SO, it’s last Friday and Roy’s Boys are taking on the crash test dummies of Peru.
In Kendal it was cold with a white sky – people searching the clouds for a summer that might never show up.
Hey ho, the Peru game is starting. The ice-cold Coors are out and the Mother Superior is, thankfully, a football fan.
As the team sheets are being discussed, she cuts over the TV to tell me: “There’s a new Horrid Henry film coming out..”
“..Oh right,” I say, working hard on my accentuation. You have to strike the right balance.
Acknowledge and show fascination but don’t show too much enthusiasm or it’ll spark a full-blown discussion.
Glenn Hoddle is sitting between Adrian Chiles and Theo Wallchart, finally being punished for comments made in a previous managerial life.
Chiles and his servile TV persona: “Oim just a big daft footie supporter loike yow!”
All the England team have had World Cup haircuts. Priorities are important.
Adam Lallana on the ball. Lallana being that old English adjective, meaning: ‘not as good as his Press Agent’.
Wembley is quiet. Quieter than a graveyard during a Sunday bomb scare.
Leighton Baines: named after that charming English village, Leighton-On-The-Baines Raheem Sterling, 19, is NOT a father of four. That’s a scandalous internet myth disproved, right here.
I would bench Rooney, Baines, Welbeck and Henderson. Start with Cahill, Shaw, Jones, Barkley and Lampard. Sturridge partnering Lambert up front.
I recall a time when an England game was unmissable. Fans daren’t pass liquid until final whistle.
The national team played with a ‘trenches’ philosophy. Beckham. Butcher. Barnes. Ince. Adams. Pearce. Shearer – they all cared.
(Erm...Sheringham fagging it in a club...Gazza in a dentist’s chair...jumpers for goalposts.) “Jordan Henderson will be Gerrard’s minder tonight,” says Clive Tyldesley without even a hint of irony. The modern game has made chest-beating English players extinct.
Tactical knowalls are required now with the physiques of pro-boxers. Happy to sip energy drinks through FA powerpoint presentations on brand allegiance.
The new Vauxhall advert: “For every doubter, there is a believer….for every cynic, there’s a supporter.”
(For every soccer circus there’s a company flogging new cars and Mars bars.) How many Brazilian workers have died building the corporate boxes?
Let’s not lead the news with depressing facts like that. Jack Wilshere’s got a big toe to fret about!
Is Rooney too big to drop after seven goals in six qualifiers?
The Mother Superior: “We wheel him out all the time like he’s this great talent who’s going to do something special… but he never does.”
I’d use him as an impact sub…give his horns time to sharpen on the bench.
Forget these friendlies. Italy will say Ciao Bella, Suarez will do it for Uruguay.
We’ll limp past Puerto Rico. Roy will step down. Rooney will turn on ‘fans’ like me.
The summer will never come.
Or... we might just go all the way