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All Things Footie | Thursday, June 5 | Jordan

I give up

It’s been a tempestuous relationship at best, I’ve been through rough and smooth times with them, but all things must come to an end and I’ve finally given up on England.

I’ll probably still watch the competitive games, but I’ll find it very difficult to become excited over an England goal. I’ll still have opinions about the team and I’m certain to keep an eye on their fortunes - hoping for the best - but only in the same way you do with your local combination league side.

Captaining your country is supposedly the highest honour a footballer can be given, to lead out a nation, to inspire your troops before battle and to take the weight of the country’s expectations on your shoulders. How can anyone ever feel this again under Sven Goran Eriksson? It’s clear that to be England captain you now need no qualifications at all. Emile Heskey has never even captained Liverpool to my knowledge and I’d like to bet that Phil Neville’s name hasn’t entered Sir Alex Ferguson’s head when thinking about Roy Keane’s successor. John Terry for instance has captained Chelsea (and quite well by all accounts) on numerous occasions this season, but Eriksson clearly believes that age alone is the defining factor.

Four players captained England on Tuesday, and only one of them even deserves to wear the shirt let alone get anywhere near a captain’s armband. Oafish Charlton rejects, coin-throwing scallies, substitute substitutes and talentless muppets litter the England squad and I see no reason why that will change in the near future. The Premiership contains some of the World’s finest talents, and many of the stars are English (there are five Englishmen in the all things footie team of the year). England could piece together a team to be proud of, one to be kept and settled on, where the players get to know one another and how their compatriots play. Where a formation is settled and the team picks itself.

We have players good enough to allow England to play football rather than the negative, long-ball reliant and excruciatingly dull rubbish that masquerades as the beautiful game. Much of England’s (young and old) talent is admired Worldwide, so until England stop giving away caps and captains armbands like they’re running out of fashion I don’t give a monkeys what they do. I’d have been happier on Tuesday had Northern Ireland got a result against Italy and I’ll be happier on Saturday if Wales continue their remarkable progress against S&M and Ireland bolster their hopes of qualification against Albania. I still can’t bring myself to cheer on Scotland I’m afraid.

And before anyone says anything about singing while winning, or when the going gets tough, blah, blah, blah … I’ve supported England through the Taylor years, the Hoddle years, the Keegan years, but despite the poor showings [like Glenn] I always had faith. That’s now gone, and I couldn’t care less. All those other managers had very little to work with, Eriksson has a crop of the finest players England have ever had, but he still manages to regularly find a place for someone as useless as Emile Heskey. There’s so much politics and rubbish involved with International football now that it’s all a waste of time. The quality of International football is incomparable with the Premiership or La Liga, and most top club sides would destroy all but the very best International teams. Anyway, until Eriksson has buggered off and left us with someone who has a tactical plan that doesn't consist of ‘try everything, and if it doesn’t work; try everything again!’ England and I are finished. Bon voyage.

On a different note, will someone please explain to me how England are threatened with expulsion from the European Championships for racist behaviour (by a very small minority that I honestly have not seen any evidence of), whilst PSV Eindhoven have just had a paltry fine of £25,000 reduced to £15,000 for throwing missiles, making monkey chants and hurling clearly audible (even on TV) abuse at Thierry Henry non-stop for 90 minutes? It makes a mockery of the ‘kick racism out’ campaign and makes it look suspiciously like England are being unfairly treated because of reputation alone. I find the whole situation absolutely unbelievable.

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