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COLUMNIST KEVIN SPARKE

Why I hate international football

By Kevin Sparke :  06/09/2009 :  Comments (61) :

Ten reasons why I hate international football.

So, it’s the international break – two weeks into the new domestic season and the whole shooting match is closed down to accommodate Fifa. I’ve been waiting for my dose of Everton all summer long and then, two weeks after I get my fix, they take it all away from me again! Surely my human rights have been compromised; this is as blatant a case of ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ as any Third World dictator or redneck prison guard at Gitmo' bay can devise – I really hate international football and here’s ten reasons why:

1. The England football team. Let’s face it, England are boring. If the England football team were a TV programme, it would be ‘Murder She Wrote’; if it was a car it, would be a ‘Ford Focus’; if it was a sex position, it would be ‘missionary’ with the lights off and ‘pull my nightie back down when you’ve finished’. Over the years, we’ve had flashes of excitement; (Gazza against Scotland; Michael Owen Argentina/Germany) — a tantalising glimpse of what might be... but they’re all too rare occasions and much too fleeting.

2. Fifa – If ever there was a case of the leadership of an organisation being divorced from the membership, this is it. They are fiddling whilst the whole of football burns down around them (and I mean fiddling in the musical sense and not what I used to do to my gas meter... or perhaps not). I applaud their recent stance against Chelsea poaching players under contract – but it’s too little too late. Who voted for these numbskulls anyway? Who voted for...

3. Sepp Blatter – I wrote a poem about him once...

Oh Sepp Blatter, Sepp Blatter;
In your majestic wake we scatter;
Your skill at dictating diktats;
Your random thoughts that just don’t matter’ etc...

I wrote this after he’d speculated that he wanted games to be divided into ‘four quarters’ and to ‘outlaw the draw’ to appeal to the ‘American Market’ – Say that again Sepp???... appeal to America or advertising and sponsors, Sepp?... I think you should be quite clear about this. I could go on but all I need to highlight is he is largely responsible for that complete non-event in the football calendar — the Federations Cup... I need say no more?

4. Injuries – You can bet dollars to doughnuts that at least one of the contingent Everton send on international duty will come back crocked; or be forced to play 75% fit by an international manager who does not have to pick up the pieces... and when Moyes reasonably asks for his players to be protected, he is derided by said country’s national press. Yes Australia – I mean you!

5. ‘En..ger...lund’ Supporters. I’m not talking about lads who support England; good for them; I’m one myself. I’m talking about the gobshites who chant shite like ‘We won the war’ and ‘Two World Wars and one World Cup’ who have made us normal football supporters unwelcome in any European city with their hilarious antics. You know the ones I mean – like the tit who I had sat next to me in the pub last night who spent the whole match telling me how great Eng..er..lund were and who threatened to kick my head in when I asked him what was so great about a bunch of bored millionaires going through the motions and displaying marginal flair, little skill, no appetite for the game and being tactically naive?

6. WAGs – I don’t read tabloids or watch celeb TV, so I’ve largely inoculated myself from the fascination that some people have with the WAGs... but why oh why do TV editors find it necessary to cut to WAG reaction when a player scores a goal, is substituted or even sneezes? It’s happening more and more – soon they’ll have Trinny and Suzanna in the commentary box giving a breakdown of the WAGs outfit and some fashion tips... I’m not bloody interested! This is starting to creep into other sports; I spent much of the Ashes series being forced to look at Mrs Freddie Flintoff every time her hubby took a wicket or worryingly pulled up short on his bowling run up. Now don’t get me wrong – she is gorgeous; but I’m watching sport not celeb spotting!

7. Commentator Clichés – They wheel the same tired old clichés out all the time... Brazil – ‘Samba football’; Italians – ‘cynical’ Germans – ‘methodical’... I do wish they’d join the 21st Century like the rest of us did 9 years ago...

8. The Eng.. er... lund Band – If that band was playing near me at a match, the trombone player would need a team of good surgeons to extricate his instrument from his person – thank God it hasn’t transmuted into the domestic game... it hasn’t... has it?

9. Tapping up good players – I firmly believe that the majority of tapping up goes on during international campaigns. Evidence - Gary Lineker; Wayne Rooney; Joleon 'it's not for the money, honest guv' Lescott... all made their desire to move on with their careers whilst on international duty. I can just picture the scene in a couple of years... Rooney to Rodwell... “Why are you playing for peanuts at a no mark club like Everton when you could be... etc etc”

10. Geographical Loyalty – I’m an Everton supporter due to an accident of my birth... If I’d have been born anywhere but Liverpool, I’d probably support another team. Manchester... Manchester City; Essex... Manchester United; Oslo – Liverpool. Why can’t I pick my international team like some pick their domestic team? I once toyed with the idea of being a Sweden supporter until I found how much it was for a pint in Stockholm. I might support Trinidad and Tobago in future; nice climate; cheap ale... as long as it’s not the hurricane season – well, they’ve got as realistic a chance of actually winning anything as England have...

So there it is... that’s why I hate international football; bring back the Premier League because, with all its faults, it at least gets the blood coursing through my veins... not like another boring Eng... er... lund... match
Come on you Blues!

Reader Comments

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Michael Lynch
1   Posted 06/09/2009 at 16:10:23

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Tottaly agree. The ’Big Four’ bias really pisses me off. For instance according to OPTA who is the top left back in the country? Cole? Bridge? Is it fuck, its our very own Leighton Baines. And he never even made the squad. England team is the biggest clique in world football.
Nick Entwistle
2   Posted 06/09/2009 at 16:11:03

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Totally agree. Especially with the WAG-spotting by the directors. Watch out for more pouting Mrs Becks sat next to the lemon sucking Mrs Cole at next year's World Cup.

