I actually found myself in a slight panic on Saturday.
It was 11am, I just washed the motor and was having a cup of coffee and a smoke in the yard. What to do for the day?
The Mrs was out, kids not around and NO FOOTBALL. Palpitations set in when I realised there wasn’t even a small DIY job to do around the house.
“I know what”, I thought… “BABIIIIZE BONKE”. The DSTV Premiership is on today, get into some of that for a change.
Jeeeez, I hate knocking local football, but my word, it was difficult to enjoy. As those of you who know me know, I supported it on the radio, at the stadiums and on the ground for close on two decades.
I just can’t understand why the quality still ain’t there? I cringed as Kaizer Chiefs played it out from the back (as is the modern way). So dangerous, such lack of essential movement. Crazy, as “possession football” is what our players are supposed to do so well? And the finishing! It was so [email protected] it made Timo Werner look like Thierry Henry.
Anyway, my interest didn’t last very long. But in flicking through the channels, I came across a rerun of Holland at the Euros 1988 with the likes of Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Marco van Basten at their prime. Man, those were the days. Football seemed so much more important, glamorous, so much bigger…
Of course, in today’s game, viewership/ money-wise has risen 10-fold. But there was a distinctly different feeling with regards to commitment, pride and passion then.
On that subject, I responded to a tweet the other day regarding Hakim Ziyech “should he be sold?” I never knock my own players, but this boy? He’s the polar opposite to the traits of those 80s players. You can see it, no hunger in him, lazy, arrogant, hasn’t done f***-all this season except pop in a couple of goals. He’s basically a wannabe Riyad Mahrez.
Thank god Thomas Tuchel benched him in Porto! Anyway, digressing.
Watching a Euro rerun put me in a much better space, reminding me that it all kicks off this Friday…
Haha, it’s that time on the football calendar when England fans all start dreaming that “we’ve got a mad squad” and that “this could be our year”, “football’s coming home” and to be fair (oh sh!t, I’m in it as well), they do look great on paper.
So much so that they’re only edged slightly by France who are tournament favourites at around 9/2, with some bookies having them even!
Wow… England, tournament favourites? They are looking a bit shaky at the back with a couple of mainstays sidelined, but up front do look excellent.
It’s amazing how everyone knocks Harry Maguire all season, then gets really concerned he might not be fit for England!
Will old pointy nose Gareth Southgate allow them to express themselves? That’s the worry for me. It’s a tasty set of players, with the likes of Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling, and Harry Kane (Euro Golden Boot favourite 5/1) leading the charge (don’t say Marcus Rashford).
But is that as formidable as the French with Karim Benzema, Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezman and Kylian Mbappe? (Don’t say Olivier Giroud).
Mind you, at 8/1, reigning champions Portugal could be a “dark outsider”, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diogo Jota, Joao Felix and Fabio Silva up front (don’t say Bruno Fernandes).
There’s also great players littered amongst the Germans, Spanish, Italians and Dutch.
Let’s not forget Croatia, who meet England on Sunday.
Ladies and gents, before this competition gets going, favourites or not, my hopes and aspirations for England are on hold until Monday…
I’ll be surprised if the Three Lions manage to get a draw, let alone the win.
Stay safe people, keep your distance, mask up and wash dem handies! Bye bye.