So, thanks to England stinking like a teenage boy's bedroom last night, there will be no Euro 2008-related tomfoolery for us next year. I was doing the LeftLion pub quiz last night, so I missed it - but I was witness to the longest sentence the Fish Man has ever said (which went along the lines of "They were fucking shit", and then mumbled a bit). When it was all over, I felt the usual feelings of loss and regret that inevitably come when England fuck it up. But then a shower of Stone Island-wearing gibbons came in, and the one with the hairstyle that looked like he'd submerged his head in a chip pan and then dragged a rake down the front of it called me 'scum' for not being there to cheer 'The Boys' on. Then I started laughing.
Just as well we're out, really, as we would have been just as shit then as we are now. But before we all do Cross of St George-like slits on our wrists, let's all calm down, take a deep breath, realise what we won't have to put up with next year, and be grateful.
1. There won't be shops selling England tat months before it happens
Seriously, they ought to call it Man-Christmas or summat. Speaking as someone who texts everyone he knows on New Year every two years with a message that goes “Yessss! It’s World Cup/Euro year! Get IN!”, even I get pissed off with non-sport shops flogging mank from March onwards. I mean, does anyone really need an England air hockey game or an England executive pen set? And I'm not even going to talk about England fish shapes or England garlic bread. Fuck that.
2. You won't see England flags everywhere
In 2002, the AA estimated that the country was wasting millions of gallons of petrol due to the drag factor caused by people strapping plastic England flags to their cars. More importantly, the RAC estimated that hundreds of thousands of cars look absolutely shit. And do they really have to have ‘England’ written on them? Have you ever seen a stars and stripes with ‘America’ on it, or a swastika bearing the legend ‘The Nazis’?
3. You won't see chatty estates looking like a big concrete garden fete
As soon as the Christmas decorations come down (March), up go the fucking England flags. Funny how the people who get the shittiest end of the stick from their own country are the most patriotic, eh? The good news is that flying a cross of St.George at home doesn’t automatically make people think you’re a racist anymore. The bad news is we still haven’t got flagpoles in our back yards, so people invariably trap ‘em in the upstairs window, which is wrong. Does the US national anthem go “Oh say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet hang out of Daz’s back bedroom?” If you’ve got your flag in your bedroom window, you can’t open the bastard during the hottest time of the year. For as long as two months. That’s minging as fuck.
4. You won't feel like you're in the Trent End circa 1982 when you're in the pub
People who moan about all-seater stadiums love international tournaments, because they can go to Walkabout or somesuch and relive the ‘good old days’. You have to get there at least an hour early to get a good spec. Then you get wedged in against a load of pissed-up twats, struggle to listen to what Gary Lineker has to say and are forced to listen to crap music for half an hour. Like the old-school experience, you get a cack view of the action whilst being swept along in a sea of humanity, having the word ‘cunt’ bellowed in your ear by some nob-end who keeps making wanker signs at a television screen. At half-time, you have to piss into an overflowing sink. Someone keeps throwing up a half-full pint pot whenever England score, there’s a hot dog stand at the back that’s in danger of being overturned, and when you leave the place there’s three police vans and an ambulance outside.
5. You won't have to deal with bell-ends standing in the middle of town after England games, showing off
In Italy or Argentina, people bomb about on scooters after games waving flags the size of Viccy Centre about, and it looks dead good. In Nottingham, Tez from Carlton hangs round the Lions with his shirt off and a flag tied round his waist, bellowing and sticking his arms out like he was at a New Model Army gig, having a go at people who are on their way to another pub for ‘not being England’. There’s a reason for that, Tez; it’s because we’re not cunts.
6. You won't have to deal with the same bell-ends singing ‘No surrender to the IRA’ in pubs for no reason whatsoever
Can someone remind me what qualifying group the IRA were in this year, please? And isn’t it funny that the twats who sing this are always the ones staggering round town on St Patricks Day with those fucking stupid Guinness hats on?
7. You won't have to deal with pubs burying themselves in a blizzard of England mank
Down comes the ‘No Football Shirts’ sign in the window. Up go loads of photos of twatty models in face paint and signs that scream ‘Watch England Games Here!’ Oh, okay then, I was just going to shut my eyes and imagine what the game would be like until you said that.
8.You won't have to put up with spacky girls in market T-shirts who don’t know what the fucking fuck is going on
I’m glad to live in a world where football is understood and appreciated by intelligent women. I just can’t stand the ones who clog up the pub in Italy crop-tops (because it’s always Italy, isn’t it? It's never Ukraine or Andorra), or T-shirts with crappily suggestive footy puns like ‘Score with me', 'I have great ball control' or 'Jizz on my tits for England'. They’re just there to cop off, argue with each other over which one’s Wayne Rooney, get bored after ten minutes, and start comparing the tattoos on their arse. Back to Jumpin' Jaks with you, trollops.
9. You won't have to sit in a pub, watching England suck harder than everyone on Forest Road after 7pm
Remember how horrible it was last year. Remember how much wrangling and bartering you did to get out of work early enough. Remember how you would sit outside a pub at noon for half an hour, so you could get a good seat. Remember the pinch-faced, expletive-laden faces of your compatriots in the pub, as the Golden Generation displayed all the finesse and flair of a dribbling post-coital dog's cock. Remember it all, and be grateful you won't have to go through it again.
10. You won't have to cope with the inevitable misery of England getting knocked out
Yes, men do have periods. They usually come once every two years, after England go out against a proper team. All the usual symptoms are there; listlessness, an inability to be rational, general mardyness at being lied to and betrayed and a complete trashing of the living room when your partner says “Why don’t you watch Wimbledon instead?”
(PS: If only the England team had displayed the passion and commitment that this local footballer did)