Anyone remember Charlotte Church’s recent apearence in the 6 nations? She was on TV so much I thought she was playing.... insert position here.

Anyway, add to your list Kevin, commentators referring about the history of playing at Wembley, as if the demolition of said holy ground, and the erecting of the world’s largest restaurant and bar with football pitch attached was a seemless transition. A shining example of football selling its soul.

Oh, and England wearing an all white kit? No, no, no. Where are the blue shorts?

Oh, and I just don’t care about England. Half the squad play for teams your wouldn’t inform that they have too much ice on the wings of their plane. Was there ever a time when England players were so disliked? Terry, Gerrard, Cole, Rooney, Lampard, Ferdinand etc etc etc...

All the players rate CL as more important, at least they show that in their performances. Too often, England games are drab, and they do just enough to get picked again the following game. This has changed slightly under Copello, so at least now in a major tournament they won’t be too scared to go out and win.

Other than that, I just don’t care about them. Croatia knocking them out at Wembley was beautiful. As for the World Cup, I’m going for the other home nations and the Eastern Europeans with their jazzy anthems.

Shame, I used to love England...

Phil Bellis
3   Posted 06/09/2009 at 16:28:46

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Well said, Kevin and all. I still blame Wales for losing us the double and... I woudn’t watch England if they were playing in Princes Park.

I support... Greece cos of O N-John and cos their white with blue second strip in the bees’ knees; and any national side (bar Ing-er-land) with a Blue in it.

Working in Essex, I get called Traitor! Scouse git! etc; stuff ’em.

Mark Stone
4   Posted 06/09/2009 at 16:27:31

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To be honest Kevin, I have little respect left for professional football at either domestic or international level these days. When I was a kid footy was my life and my love affair with Everton started, and it’s impossible to let go. I won’t miss an Everton game ... but I wouldn’t watch a Chelsea v Man Utd if you paid me.

These days I’ve a lot more respect for rugby and cricket players ... and even more so for cyclists and triathletes whose motto is ’if it was easy, they’d call it football’.
Steve Hogan
5   Posted 06/09/2009 at 16:47:13

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Kevin, great article, pretty much sums up the way I feel about Enger-lund.

I always get the feeling the majority who travel away with them (at great expense) have something ’missing’ from their lives.

They probably support a crap team and this is their way of joining the Enger-lund ’family’ so to speak.

World Cup apart, and it’s mainly the knock-out aspect I enjoy, I NEVER bother watching their games.
Paul Conatzer
6   Posted 06/09/2009 at 16:59:45

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My mum’s English and her dad was an Evertonian...my dad’s American... So, I pull for Mexico. Some nice beer, lovely beaches, good food and some really attractive women... makes as much sense to me as anything else...
Kevin Hudson
7   Posted 06/09/2009 at 18:36:53

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Thanks for that Kev,

Good, funny read following a weekend without "proper," football. I just couldn’t see the point of yesterday’s game. Drab, uncommitted opposition, and England going through the motions in a purely tokenistic manner.

What annoys me is that we play teams like "Transylvania," at walking pace... beat the suckers easily, and what’s the point ? When a juicy friendly against the likes of Holland, France, Germany, Italy or Spain comes up, we generally look completely inferior, and often get beat!! So I get pissed off either way!!

When Jack Rodwell inevitably gets awarded his first call-up, I dread that rather than being proud of, and pleased for him, I fear that that will be the beginning of the end of his Everton career. So England can piss off for that reason too..

Bring on the fuckin’ Blues!!! Good article..

Karl Masters
8   Posted 06/09/2009 at 19:17:00

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When I was a kid, I used to love watching England and I’d be as keen on Keegan or Brooking or Shilton as I was on Latchford, King and Dobson when Everton were playing. I could put aside the fac they played for Clubs I did not like or support.

Now though, I cannot stand the sight of Ferdinand (on £120k a week and still angling for a move), Stevie Me (the biggest diver in English football), Lampard or Terry (who again both cynically held their Club to ransom when City and Inter came knocking to get their already obscene wages increased even further) or that litle shit, Ashley Cole. The list just goes on and on.

When you factor in the tapping up etc, I just cannot stand the players involved. They are a bunch of big-headed wankers no man in the street can relate to.

The England team is all the worst parts of modern football all condensed into one vulgar package, with a backdrop of knob-end supporters (not all I know, but far too many nevertheless).

Mark Stone: Be careful what you say about other sports being so squeaky clean and high and mighty. Rugby and ’Bloodgate’ and all the doping discovered in cycling at the Tour de France show there are cheats in all walks of life sadly (and I say that as a keen cyclist having done 52 miles this morning). With all sports, it is money that is corrupting everything.

Rant over!
Steve Pugh
9   Posted 06/09/2009 at 19:16:07

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It's all about national pride. I am English, therefore I want England to be the best. Whether it is football, rugby, cricket or athletics I want England to win.

Nick, We wore white shorts so that there was no mistaking teammates when you glanced up to pass.

Do I take it none of you go to Everton’s pre season games? After all everything you say about England friendlies applies there as well. As for England being boring, don’t a lot of you complain about Everton being boring?

