How to make the most of Euro 2016.
As a football fan there is nothing quite like the anticipation you feel at the start of a major tournament. You’ve pinned up your wall planner, studied each squad thoroughly and inevitably picked out a 40-1 outsider in the office sweepstake. But what can you do to further enhance this already magical experience?
I was 7 years old in 1996, my parents let me stay up past my bedtime to watch the semi-final and I will never forget Gazza sliding in at the back post just a split second too late. Unfortunately my mum had a similarly vital miss earlier that day. She had gone to Food Giant to do the weekly shop. However she was late for the morning rush and many of the cooked meats had been snapped up by more punctual shoppers. This meant my sister and I were left with a range of sandwich spreads to last us through the week. So there I was sat watching our boys in grey taking on the mighty Germany with the taste of Chicken Tikka paste in my mouth. Even now whenever I see the sight of Darren Anderton’s face I feel instantly nauseous. So this year I will be planning my meals based around each fixture.
Eg France vs Romania = Pig’s trotters baguette
England vs Russia = fish, chips and vodka
Spain vs Switzerland = Paella with cheese
Turkey vs Republic of Ireland = Kebab and Guinness
PICK A SECOND TEAM:
England will inevitably be knocked out by Portugal in the quarter finals on penalties after Sol Campbell gets called up off stand by to have an injury-time goal disallowed. So to keep the tournament alive I suggest picking a second team to support, this can be based on your heritage or on you just liking the team’s kit. Personally I will be supporting the French, Purely as I think the logistics of hosting a tournament warrant an automatic 1-goal advantage in every game. It’s the equivalent of the kid who brings the football to school getting to go first when picking teams. When I was a schoolboy I made sure I had this advantage in every sporting discipline by carrying a suitcase of sporting equipment with me at all times. It often meant there was little room for text books, which ultimately cost me my education but I left at 16 with an unblemished record in Rounders and Bench Ball which has gone un-replicated since I left in 2006.
GET AWAY FROM IT ALL:
Just like the players involved in the tournament it is important as a fan to take some time away from the stress and excitement of the games. I would highly recommend attending your local town and country fair. I was at the Market Beeton country show last week and may I just say what a fantastic event it was. I mean its not often that a motorcycle display team can move me to tears but when a sidecar detaches at that kind of speed it really makes you sit up and take notice. Thank goodness St John’s Ambulance were on hand to treat the rider. Legally the only thing they could do was administer Strepsils but in fairness when you’ve got a severed spinal column the last thing you want to be worrying about is cold and flu symptoms. During the last world cup, Roy Hodgson took the players to Auschwitz, many of the players found the experience humbling although after spending 4 seasons at Aston Villa Fabian Delph was said to be very impressed with the facility.
IT’S ONLY A GAME
Government statistics show that domestic violence peaks on the day that England get knocked out of a tournament. This is quite frankly disgusting for several reasons, violence of any sort is a wrong and for football to prompt this is moronic. Not only this, if I were an England player feeling the weight of expectation of a nation on my shoulders the last thing I would want; is to know that a bad performance could cause strangers to be domestically abused. Whenever I think of domestic abuse I am reminded of the story line of Little Mo and Trevor in Eastenders. If I remember correctly Trevor was Scottish which although does not excuse his behaviour does go some way to explaining it.
After all we invented football, it’s in our blood. We might not have the most talented players but it’s like my Granddad once said of his career “I wasn’t the most talented, but I made sure I was the first to turn up in the morning and the last one to leave at night.” It was that attitude that made him one of the most sought after caretakers in the whole of the west midlands. He remained one of the best caretakers in the game until an influx of foreign caretakers in the early 90s, he was forced to see out the rest of his career at a much lower standard of caretaking in the states.
COME ON ENGLAND