I'm not a big fan of the World Cup. I'm not, in fact, a big fan of international football generally. I discovered football late in life... I was in my early twenties by the time I first saw a football match as my family where far more interested in cricket and rugby when I was growing up. I was taken (by a boyfriend, of course) to see Charlton play one dismal Saturday. We sat in the bottom of the East stand right on the pitch. Over the next few years I was taken to a fair number of matches and started to support Charlton. My early highlight was the famous play-off final in 1998 when Charlton prevailed over Sunderland to win promotion to the Premiership. This was the day before my University finals... but it didn't stop me attending the match! Eventually I got a season ticket which I kept for about a decade. There have been good times (promotion) and bad times (relegations); Charlton (and a mutual friend) even introduced me to my other half.
I've picked up some other teams along the way... my other half is Scottish and supports Celtic so I support Livingston to keep him company.
This love of football has never managed to transfer to the global stage. I just can't get excited about the World Cup... in fact the more the papers tell me I should care... the more media frenzy there is... the less I care if England win.
So we came to last weekend. England managed to limp through the first round into the group of sixteen where they were to face fierce rivals Germany. I was at work on Sunday so I didn't see the game, but along with a couple of other colleagues, we followed on the internet as England struggled and eventually failed.
And so the recriminations began. It is the Manager's fault, it is the over-paid footballers' fault, it has to be somebody's fault. At the end of the day the English might have 'invented' football (well, codified the rules at least) but on an international stage they just never manage to perform.
The strangest about the game last weekend during which a goal was not given to England, even though replays show the ball crossed the line... there was a similar controversy over Hurst's goal in 1966 which won England their only world cup... which digital technology shows didn't cross the line - what goes around comes around, I guess.