England lose in the World Cup, everyone’s to blame

Posted on June 27, 2010

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I like football an awful lot, but I dislike the fact that everyone’s an armchair expert. I dislike the fact that the pundits on TV pretend that they’re experts, when the majority of them are former players who can’t hack it/don’t want to take the risk of management and the scrutiny that comes from it.

So every two years (excepting the European Championships that we didn’t qualify for) I get annoyed as the ambient noise of the common-man experts gets dialled up a little bit to try and explain why we’ve underperformed. First it was WAGs, then it was the lack of WAGs. It was the diamond; it was the fact that we played 4-5-1 with two holding midfielders. Now it’s the fact that we’re not playing 4-5-1. It’s the goalkeepers being too complacent – it’s the goalkeepers not knowing who’s number one. It’s Joe Cole; it’s the lack of Joe Cole. No-one knows. Literally. Therefore stop talking about it.

In the spirit of England’s loss to Germany, I’d like to point out some of the more ridiculous things that people have said in the past hour and a half: Twitter’s ablaze about it.

The trending topics alone give you an idea of who people think are the main culprits. Fabio Capello, Frank Lampard, Disallowed Goal, Emile Heskey, Sepp Blatter and Gareth Barry are high on the list of what people are tweeting about, and precisely none of them are to blame for England’s exit (I would say early, but people need to realise that we’re not destined to get to the semi-finals of major tournaments anymore; it’s not our right). One of the best – and most inexpressibly strange Twitter comments on England’s loss comes from the former Deputy Prime Minister himself:

@johnprescott Personally I think Murdoch’s Sky money was a double-edged sword #worldcup

Please, can people not think of themselves as experts on our national sport? Most of us don’t play for even a pub team every Sunday, never mind hold a position as an international-level football manager or player. You’re not qualified to discuss football in such concrete terms. You can say that the team played badly, but you can’t say it was Gareth Barry, it was the disallowed goal, or it was Rupert Murdoch setting up satellite TV that made Germany beat England. It was, quite simply, the fact that England played badly and Germany played well in a football match.

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