• David

Why I Don't Know if I Want it to Come Home...

So, it’s coming home, hopefully, but do I actually want it to?

For 37 years of my life, there has been one single constant, heartbreak. Heartbreak in the form of a national football team. A team that’s morphed several times in my lifetime, but never quite found the formula to win anything.

Southgate's (now legendary) miss

Truth be told, for large periods (most of it) we actually just weren’t good enough. Hapless managers, no clear DNA of how we should be playing the game, club managers filling their players heads with poison over national team duties, and then there was the players, oh god, the players...

Steven Warnock, Richard Wright, Zat Knight, Warren Barton, Stuart Ripley, Danny Mills, Carlton Palmer, Leon Osman... Kevin fucking Davies for gods sake!

The average reader will be lucky enough not to remember any of those, but for me, there’s no such luck I’m afraid, they are etched on my mind for all of eternity.

Psycho's miss (the first one I remember)

Sprinkled amongst those utter shithouses we’ve had some would-be world-beaters too, Beckham, Rooney, Gerrard, Scholes, McManaman (Steve not Callum), Lampard, Shearer, Owen and Gazza could all have made it into world 11’s but there weren’t enough of them and they were poorly managed.

…Regardless, every 2 years, I’d buy into the media hype, me, Pies, Sparrow and Podhead* would get in each others ears, and like clockwork, 2 weeks before every tournament, I'd be convinced we had a chance of winning it 🏆

I’d start thinking ‘I know we have weak links, but we have 3 or 4 players that are dynamite, and worse teams than us have won it - something JUST needs to click and we’ll be off and running’

And what followed, every-time, was 2 to 3 weeks of torturous hell (this is the first 4 weeker of my life 😳 can you believe that? getting to a final makes tournaments loooooong, who knew!?) - massive anticipation followed by routinely sub-par performances have been the pattern of my lifetime. Allowing myself to buy into the highs, and buy into them hard, then crashing headfirst into the lows, like a real-life rollercoaster 🎢 on repeat, again, then again, probably forever 🤢

Batty was at it too...

But despite all that... I love it, I fucking love it so much?! Would it be fun to be spain ‘08-‘14 basically walking and still winning everything in sight? I really don’t know if it would you know? Not very… British is it? I love the surprise joy of beating a 'big team', I love the pain of drawing with the San Marinos of this world, I love the weeks-long angry dissection of 'what went so wrong' I just love supporting England.

So here I am, not knowing what to think or feel! I thought I’d always dreamed of winning something, I figured that’s why I found all of those abject performances so fucking painful? But as I stand here, face2face with the prospect of winning the European Cup I’m scared, I’m scared that it will never be the same again, I’m scared that I’m about to meet my ultimate hero and he’s gonna turn out to be a total chopper and there’ll be no going back, I'm scared, I'm scared, I'm really fucking scared.

I guess all will be revealed tomorrow night?



*Pies, Podhead & Sparrow are real-life characters from my past, their names have not been changed to protect their identity. Send me a DM if you want the stories of the names.

**Grainy images from the papers I would read the next day, trying to come to terms with another dissapointment.

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