Finally Kevin, you support Everton because you were born in Liverpool, that’s good, but then you complain that you shouldn’t have to support England because you were born in England. Sounds to me that you are just looking for reasons to moan.
Vinny Garstrokes
10   Posted 06/09/2009 at 19:33:33

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Steve

I love England as well but I did smirk when Lescott was at fault for the Slovenia goal!!!
Steve Pugh
11   Posted 06/09/2009 at 19:56:37

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Vinny, you are so right.
Mark Stone
12   Posted 06/09/2009 at 20:11:44

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Karl, It’s not the squeaky cleaness I’m talking about. But I work with professional sportsmen every day (including Premier League footballers) and I would say hand on heart that footballers as a cohort are the least professional, least fit and least gracious.

Even as a spectator sport I don’t think football compare’s to other sports. As I said, I wouldn’t watch Man Utd v Chelsea if I was paid, but I wouldn’t miss the tour or a televised rugby game.

Shaun Brennan
13   Posted 06/09/2009 at 20:20:34

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Kev mate you forgot number 11. It’s just sheer shit.

Also 12. England players, we can win the World Cup. Ha ha ha, have you've got to be kidding right?

13. Biographies comming out before the tournaments. Rooney had one before the European Championships when he was about 18. Went a little something like this:

"Hung around on the corner by Queens of Martyrs with my hands down my pants. Went up the Dog and Gun and buzzed off the smackhead with one leg. Shagged a granny once cos no one else would, etc....."

Gerry Quinn
14   Posted 06/09/2009 at 20:40:01

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Jeez Karl, 52 miles on a bicycle - that’s some paper round you’ve got lad!
Karl Masters
15   Posted 06/09/2009 at 20:55:21

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Take your point, Mark. I think we agree on the whole. One of the reasons I believe that Setanta failed was because we’ve all overdosed on football. They had England matches (enough said) and like a lot of others, my desire to watch Manure and Chelski play each other is actually less than say Fulham taking on Villa at Craven Cottage.

At least then, we can see a match where two teams we don’t see every week may give us some good old endeavour played at an entertaining level rather than watching Rooney mouthing obscenities to the TV cameras and John Terry and Lampard leading an organised harassment of the referee when something does not go their way.

Gerry: I really love cycling. Me and about 7 or 8 mates go out most weeks and we get exercise, to enjoy the beautiful Kent countryside, some pub stops, and a great cameraderie. We don’t usually do 52 miles though, more like 25/30, but we got carried away today! Professional cyclists are super-fit (you have to be to go up those hills and get 50mph out of a bike on the flat) and put many footballers (although not all, our own Tim Cahill is clearly somebody who looks after himself and is humble with it - what an irony with an Aussie teaching us manners! :) ) to shame.

Tim Welsh
16   Posted 06/09/2009 at 21:54:05

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Couldn’t agree more. England aren’t a football team; they’re a boy band. Alf Ramsay would have dropped them all at some time or another.

The most worrying feature of the England set up is the ease with which Everton players who break into the team are then spirited away from Goodison: Lineker, Stevens, Steven, Keown, Barmby, Rooney, Lescott... is this the result of dressing room chit-chat... or is it something more sinister?

Who was the last Everton player who was regularly selected to play for England? Ball? Wilson? Latchford (with his modest clutch of caps)? Moreover, look at those recently who have broken into the team (apart from Lescott): Jagielka (one slip in a friendly against Spain and that’s your England career over, mate).

Forget about the errors of lesser players in important games in the advanced stages of international competitions, who were then selected with horrifying inevitability until they were past it...) and Johnson (never the same player for Everton after his call-ups... where Rooney snubbed him at every opportunity).

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Everton and England don’t mix... any more. This has completely alienated me from England, but all the other things you mention have only exacerbated my feelings. International football? Pah!

Dennis Stevens
17   Posted 06/09/2009 at 22:19:46

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I have to agree with most of the comments — the sooner they get rid of international football, the better, imho.
James Byrne
18   Posted 06/09/2009 at 22:33:29

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I’m 41 now and remember from being a kid of around 15 onwards watching or following England was like life & death! I am amazed over the past 10 years alone how lads like myself have distanced from the England interest; I can only speak for myself but I can’t stand the vast majority of players on view and don’t get any excitement anymore from watching a bunch of overpaid, clique driven wankers.

The selection of England Managers has also pushed me away from following these tossers: Keegan, Erikson & McLaren FFS! I would rather decorate than watch that shower of shite! Seriously...
James Byrne
19   Posted 06/09/2009 at 22:52:33

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Sorry Kev, great article and good points raised, Cheers, JB
James Bowman
20   Posted 07/09/2009 at 00:10:28

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Same here Vinny, I cheered when they scored. How do the same players continually make the squad when they quite clearly don’t fit. Cracking article, glad to see I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Would be interesting to see how many of them had Spanish grandparents if they started paying more for international games in Spain!! Maybe the fans should start blowing some monetary notes out of them instruments. Imagine the look on the players faces if everyone behind the goal started waving £20 notes at them, thats the only way to motivate them.

Give me Everton any day!! COYB!
Michael Tracey
21   Posted 07/09/2009 at 01:53:14

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Good article, Kevin, but can’t see the point of the very unnessary pop at Australia. Are you suggesting that Australia would play a player who was only 75% fit? I don’t believe that is the case, David Moyes and Everton would though and do!

Australia’s games are just as important as any other nations. They actually played a friendly this weekend and Tim Cahill was nowhere to be seen as he didn’t play because the Australian manager told him to stay at home!

