They say being an England supporter is a roller-coaster ride.
Maybe, but it’s a bloody crap roller-coaster. One minute you’re skipping over light little bumps like a happy kiddie in a pedalo, the next minute the pedalo's gone all Freddie Flintoff or you've pretty well come off the rails like Scooby and Shaggy at a haunted fun-fair.
The Bulgarian striker! He's getting away!
And sometimes you just sit in it wondering if it’ll ever get started.
Of course we were promised a brand new rollercoaster for the next few games with some proper new meddlesome kids. The tired old rolling stock would be out; and some gleaming new hyperfast trucks would be carrying us forward to the twin delights of Poland and the Ukraine 2012. (Yep, it doesn’t make me want to pack a suitcase full of Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts either).
Instead you expect the same old stodgy retainers to be carrying our hopes – typified by Bumblin’ Barry - and you can be sure Lumpy Lampard, Tits-Up Terry and Ricketty Rio will be back n all.
Bumblin’ claims England are ready to take on Bulgaria. I hope so. At least they won’t be up against that deadly dynamo Dimitar Berbatov, who retired from international football in May and for my money has been slowly retiring from football full stop for the last 18 months.
Other than that there’ll be the Petrovs Martin and Stylian. One day, the Bulgars will pick Sentov and Pistov but for now we’ll have to do with the slightly chucklesome Popov and Ivan Ivanov (that’s John Johnson to you and me).
It’s fair to say that this match is a skip full of banana skins for England. I know nowt about the opposition save for the fact that Stoichkov had one of the greatest left feet and shortest fuses in the game’s history and 1994 captain slaphead keeper Boris Myhailov returned four years later with a majestic barnet that he’d borrowed off the head of Ritchie Valens . He’s now head of the Bulgarian FA - and what a head! The tresses haven’t changed in 12 years!"Yes that's right... it's called Just For Men"
Meanwhile Capello’s new broom seems only to have swept away the-didn’t-do-that-much-wrong brigade of Huddlestone, Warnock, Joe Cole and Lennon. Still around are: the blundersome Upson, currently betraying all the self-confidence of a blind mouse in a cattery; Pawn-Shite-Rillips – although I wonder whether the gaffer picks him or he just sneaks on to the training ground unnoticed; Carlton Cole, the natural heir to Heskey given his present form; and Joleon Lescott who plays his international football in the hole between left-back and centre-back. (I didn’t know there was one there either).
I’m looking for an upside but to be honest I’ve not seen so much grasping at straws since my grandson’s birthday party at McDonalds.
One could be that Walcott appears to have responded well to not being in South Africa. And Christ the lad’s still only 21.
Two is the fact that the state of the national side is made for skipper Gerrard – he’s been hauling his club side out of the mire for five years.
Gerrard appears to be the only outfield players to have returned from the World Cup with his reputation enhanced which means that he did slightly more than fuck-all. Still it should mean he gets to play behind the front man. I’d instruct to get as close as he can to the lad with the ten B&H rolled into his sleeve.
There’ll be eyes on Rooney of course. It’s still my belief that the lad was injured in South Africa – and that Ferguson, shorn of any other inspiration, flogged the lad like an eager dimwitted carthorse in the Premier League run-in.
He could do with a little help up front. I can’t quite discover whether Defoe’s available or off for this ill-timed op. Crouchy’s sustained a back injury (allegedly from ducking flying crockery), so we’ve got Carlton... or Darren Bent.
Sunderland fans’ll tell you he’s worth his place. Me, I reckon Bent’s one of them lads who finds the step up in class a bit much. That could mean he fits in to the current England set-up perfectly of course.
And to be fair I thought the same about Lineker way back when. Turns out it’s his son who’s struggled with a step-up in class. 25 grand a year and poor Gar still can’t buy his lad’s A-levels. And this at a time when a shaved chimp could get a C in Geography.
I dunno – them public schools are terrible aren’t they? Pot-smoking fee-paying dens of inequity, I tell you, and just full of kids from broken homes who don’t know who their parents are (mainly cos they only ever see ‘em during the holidays).
'Take that Charterhouse!'
I tell you this Gary... you can get a crap set of A-levels for free on the welfare state.
Where was I? Darren Bent... well if he could get a little run together he might just get that confidence. Hellfire Paul Mariner scored in five successive games for England once, and Milan Baros was topscorer at Euro 2004 which is almost as confusing a piece of information as finding out that Hitler was a vegetarian.
The team I’d go for is:
Hart: G.Johnson, Jagielka, Dawson, A.Cole; Walcott, Barry, Milner, A.Johnson; Gerrard; Rooney.
Ah, bugger it, another good on paper England XI. I reckon what we’ll get is some of that platitudinous post-match rot about the result being all that matters. Cos we’ll have won 2-1 in a right scruffy manner.
But truth be told, no one’s too interested in how we get there any more. I’d almost rather it was back-waxingly painful and we got to the finals with zero expectation than we cruise through the group and watch the poor tired adulterous lambs get taken apart again by a pack of youthful carefree German wolves.
Aye well, carney Capello, start up the roller-coaster and let’s get on board.