Do we really want to win the World Cup?

by Wally Downes

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Are we really that comfortable winning anything for that matter?

It sounds a ridiculous question, I know, but it is one that has plagued me throughout this World Cup and is at the forefront of my mind now Wimbledon is upon us.

When it comes to our domestic club sides there is no grey area, winning is everything, as is progress and dominance. That’s why Manchester United fans are still whinging about the Glaziers, despite all their success, and why the less cultured sides are still attract support when they win matches, even at the cost of attractive football.

When my team plays, or at least attempts to play, I give them my undying support, in return they must use any means necessary to win. With that win ensues a sense of tremendous pride, the opportunity to brag over local rivals and if, heaven forbid, we ascend a division in the process it brings the chance to visit the champagne clubs, drinking weak, warm lager all the way.

There is tribalism in local football; inside of England bragging amongst fans is a right. It has grown from terrace chants to online forums. We detract from our rivals, promote our own performance and we let everyone know when we’ve won 1-0 from an ill-gotten goal. There is no room for the gracious loser in English football, we have grown tired of Arsenal’s pretty yet trophy-less football We may entertain the idea of the triumphant underdog when Blackpool come up against Manchester City in the coming season but when we tune into MOTD that evening we still have the blood-lust of seeing all of The Tangerine’s eight conceded goals. That is English football as it mirrors English capitalism. On the international stage it is quite different.

It is a cultural oddity that has seeped into our national game, we are ashamed to be English and we are embarrassed to win as England. Look at our recent opponents USA, in the States every classroom has a national flag, children repeats the Pledge Of Allegiance with ease and pride. In England the flying of our national flag is often banned and our history lessons in school omit huge great chunks for fear of offending. Large proportions of English people are ashamed of our imperialistic past and when they are not apologising for things that happened hundreds of years ago they are fearful of England succeeding on the national stage and to be seen gloating.

It’s why, when it comes to international football, we flourish as the underdog, its why we are lay such importance on having honour in defeat and I think it edges us towards favouring our flawed geniuses instead of our ruthless victors. Lineker and Shearer are labelled smug while Gazza is virtually canonised, Rooney a wild thug Theo Walcott a victim. Looking at the tennis, Andy Murray (yes I know he’s Scottish but without an English representative he should get our support) tarred with the arrogant brush while the affable, serial failure Tim Henman is up there with Thora Herd as a national treasure (and in tennis ability).
Perhaps in a few hundred years when the digital revolution has erased any trace of slavery and colonial rule we could strive for victory. No that wont work because by then we’ll have the Iraq war and the BP oil spill to beat ourselves up with.

I have no doubt that the thousands of England fans in South Africa want England to win the Jules Rimet trophy but this is not just about football fans. Those 23 men are representing a nation of 50 million people and, while I doubt they grasp the intricacies of why they are not getting our undivided support, I bet they can sense that the entire nation is not behind them. They would have felt it before they left for Africa and they will be most certainly aware of it now.

I am ashamed that the BNP have become a mainstream political party and had a voice on terrestrial television and I am embarrassed by our invasion of Iraq, as both occurred in my lifetime and the blame lies with this generation. But I will not apologise for The Crusades or The British Empire and the exploitation it was built on and I most certainly will not apologise, to anyone, if England do this great country proud at the game we invented.

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  • stevie

    if you call your country Great Britain then trample over other people countires and cultures, in time there will be some kind of back lash.

    Don’t really want to go into some kind of political debate but this once Great country of ours has lost it’s identity, which is mirrored in our most of sporting teams performances.

    The Germans managed to get over it so why can’t we? It’s baffling!!

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