I can understand your negativity towards the England team as they are a joke, any team that is playing Emile Heskey up front as a serious option are gonna be found wanting when it matters.

Mike Dillon
22   Posted 07/09/2009 at 05:09:54

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Can’t agree more.

I’ve been frustrated as hell over the past weekend because I’ve been wanting some proper football.

I like England to do well, but at the same time, only go out of my way to watch them during tournaments - when there isn’t any other games on, and I can get into the festive spirit of it all. But I just love festivals.

Chomping at the bit for the next Everton match, mind, especially with the transfer deadline falling just as our signings come through and can’t play!
Ciaran Duff
23   Posted 07/09/2009 at 05:31:19

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I think England is the only country in the world where there seems to be this level of general apathy or dislike of the national (football) team.
In most other countries, fans, players and media put aside differences to support thier country. Look at Scotland games, where some of the fiercest rivals in football (Celtic & Rangers) fans & players all 100% behind the team.
Derek Thomas
24   Posted 07/09/2009 at 06:41:01

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Steve Pugh, you are confusing national pride, a good (in it’s way) thing, with out-and out Jingoism, on through ’Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel’ (whipping it up for votes etc) which lead to the advent of the ultimate scoundrel, step forward Mr A Hitler; all the patriotic voters have a lot to answer for.

English International football peaked in 1966, money had not yet tainted it too much, players got less turning out for England than for their League clubs, little more than expenses, IT WAS STILL ABOUT THE HONOUR AND THE GLORY.

1970 came close to peaking, about as close as the team did (only bonus from that was that twat Hughes was the only player out of the 22 not to get a game). Then we had Revie and his runner, the Admiral kit, then another highish point with Joe Mercer’s 3 games, but since then there have been ups and downs, but the trend is down.

Fast forward to now. The effect of '66 still lingers in my memory and I still expect better because I have seen the best and know what it should be and today is but a pale imitation. Exactly the same goes for the Blues, 5th IS NOT the new 1st; I have seen 1st and 5th it isn’t.

So, apart from blind faith, you have to be able to connect with the players and team which is why, living in NZ as I do, English Rugby and Cricket meant and means nothing to me. I know all the names of the NZ players through familiarity.

But when it comes to Football, it's EFC all the way and in the summer for the last few WCs and Euros I have turned up at the local pub (Speaker Corner) at 6:30am for the full biffta Breakie and the forlorn hope that THIS TIME Eng-er-land will NOT manage to fuck it up, yet again... That fix of '66 was big Ju-Ju.
Kevin Sparke
25   Posted 07/09/2009 at 07:48:53

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Michael Tracey

I was referring to the aftermath of Cahill’s second metatarsal injury (second as is second time that year) when Moyes was slowly easing him back into Everton’s side — Moyes was reluctant to let him go on international duty as he thought he would be over-played too quickly whilst the injury was still healing — and he was right.

Moyes took a battering in the Aussie media for this — and guess what — a couple of months later Cahill broke down again.

For what it’s worth, I’ve a lot of time for Aussies; particularly when we’re beating them at cricket... (I mean ’proper’ cricket.. not this limited overs stuff).
Kevin Hudson
26   Posted 07/09/2009 at 08:42:18

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Ciaran, do Celtic fans actually support Scotland? I always thought they were Republic of Ireland fans. There was a load of Hoops shirts on display at the Cyprus game on Saturday.

Not being Glaswegian, I’m in no way knowledgable on the subject, and would bow to those with more expertise in this area. It’s just that I always had the idea it was Loyalists only who supported Scotland. Presumably though, it’s a mixed bag, I guess...
Michael Tracey
27   Posted 07/09/2009 at 09:20:51

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Well fair enough then Kevin. Yes, the cricket... I suppose the sun shines on a dogs ass every so often. It's alright though, we will probably win them back next year... five-nil like we did last time. I will be at the Perth test, I will buy you a pint if you are in town.
Nick Entwistle
28   Posted 07/09/2009 at 09:22:57

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Ciaran, of course Scotland received 100% support within Hampden. Other than the... who were they playing?

I’m not sure what it is like with Scotland. Probably nowhere near how it is in England. But the reason as you say England is the only country to have this apathy, is because no other fan base in the world has seen their game sold out and had the traditions ripped away from them.

And who do we have representing the three lions? A bunch of arrogant, spoilt, upper cutting, granny shagging, teen roasting, dope-test dodging, over-hyped, contract chasing, diving, ref chasing egoists you wouldn’t want to shake hands with.
Anthony Hawkins
29   Posted 07/09/2009 at 10:29:28

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Kevin,

I can’t agree with the Lineker scenario. Lineker has always stated he never wanted to leave and it was the club who sold him for the money.
Ciaran Duff
30   Posted 07/09/2009 at 09:36:12

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Hi Kevin & Nick - I’m not a Scotland supporter (although like most Irish people I do have a soft spot for them). I’m a Rep of Ireland and now Oz supporter. I was just using Scotland as an example.

I’m not sure what you mean about Hampden — Scotland (and Ireland) have always had fantastic away support. All those guys with Hoops shirts — I’d guess that they are Irish guys who support Celtic and not Scots coming to support Ireland.

Anyway, we digress. My point was that, in most countries, country comes before club. That goes not just for small countries but also for "big" countries (like Italy, Germany) with strong club traditions.

Why this is, I’m not sure. Might a good thesis subject for someone!

