I hate weeks like the one we’ve just had. The dreaded ‘international break’ robs us of the excitement, drama and entertainment of the domestic season and in its stead we get to watch England either struggle to break down some well organised team, or destroy a poorly organised one. In some cases the games don’t even matter – they are ‘friendly’ games full of players so scared of getting injured that they show less commitment to the match than the Lib Dems do to their core policies (political satire in a sports piece – I think I got away with it!)
I have another problem when it comes to weeks like this. This is because I do not really care about England; my commitment to supporting them has been worn away through years of underachievement and players that I can’t help but truly detest. My biggest problem however is that I care too much about my domestic club side. It is probably more accurate to say that I am obsessed with them rather than support them, and for me at least this level of support leaves little room to properly care about England.
It is during weeks like this that I have to experience a series of awkward conversations with people who don’t entirely agree with my opinions on the national side. When I was told that England had failed to beat the ‘mighty’ Montenegro at home on Tuesday night (I didn’t watch it…), I could hardly suppress a laugh. Thus a conversation ensued – I say conversation, it was more like an interrogation – about how I could call myself a football fan and not care about the England team. I fear I have fallen permanently down in the estimation of those I attempted to justify my position to…
Therein lies the problem however. Support, and in particular obsession, is an inherently unjustifiable entity; I can’t ‘decide’ to support England in the same manner or with as much intensity as I do my club, no matter how much I feel like I should. This is not to say I actively don’t support England. During the World Cup this year I was up and cheering when Steven Gerrard scored in the opening minutes against the USA – but it was nothing in comparison to the delirium I felt watching Crouchie score against Man City at the end of last season to guarantee Champions League football (this might have given away who I support…)
My opinions on international football may be the exception rather than the rule, but I find this pretty hard to believe; mainly because it is surely not humanly possible for anyone to support a team containing Ashley Cole?!?