Is there a future for England’s dreaming?

I seem to approach World Cups in a backward fashion – whilst other people build themselves into a fervour of excitement leading up to the first day (which is today), I have generally exhausted my excitement levels much earlier and need to re-energise myself.  That’s what this post is half an effort to do, since I’ve not really mentioned the World Cup at all so far beyond in passing.

In many ways I feel I miss out the rush of emotions many people (if the media is to be believed, which it isn’t) experience – I’ve never had a desire to fly little flags on my car, or adorn my house with St. George’s crosses – although I certainly don’t begrudge those that do the opportunity.  Of the numerous Scotsmen, Welshmen and Irishmen I know I’ve yet to meet one who is offended by such things.  I’m also not remotely offended by the ‘Anyone But England’ trend that some folks from the Celtic nations have adopted.

Hell, I generally adopt an ‘Anyone But Liverpool’ policy in European and domestic tournaments, so I think that can be considered part of a healthy rivalry and not a hate-fuelled political statement (although of course, for some it might well be).  On England, whilst I support them I can’t muster the passion I do for Forest – I desperately want them to do well, but always temper that with realistic expectations too…

I was lucky enough to grow up in an era when the Reds had a sizeable contingent of players who represented England which naturally drives my interest further.   Those days are obviously long gone, and aside from a tenuous claim to Michael Dawson (who won’t get a game), there’s not much Forest-shaped interest aside from even more tenuous links to the oft-forgotten loan spell John Terry spent with us, and the fact we released Shaun Wright-Phillips for being too small.

However, as tomorrow comes around and I find a suitable spot in the pub to take in our opener against the USA I’m pretty confident I will succumb again to World Cup Fever.  Like most fans I’ve tried to predict outcomes, the last one I did saw a not-entirely-disbelievable Quarter Final exit (I can’t remember who we lost to, though!).  The trouble with this is, of course, that – frankly – I know so little about most of the teams my predictions might as well be produced by a random number generator.

My concern for England is that we rely very heavily on the Rooney factor – he’s the spark that can ignite impressive performances from the side.  Aside from him, and the always-difficult-to-handle Peter Crouch we don’t really seem to offer much threat up top.  Like many the continued presence of Heskey bamboozles me, I don’t care what statistics you show me about goals with him in or out the side, I could show you the same for Neil Harris’s spell with Forest.  He was still rubbish.

I wasn’t planning on habitually writing but as stories or thoughts occur I might dabble in the World Cup a bit.  By my crude estimations (and limited knowledge) I just can’t quite put our current England squad at the same level as Spain, Brazil, Holland and – pending Maradona’s sanity – Argentina.  Then there’s the unexpected wildcard factor – Germany’s young squad could provide this, or maybe Mexico who look dangerous going forward, then there’s the ‘home nation factor’ to consider…

However, if you don’t approach a tournament expecting to win it (which is very much a standard attitude for a Forest fan these days, I would’ve thought!), it makes it much more straightforward to enjoy what happens.  I’ll certainly be going out of my way to see all the England fixtures and watch any other games that take my fancy or fit my schedule.  And in that spirit, I’m really looking forward to it.

I just can’t make the highs as high, or the lows at mind-numbingly and depressingly crushing as they are when games involve Forest.  Which is probably a good thing, after all, summer is supposed to be a spell away from the stresses and strains of being a football supporter – so for those of you who do muster comparable fervour for England as for your club sides, you’re in for a torrid few weeks!

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9 Responses

  1. you forgot the even more tenuous link of Upson and his short lived spell at Forest :0)

  2. I’m with you nffc. I feel more ambivalent towards this World Cup than any I can remember in my 42 years. It’s not just the lack of Forest interest, but the relative absence of any likeable characters in the squad, or at least players that any of us ‘mere mortals’ can relate to as real people (was it ever like this? Maybe I’m getting old).

    Either way, my worst fear is that we go all the way and win the thing… something I’ve dreamt of seeing all my life… and instead of elation I’ll feel nothing! That would be worse than going out to after hard fought but creditable quarter or semi final defeat.

  3. Feel the same way, dave. I remember being so excited in Italia 90 and Mexico ’86. Just gone now, the excitement for me.