Roger Trenwith
31   Posted 07/09/2009 at 11:13:33

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Fabulous rant, Kevin, and spot on.

On Phil McNulty’s Facebook page, I asked why is it that there seem to be a higher proportion of fuckwits supporting England than any other team, which got the intended indignant replies from various semi-litertate oafs.

My favourite was from a shite fan who ended with "....anyway, my national team is Liverpool", to which I replied "So you’re Spanish then?" For some reason he failed to see the humour in my remark!

Roger Trenwith
32   Posted 07/09/2009 at 11:17:49

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"semi-litertate" oh dear, hoisted by my own petard!
Kevin Hudson
33   Posted 07/09/2009 at 11:31:25

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"Hoisted by my own petard..."

Haven’t heard that one for years!! Good one Roger!! Great "Spanish" comeback too!! Good work fella...
Ray Burn
34   Posted 07/09/2009 at 11:32:44

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I agree with absolutely all the points in the article. ALL of them... except at World Cup time, when (for reasons unbeknownst to me) I suddenly do a passable impression of the Incredible Hulk and transform into an In-Ger-Lund-er! (Minus the urge to throw patio furniture at foreign riot police.)

Despite wanting "Us" to qualify for World Cups and Euro Championships, I barely ever watch any of the qualifiers and if I do then I almost always find myself rooting for Andorra, Macedonia or just about whoever else "We" play. Infact, I laughed with genuine glee as Scott Carson palmed that shot into his own net last time "We" took on Croatia.

I’m sure Wednesday night will be no different.
Ella Thornton
35   Posted 07/09/2009 at 12:43:10

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Very well-written article Kevin, and I agree with it whole-heartedly.

The thing is, I want to support England. I intend to support them. But somehow, five minutes after kick-off, I’m supporting the opposition instead. And if I hadn’t already been rooting for Slovenia, that so-called "penalty" would have changed my mind.

I think it’s because of the general loathsomeness of some of the England players and their arrogance ("We English players are too honest to dive"!!) that really grates.
Peter Benson
36   Posted 07/09/2009 at 12:59:04

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Disagree, very cliched too.

International football is the purest form of football. Very refreshing in these days where it’s about the blatant capitalist interests of the big clubs.
Nick Entwistle
37   Posted 07/09/2009 at 13:37:08

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Got to disagree with you there Peter. Wembley was destroyed so The FA could make even more amounts of cash for making a thrid of the stadium corporate.

ITV payed a kings ransom for England WCQ matches at home, the rest are sold to Sky. Also, Sky are wanting to bid for sole rights to non-home nation games within the World Cup so more of the game will be taken away from us.

The World Cup, where each nation is given a miniscule percentage of tickets to sell to fans (most of which are sold to touts) while the rest are given to sponsors. And the expansion to 36 teams from 24? Money was behind that too.

And I can’t wait for every company in the world bringing out some ads with tenuous football symbolism... love it.
Peter Benson
38   Posted 07/09/2009 at 14:18:47

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Nick; ’purest’, not pure. They FAs are under pressure to make money with the big clubs using it as a means to take money off the FA for use of their players.

In international football, you are not going to see Lescott join Brazil are you for the money? You’re not going to see the richest countries bagging all the top players from the poorer countries in Africa. It is international football where the likes of African countries get to the heights they deserve on merit not on power and greed.
Steve Green
39   Posted 07/09/2009 at 14:54:12

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I agree wholeheartedly, Kevin. And I’ve always stated the European nations could do their international qualifying during the summer (though the Scandinavian nations would be inconvenienced). All these international breaks lengthen our domestic season unnecessarily. Take them out and you could run the Premier League season from September through April, leaving four months for qualifying tournaments (10-12 games spread over five or six weeks) the year before a World Cup or Euro.

As for those countries who don’t play over the winter, they’d have to take a five- or six-week break in their league schedules, starting three weeks earlier than they normally do and finishing three weeks later than normal.

The benefits are several:

1. If a player gets injured (not majorly), he’s only lost to the club or national team, depending on when the injury occurred;

2. No "club vs country" rows and no players jetting halfway around the world for a meaningless game (i.e. Cahill);

3. National teams stay together for weeks at a time, building far better team cohesiveness.

Darragh Farrell
40   Posted 07/09/2009 at 16:28:48

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I suggest getting yourself near a TV on Wednesday evening showing the following:

Bosnia v Turkey
Serbia v France
Hungary v Portugal

All important matches that should have a great atmosphere. None of the boring football played by the UK/RoI nations and none of the Sky 4 nonsense spouted by the English commentators. A few cans, feet up, and none of the heart attack inducing stress associated with going to an Everton game.

On another point, the success of the US, and also Australia, with their Everton players, does help in the recruit of new Evertonians. I’ve managed to convert a few of the Americans here in the office, helped by the performances of Howard.
Steve Pugh
41   Posted 07/09/2009 at 16:10:38

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Derek, no I’m not. I just refuse to taint all England supporters because of a few hooligans. Just like I have always supported Everton, despite some of the supporters' actions. Remember the racism chants... are all Evertonians racist? — are you? Likewise, not all England fans are semi-literate pig-headed tits.

In fact, reading some of the comments on here, some of the hatred on here towards England seems to be based on a kind of penis envy.

Tim Welsh, Steven and Stevens left because they were tapped up on international duty, so which Rangers player did the tapping up? Of course they didn’t leave because they where ambitious young men who wanted to play in Europe, which was never going to happen at Everton. That would just be silly.

