Sport, the nation’s favourite pastime (I have nothing to back that up, so just roll with it).
From Athletics to Yachting, Football to Weightlifting or even Darts, the Great British public loves a sporting event. Now let’s make one thing clear, by event I mean professional, amateur or you and six mates over the park with an old Adidas Tango Dave found in the shed, they all count. Even knocking a few balls over the local field with your trusty seven iron is an event… just watch out for that black Labrador from number thirty-two that fucks off with your ball because his owner is a dick… I do still feel guilty about the language I used.
Anyway, back to the point in hand, sport, and in this instance specifically football. To sum up what the beautiful game means to us, here are the words of one of the great footballing managers:-
Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.
Now considering the current climate that would not be the most politically correct thing to say, obviously the sixties and seventies were a different time, and so to adjust that sentiment, we should turn to the current Liverpool FC manager:-
[Football is] the most important of the least important things
That’s a more considered opinion, and one I completely agree with.
So these millionaires get to kick their football around behind closed doors (See my other blog Power Of The 12th Man), but we cannot, there will be no balls kicked, volleyed, snookered, curled or overhead smashed by Joe Public. Is that a problem? Yes. Is there anything we can do about it right now? Nope.
Our only course of action is to take solace in watching our favoured sport, great expense and care has been taken to ensure we get our fix, well most of us have. We managed a thrown together Formula One season, there have been some snooker tournaments, some tennis and I suppose I had better include the Darts (like that’s a real ‘sport’… here come the comments!)
Which brings me onto the main subject of this article, the European Football Championships. If this were any normal tournament, there would be a host country, all teams would pile into their respective cities and the kicking of balls would commence… that sounds wrong… too late now I already typed it and am too lazy to edit it out.
We could have once again put aside our differences and united under the banner of the Three Lions, Skinner and Baddiel would ring out from every pub and beer would be flung into the air as Harry Kane rockets his fourth goal past ze Germans as we win our first European Championship as England… ok so maybe I’m hoping for a bit much, but a boy can dream, can’t he?
That is what could (and definitely would) have happened, but alas UEFA decide to mess around with the format, and when I say mess around I mean royally fuck it up, here’s a list of the venues that would have been used:-
Wembley Stadium – London, England
Allianz Arena – Munich, Germany
Stadio Olimpico – Rome, Italy
Olympic Stadium – Baku, Azerbaijan
Krestovsky Stadium – Saint Petersburg, Russia
Arena Nationala – Bucharest, Romania
Johan Cruyff Arena – Amsterdam, Holland
Aviva Stadium – Dublin, Ireland
San Mames – Bilbao, Spain
Puskas Arena – Budapest, Hungary
Hampden Park – Glasgow, Scotland
Parken Stadium – Copenhagen, Denmark
I do find it most amusing that neither Portugal (Current Euro Champions) or France (Current World Champions) get to host any, but Azerbaijan does, I don’t make the rules, I just work here.
Would this have worked? I don’t know, but now we’ll never know… or will we?
Having domestic competitions is one thing, no borders are crossed, everyone has the same protocols to stop Covid-19 spreading, it’s manageable, not great, but we are in relative control. How in the name of Robbie Fowler is UEFA going to guarantee the safety of 24 teams across 12 different countries in the middle of a pandemic?
I say this with a heavy heart, as I have been a football fan for about as long as I can remember, until this damned pandemic I still tried to play a couple of times a week, even at the spritely aged of 45! So watching football is all I can do at the moment, I even took the drastic step of paying for Sky Football on NOW TV, of course, I then traded login details with a mate so I didn’t have to pay for BT Sport and signed up for the 30 day Amazon Prime trial so I could literally watch any game I wanted, work smarter not harder.
The Australian Grand Prix (the usual season opener) is expected to be postponed, the Australian Tennis Open will enforce a 21 day quarantine on players and their staff, and some have called for a 2-week circuit break in English Football.
We have already seen how half measures and opening up our own country too early allows this disease to get a foothold again, so can we really afford to take the chance on this?
I hope I am wrong but I believe Euro 2021 will be cancelled… probably.
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