Got your plastic England
Elvis wig from Sainsburyís yet ? Thought not. Or how about that St
Georgeís Cross squeaky hammer dog-toy ? Me neither, although judging
from the plaintive expression on our Flossieís face I think she feels let
down. Similarly berated by the family for not joining in the rush to
buy special offer plastic England trainers (ďbut the wristbands are
freeĒ), I succumbed and am now the proud owner of a blue tracksuit top,
100% unofficial, with ĎEnglandí spread across my chest.
Itís not that I donít
want England to perform well in Germany. I do, I really do, and Iím
looking forward enormously to thirty days of quality football. I
care, itís just that I donít care that much, certainly not nearly as much
as I do about Tottenham. Be honest, what would you rather see, England win
the World Cup or Spurs win something next year ? No contest for me.
Iíd gladly line the streets to cheer Martin Jolís blue and white army when
we bring home the cup, or throw my own street party for the league, but I
wouldnít get out of bed if the England open-top bus drove down the end of
I suspect that Iím not
alone. Most regular supporters of league teams are more concerned
about the fortunes of their clubs than they are the national team.
When England lose I will be disappointed but the feeling will quickly
fade, whereas even after all these years I cannot shed so easily the
adolescent anguish of a Spurs defeat. In many ways itís almost a
relief to watch England, supporting a team, enjoying the peaks without the
possibility of plunging into the troughs of despair, setting aside
temporarily the rivalry with fans of other teams. Actually, though,
that rivalry is a fantastic element of being a Spurs fan. I donít
want to be the same as Arsenal or Chelsea supporters, thank you very much.
Whatís the meaning of displaying an England flag in the window or on your
car ? Standing up as an England fan to the other 35 million or so
England fans in the country is not much of a statement in my book.
What I really hope for in
the coming weeks is that England do well because of the performances of
our players. Robbo could easily finish the competition as amongst
the best keepers in the world, Lenny is creating the same buzz around the
country as he has in his short career at the Lane and Carrick might in the
end be the difference between a good and a great England tournament.
I place their individual success above that of the national team.
When England concede, my instinctive reaction is Ďare they going to blame
Robbo ?í I become intensely protective if our players are
So Iím proud that we
provide so many members of the squad. At the same time, Iím worried
that the backbone of our team will start the season jaded because they
have had no summer break. Typically the summer tournaments take
their toll on players around Christmas-time as the fixtures pile up and
the grounds get heavy. When Ledley was not selected I genuinely felt for
him, but secretly I was glad to know our best player will be fit and
raring to go right from the start of the season. Also, a good
tournament for any player means their value will dramatically increase.
Spurs have clearly altered their buying policy this close season to get
pre-World Cup prices on their transfer targets. When you hear
players preferring to wait until after the World Cup before deciding on
their future, you know this translates as Ďa couple of good games and
Barca may come in for meí. We could therefore get left behind in our
pursuit of certain transfer targets and also become victims of success if,
say, Lennon or Carrick suddenly attract the interest of Europeís top
At the moment everyone is
on a high. Players can go from villains to heroes just by doing a silly
dance as a goal celebration. A sense of humour helpfully puts it all
in perspective (the robot dance was being ironic, wasnít itÖ?).
However, one mistake at the wrong time means tabloid crucifixion. Ian
Walker conceded a few years ago in an international against Italy and was
never quite the same player afterwards, no matter that England played
poorly, that one of the worldís best players, Zola, was the scorer and the
shot took a slight deflection.
So hereís hoping for an
England win, with our wonderful Spurs contingent doing well, but above all
stay injury free. I guess in the end Iím a bit of a miserable git,
and Iíve failed in my patriotic duty because I still canít get worked up
about the England team suits - Ďtake us through the suit from shoes up,
David. How does it compare to previous England suits you have worn?í
I confess that I canít be a true fan as I didnít travel 4 hours to crouch
in the hot sun by the perimeter fence at Luton airport just for a glimpse
of our brave boys boarding an aeroplane. But if Robbo makes a match
winning save from Ronaldo, bowls the ball out to Carrick whose forty yard
through-ball sets Lennon free, his cross finds Jenas coming late into the
box at the end of a lung-bursting 60 yard run and he smashes a late winner
into the top corner, I promise you Iíll be the first to raise a cheer.