I was four years old when this happened. I had no idea that it had happened until later. Then I spent the rest of my life thinking and being reminded of it.
It is with a deep sense of irony that I still watch England. Yesterday was a case in point.
A friend called me and asked if I’d like to watch the game with him, at a pub. Immediately my inner alarms started to sound. Pub meant people. Pub meant fake nationalism. Pub meant piss-heads pretending to be fans. Well, that was the first pub.
We lasted over an hour there before moving on. The game was still in the first half and I had queued thirty-minutes for two beers. Instead of being about football, this was about a day out in the sun. A day to flash as much flesh as one could possibly do without being arrested. Or procreating.
Even thought the pub had hundreds of TV screens, it was almost impossible to watch any football. The atmosphere was wrong. An England football match needs to have a quiet sense of anxiety about it. There needs to be the opportunity of hiding behind the sofa. Or just running out of the room. You can’t do that in a pub packed with positive piss-heads.
So, we found another pub. Small monitor. Not many people. Places to hide.
By the time it had taken us to walk the short distance to this sanctuary, England had scored. By the time we left its restorative embrace, England had scored again, without reply.