What’s that all about then? Tacky St. George’s flags joyfully festoon each and every mode of transport in London. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much as an armchair supporter as the next man but this looks like Jingoism’s poster child dressed up as sporting patrotism. It’s like a pensioner with a mobile phone – there’s just something mildly unsettling about it, but I can’t put my finger on what it is.
I’ve always distrusted blind allegiance to any flag, so could never really get my head round our American cousin’s daily ritual of hoisting the Stars and Stripes in their back yard, and then throwing it a non ironic salute. Although on reflection, it may have been their right to arm bears and build scary munition dumps which accompany the flag waving that was truly terrifying.
And we’ll lose. Oh we might scrape into the quarter finals before something unsporting happens like a better team beating us or – worse still – penalties. If it’s the latter, the mass neurosis of fifty million nail biting little Englanders will surely transmit itself to our recently clothed emporer’s sporting heroes and they’ll blast the ball somewhere into row Z.
And then all the flags will magically disappear for another four years. Except for the sad few, grubby and frayed, whipping a mocking farewell to a never really achievable dream.
Maybe I’m just being a curmudgeon. And maybe it’s just football that ignites my inner grumpy because who could not be uplifted by the sight of our fantastically hungover cricket team parading a small tea urn through the streets of London last year? But then we’d beaten the Aussies. And I’d be the first man out with my flag, rattle and kiss’me’quick hat whenever that happens even if England had recently retained the international tiddywinks crown.
Or maybe I’m just a grumpy bugger resigned to the inevitiability of defeat and the long faces it will cast for weeks afterwards.
That’s probably it.