As for Lineker, he went to play for Barca, on the biggest stage in the world; you never hear Liverpool players complain that Rush was tapped up before his move to Juve. Some players just want to play in more than one country; it's called "experiencing all that life has to offer"...

As for Rooney, his leaving had nothing to do with the fact that Moysey wouldn’t let him be a prima donna. DM expected him to have the same work ethic as everyone else in the club, but Spud Head felt he was better than the rest and wanted recognition for it. That caused friction and when Stretford came round offering big bucks and fame at Old Trafford, he quit. I guess it was easier than toughing it out under DM.

Steven Green, you want all of our players to play over the summer so that they don’t get a break, that’ll improve the quality of football during the season when they are knackered. What about the non-European players in the squad? Do we just accept that they will be absent several times a season and get on with it? Why do you think everything should be arranged to suit the Europeans? — a bit unfair on the rest of the world.

Nick, please don’t tell me you hate international football because of the money. Small ticket allocations, FA Cup Final, extortionate fees for tv rights, Premier League, football on available to watch on Sky, Premier League again... I take it you are going to stop supporting Everton for those same reasons then?

Roger, you prefer the intelligent Columbians who shoot their players then? What about the really sweet Dutch fans? — they never get into fights... Or the Italians? — just as bad. You are ignoring the truth to further your arguments. A small minority of fans in every country are trouble, but you don’t judge everyone based on that.

Steve Green
42   Posted 07/09/2009 at 17:04:08

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Steve Pugh, not all of our players will be playing over the summer and getting knackered. Are you telling me Hibbert and Osman are getting England callups? As it is, there would be weeks off before and after any summer qualifying tournament.
For example, say the EPL season starts at the beginning of September. Going to the end of April means roughly 33 weeks, meaning a 38-game domestic season can easily be accommodated, especially with a few midweek games in the early going (as is the case now). A summer qualifying tournament would be at the most 12 games. Playing twice a week would mean six weeks. That’s 39 weeks, leaving 13 weeks for club training, national team training and a few weeks off.
My point, and the one others make, is it’s very frustrating to lose players to injury while on international duty in the middle of the club season.
Steve Pugh
43   Posted 07/09/2009 at 17:18:30

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But not all of our players are playing in the mid season internationals, and very few that are actually get injured on international duty, Hibbert and Osman are a good two to quote really, don’t you think. Both suffered through injury neither play internationals. In fact mid season internationals must help us, because we have so few international players compared to the clubs around us.
Mike Allison
44   Posted 07/09/2009 at 17:46:06

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We all agree about the fucking band though right? (Point 8)

I actually found myself agreeing with Alan Green about that the other day. Worrying.
Karl Masters
45   Posted 07/09/2009 at 18:27:18

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Steve Pugh; Steven and Stevens could have been tapped up by Terry Butcher or Chris Woods.

Agree that the European ban had something to do with it too, although was it worth it for them in the end in hindsight, just as what European glory did Hioward Kendall achieve at Atletico Bilbao?

I expect that even then, Wonga, Moolah, Dosh, Spondooliks - MONEY — was the biggest factor.
Martin Downey
46   Posted 07/09/2009 at 18:48:32

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Unlike most of the contributors on here, I actually really like International football. And yes, it does seem that dislike of their International team is a peculiarly English phenomenon, and is something I find very odd. But then again, in Northern Ireland there is a similar problem, albeit for different reasons.

Of course, as a Northern Ireland fan (and incidently a Republic of Ireland follower too — I was at the World Cup in 1990 and 1994), I really look forward to the international games. And there have been some unforgettable nights at Windsor Park in recent years when we beat Spain 3-2 (cracker of a match), Sweden 2-1, Denmark 2-1, Poland 3-2 and of course England 1-0.

As a result, interest in the international team here is at an all time high — you have to book and pay for the home matches on block for all the qualifiers to get a seat at all.

It has to be said, however, that support for the Northern Ireland team comes by and large from one section of the community and unfortunately there are many understandable reasons for this, which I’ll not go into, but which any of you who know anything about Northern Ireland and its poltics will appreciate. The shameful booing of Neil Lennon for example, was motivated by darker factors than a general dislike, which seems to be the reason for the unpopularity of say, Frank Lampard, who is booed at some England games.

So I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that there are profound historical and political reasons why not everyone in Northern Ireland supports its international team, whereas in England it’s something different.

And I can’t help feeling that it’s symptomatic to some extent of the PC society which exists there, with Nationalism/Patriotism no longer fashionable and generally frowned upon by the mainstream, with the ’defence’ of English culture and heritage now claimed by far right elements such as the BNP. I can only speak as an outsider looking in, and may be well off the mark and hope I haven’t offended any of you in the process.

Anyway, I have rambled off the point to some extent. Why do I like International football?

Because for me it is the last link the game has, at the highest level, to its origins. Even the grossly overpaid England footballers still pull on the shirt for national pride and prestige first and foremost. Sure, they get paid for playing for England, but they don’t need the money. The exposure maybe, but I’d like to think it’s for national pride primarily.

And you can’t raid the transfer market for players. You’re stuck with what you’ve got, just like the local pub or our street against your street down the park.

Perhaps this a romantic view of the international game, but for me it’s still the highest level you can play football at, and come next year’s World Cup finals, there will be the usual madness and Nationalistic nonsense, with swathes of England resembling a Loyalist estate in Belfast. And everyone will be going nuts if England do well.

