aren't in 'em. The last time England failed to reach a major championships was back in 1994 when they arsed up qualifying for the World Cup in America. And it was brilliant. That was in part due to Ireland being in it and me being, for the major part of the tournament, in Ireland.
And John Aldridge swore a lot in front of millions of viewers:



No such Irish representation this time, nor Scotland, Wales or Norn Iron. Instead, we have 16 decent teams involved and it promises to be the usual feast of football without the ridiculous hype attached to England's failure to win on penalties in the quarter-finals. But football has changed since 1994 - or rather the change evident then has progressed exponentially. Players will be referred to as "Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas" or "new Spurs signing Luka Modric" or "ex-Everton winger Niclas Alexandersson" and that's really, really tedious. With no England there, it ought to be something for the football purist to enjoy, but continuous attempts to hook in the short of attention will spoil it. Similarly, the BBC's campaign to drum up a bit of interest from the passing punter by suggesting that one requires a team to support in order to get anything from it. Since when? For a start, that's more than slightly patronising. I shall be watching and no doubt enjoying most of it when commentators concentrate on the football and not the clubs the players are being linked with, especially as there's no Ian Wright.
Having said all that, up the Poland.

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