    But our 2nd leg vs blackpool? I was excited for weeks beforehand!
    And tearful on the night :(

  4. As a football fan Im looking forward to some quality games and see what gets thrown up.I hope England do well but believe they are like Man United and rely to heavily on Rooney.

    Watch out for the African nations !!

  5. I’m very excited it. Far too long have we put up with unrealistic football players who we have not been able to relate to for ages so I don’t see that this makes any difference. In fact, sport in the UK is completely overblown and any celebrity is now given special entry into the apprenticeship for Godhood, that being complete and utter idol status reserved for the few.

    So onto the football, it should be as good as any over the past 2-3 decades. Nothing will beat 70′ of course (not that I was even born, but my dad went to the final and bangs on about it at every opportunity) but the standards are there in club football and so it should create for an exciting competition.

    England’s chances, for me, almost zero. Capello missed a trick in his selection by excluding Walcott and in my opinion Adam Johnson. Rooney is fantastic but will not be allowed to play on his own (the only position he is really really good in) and other than him and maybe super sub crouch, I can’t see where goals will come from. In these often very tight encounters, especially the quarter finals and the semis, you need just 10 seconds of brilliance from someone and I don’t see it in the current team, as good as they might be. I did the predictor on the BBC and I reckon Brazil will beat Spain in the final, England coming 4th. That should be good.

    As for the overall competition, I’m really not sure that the media will let us focus on the football if the first day is anything to go by. This World Cup is all about Africa and how South Africa will somehow be saved from all it’s problems and the competition is a testament to how far they have come since 94′. This, in my humble opinion, is complete bollocks. The country is in a f*cking mess with mad violence, power cuts happening in the major cities all the time coz some c*nt stole the power cables and the mechanics don’t have the education to fix it quickly. On top of this, not 2 months before his election win as president, Jacob “the c*nt” Zuma had charges against him for under age sex, various rape allegations and a massive corruption allegation where he took a large amount of money to turn a blind eye to illegal arms being transported through South Africa to Zimbabwe which were then used to murder and maim the poor folk in yet another sorry ass story of terrible African politics. South Africa is a mess, so either report the facts or just let us enjoy the football.

    Sorry for the rant NFFC, I appreciate this blog is not for this purpose.

    Anyway, up the football! Come on England. U reeeds!!!!

  6. Pacucha

    We won in 1966. I am owd enough to remember it , the country was in dire straights and the team united England, sound familiar? Despite my past I’m not full of jingoisim I have a similar feeling to 66 70 & 90. Now I’m not saying we’ll win BUT I do think we have a chance.Expectation often beats the actual but isn’t that often the way not just in footie but life? So chin-up and all of you BELIEVE!!!

    Enjoy the tournament and if we don’t win I can’t see anyone beating Spain.

    COME ON ENGLAND and Mr Gerrard lets see your worth it!!!!!

  7. Ravinreg,
    Sadly I’m not old enough to remember 66, just what people have said about it. I also cannot comprehend what sport does when winning something brings everyone together. I’ll just take your word for it.

    That being said, I don’t see how South Africa can win if it’s the actual winning that brings people together and, yes, I think it’s great that South Africa can get to host the competition. I personally believe there should be a system where every country, within its means, gets the opportunity. But, this is a competition about football, not a political statement about how football can inspire hope for economic and social development (as the BBC and ITV would have me believe). It’s a game, as much as we love it, it’s just a game.

    As for England, I am a blind faith man in reality (more so after tonight’s performance, though there were some positives). And I hope and pray that England win it. Do I rational think they will, probably not, but then where is rationality when in support of your club or country. After all, you can’t choose your family.

    As for the football, I think England has as good a chance as everybody else, but the pessimism helps me not be so disappointed if/when we get knocked out. And I think my previous pre-tonight’s game comments in my earlier post were justified. I quote “you need just 10 seconds of brilliance from someone and I don’t see it in the current team, as good as they might be”. We had 2 really good opportunities, even after Green’s gaff, the main one being Heskey one on one with the keeper. He slots that in, it’s good night USA. But he didn’t and against the better teams in the latter stages, we won’t be so lucky. And the way Capello has the team set up, it’s very difficult to see how Rooney can lead the line on his own. So I will believe, until the final whistle blows. My head says something different and I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    Come on England.

    BTW, an alleged link to Chris Eagles from Burnley. He would be awesome in left wing IMHO.

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