And who knows, maybe we’ll have a few other home countries there and if that’s the case, as Kevin Keegan would say: "l’d love it"...

Jeff Spiers
47   Posted 07/09/2009 at 20:11:36

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July 1966 I hated England. Portugal & Hungary played the "beautiful game", especially at Goodison. Cried me friggin eyes out when Geoff Hurst & Co knocked Eusebio & his boys out in the semi. Went to Dublin a couple of years ago & the locals could not believe my loathing of England.
Nick Entwistle
48   Posted 07/09/2009 at 20:21:41

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Good post Martin.

For all the disinterest I have for England, I do love the tournaments.

I’ll watch every game, three in a day if neccessary, and you pick up on what it means to the nations. Fingers crossed on redundancy the day before next year's World Cup!
Tim Welsh
49   Posted 07/09/2009 at 22:27:47

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Steve Pugh, It’s all speculation isn’t it? Suffice it to say I have felt cheated and left feeling bereft by England as an Evertonian.

Remember Mexico ’86? The whole country knew who Robson had to select, but it was only when ’he’ had no option that he chose some Everton players (and Beardsley). This started it for me.

The FA seem to have a problem with Everton. If you dig back a bit further... pick Latchford but not the person who gave him more assists than anyone else — Dave Thomas. Put Peter Barnes in instead!!!!

Dave Thomas had the start of an England career when he was at QPR. He came to Everton and that was that. Likewise Martin Dobson.

As I say ’it’s all speculation’, but when you stand back and look at the big picture, there does seem to be a pattern. I have always said that when we buy a player who has been capped by England, that once they pull on a blue shirt it will be the end of their England career (Tony Cottee?). It also seems that when an Everton player pulls on a white shirt then it spells the end of their Everton career.

Speculation... That’s all.

Gareth Atkinson
50   Posted 07/09/2009 at 23:21:45

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England are just an excuse to get pissed on a Wednesday night when they're in the World Cup or the Euros, but even that's shit now because every knobhead who hasn’t even watched football all year round goes out to watch it and talks shite.

You know the dickheads, face painted ’for a laugh’... St George car flag... usually got their bird in tow who has also just took an interest in football.

Give me domestic football anyday and fuck these international breaks off, especially the friendlies, an it spoils the footy coupon.

Chad Schofield
51   Posted 08/09/2009 at 00:37:07

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Personally, whilst I can empathise with many of the statements against England (especially in some of the pointless friendlies), I love international football.

Of course there are dickheads, and perhaps a greater percentage "supporting" England, but there are dickheads everywhere, just avoid them.

I was fortunate to get over to Germany for the England v Trinidad & Tabago match, we steered clear of the knobs getting excited because of the "20,000 Poles" who were supposedly meeting us on the train in Nurenburg and got the earlier train. Spent time with fans of all nationalities having a fantastic time and brilliantly hosted by the Germans who were great albeit against half-English/half-Dutch heritage to have imagined saying that before! There were cringeworthy moments from both Dutch and English fans... though chavs chanting "Ten German Bombers" in Nurenburg centre was pretty crass.

Much of the sentiments and frustrations about the current England squad also extend into factors further than international football — but playing for your home nation should bring you closer to the fans’ view. Playing for a club becomes a job (however a privileged job we may think it)... and the players are not fans. They were playing matches and sacrificing certain things we may have enjoyed while at school, college etc while fans were traipsing around the country to see their team.

Representing your country should be an honour; as bad as it is to see overpaid players not achieving the weight of expectation from the nation’s media, it’s a shame this country’s are seemingly never satisfied and only hope to congratulate themselves for not caring the minute that their dreams are not met.

Anthony Newell
52   Posted 08/09/2009 at 07:28:48

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Why I hate international football: Wayne Rooney
Kevin Sparke
53   Posted 08/09/2009 at 08:55:26

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Michael Tracey,
No worries — I hope I’m able to get down to Perth... I just hope we’re not on the end of another whitewash


Martin Downey,
I understand where you a coming from regarding the PC Nationalism/Patriotism comments and you’ve got a point. The far right have tapped into patriotism to promote their cynical and misguided interpretation of history and politics. Billy Bragg has written a passable book about this.

However, from my point of view I get right behind England in sports like Rugby Union/League, Cricket, even the English golfers get my support — it’s just the England football team that draw my derision. I’ve explained why above... in my very tongue-in-cheek article.

When we do qualify for a major tournament, I don’t miss a second and watch every game, whether we’re involved or not.

I’ll tell you what though; hand on heart I’d rather see Everton beat Liverpool in a meaningless league match than watch England win the World Cup. I’ve seen Everton win cups and league championships... non of that beats the feeling I get when we turn Liverpool over...

Tom Hughes
54   Posted 08/09/2009 at 10:06:10

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Dave Pugh,
Talks about pride etc... I remember seeing a league table a few years ago which was compiled from survey results where the question was something like: Would you prefer England to win the World Cup or your own team to win the League? I believe at least 100 fans of each club were surveyed. I think Chelsea fans came top with something well over 50% preferring an England win, and there were a few clubs with quite high percentages like that.

Everton came rock bottom with I think less than 1%...... that made me extremely proud! Inverted scouse snobbery if you like.

If you want reasons, I suggest you research Liverpool’s history and ethnicity as the least English of cities. The same reason why it and its inhabitants have consistently and habitually been castigated by all and sundry from this "green and pleasant land". So, why should we feel any affiliation, false patriotism or even an affinity for the beauts who follow them?

I don’t remember any of them rallying around for us when the place was going down the pan; far from it, they all gleefully rubbed our noses in it at every opportunity!

As far as the "minority" of loons who follow England, you obviously weren’t at the "friendly" game in Dublin a few years back... it was like a nazi rally!

You also conveniently forget the numerous tournaments they have rampaged through over the decades, long before others decided to join in... thankfully they haven’t always qualified or no doubt there would have been more incidents to taint us all with!

Incidentally, I may be going to the World Cup next year, but doubt I’ll take any England games in unless Brazil or Spain are the opposition perhaps.

Steve Green
55   Posted 08/09/2009 at 16:13:46

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"But not all of our players are playing in the mid season internationals, and very few that are actually get injured on international duty, Hibbert and Osman are a good two to quote really, don’t you think. Both suffered through injury neither play internationals. In fact mid season internationals must help us, because we have so few international players compared to the clubs around us. "

So Howard, Heitinga, Yobo, Baines (on occasion), Cahill, Fellaini, Yakubu (when fit) and Pienaar are just off on midseason jollies, Steve? That’s eight of our first team, all of whom could start the same game for Everton. And you think we have fewer internationals than the clubs around us?
And the fact Pienaar strained a groin on the weekend (hopefully not serious, if the SA medicos can be believed) while on international duty (meaningless friendlies at that) doesn’t concern you?
It does me, and that’s why I say all internationals should be played in the close season.
Steve Pugh
56   Posted 08/09/2009 at 19:09:54

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Steve Green you do make me laugh. When I say that playing friendlies over the summer would leave our top players unrested and have a detrimental effect on the domestic game you respond by saying "not all of our players will be playing over the summer and getting knackered" and then when I say that not all our players play in the midseason internationals your response is "So Howard, Heitinga, Yobo, Baines (on occasion), Cahill, Fellaini, Yakubu (when fit) and Pienaar are just off on midseason jollies, Steve? That’s eight of our first team, all of whom could start the same game for Everton"

So which is it, either we have a lot of international players or we don’t. You can’t have it both ways.

Tom Hughes, I don’t like being called by my middle name. Your right I don’t remember the Preston Hooligans of the late 19th century, nor was alive when Everton fans revived the fashion in 1955, but I do know that the really serious stuff started in South America in the 60’s when literally hundreds of people would die at matches. In fact did you know that the English League almost pulled out of European football because of Hooliganism in other countries?

Football hooliganism in the 70s and 80s pretty much started at the same time in England, Holland and Italy, unfortunately the football hierarchy always seem to make more of a fuss when England, or english clubs, are involved
Tom Hughes
57   Posted 08/09/2009 at 21:41:45

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Steve Pugh,
Apologies, read your post, then several others and in the meantime your name morphed into Dave.

I have spent a lot of time in South America and attended several stadia in Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Chile, Venezuela including a Boca Juniors v River plate game which left me and the stadium literally shaking, and it’s true they have their problems too. However, historically that rarely manifested itself internationally until relatively recently, whereas England gained by far the worst reputation, which would have been worse had they qualified for more tournaments. That is why we are all tainted now, and that’s one of the reasons why ultimately when Heysel happened it was a formality that we’d be banned. Now unfortunately there are rival elements, but there’s no secret about who they were inspired over all those decades.

However, I fear you have missed my point.... As an Evertonian and a scouser I feel no great affinity for England nor a need nor desire to share a stand with hoards of numpties from Bury, Oxford, Scarborough or wherever. I’ve tried it, and didn’t like it! It would appear many Evertonians share that sentiment.
Ray Burn
58   Posted 09/09/2009 at 09:49:31

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If you have spent time in South America then surely you know that "Columbia" is actually spelled Colombia. The mysteriously appearing "U" being a real bug-bear of theirs.

Also LOL’ed at the pouring of scorn on "Intelligent Columbians" - Well, the irony made me laugh anyway.

They are playing Uruguay tonight live on Sky if anyone else is interested - should be a full-blooded cracker.
Tom Hughes
59   Posted 09/09/2009 at 12:35:04

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Ray,
Haha, excuse the typo to go along with my previous name-check mistake, spelling certainly not my strongest suit, but I could have thrown in Peru, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname and Uruguay too except, I haven’t been to footy grounds in those countries and didn’t want to sound a show off haha. Legacy of several years on South American runs in the Merchant Navy and Oil industry. Made several visits to Cartagena, and also visited Barranquilla, Santa Marta, Barrancabermeja and at least one other port I’ve long since forgotten..... and yes, I had to look up 1 of those spellings (In my old discharge book).
Ray Burn
60   Posted 10/09/2009 at 13:02:14

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Cool. Only Cartagena and Bogota for me.

Watching them faff-around against 10 man Uruguay last night was a lesson in frustration that even Everton struggle to surpass. If Brett Angel had a Colombian passport he would go straight in! Barn door and banjo doesn’t even come close.
James Boden
61   Posted 11/09/2009 at 14:56:32

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I will be supporting Everton players at the World Cup next year rather than England. Could care less about our national team and why should I support them when as others said Scousers have been ridiculed plenty of times by the Public and Press. Much like in Italy with Napoli.

Also they were rubbing their hands in glee at Rooeny walking out and when all these humiliations come up.

And finally I hope England never call up another Everton player.
Everton is where the heart is not our Mercenary, horrible and conceited National Team who live off the back of 1966. And quite frankly they couldn’t possibly be compared to the dignity of that side both on and off the pitch.

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