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Laurence Inman’s Blog



The summer’s big footy tournament’s already more than a third over, and Laurence Inman is still trying to make his mind up who to support.

It seems to come round so quickly (and so often!)

Once again, we all have to decide who to support in a major football competition once England have failed to qualify. This time we can’t even convince ourselves that, if we go back far enough, we have Irish, Welsh or Scottish blood.

That’s usually how I manage to become French for a fortnight (the Normans) or German (the Anglo-Saxons) or Danish; (bloody good blokes with the accent on ‘bloody’) and purveyors of excellent bacon.

I’ve tried to ignore those annoying little videos the BBC are showing every half-hour because I reckon if you watch them more than twice you are in danger of beginning to realise what a vacuous load of nonsense the whole thing is in the first place.

And who wants that?

Who wants to be reminded that ‘supporting’ some Premier sides is nearly the same as ‘supporting’ Italy?

Or that the only sure way to avoid this dilemma is by becoming a Blues fan?

Last week I was absolutely a fan of Germany. My wife was born there. They are a bit like us. They brew good beer and like big, meaty meals. Music and philosophy. They are very tidy and obedient. Ignore the 20th century and there’s no problem. But then they have that annoying Chelsea player Ball-Ache!

Then I thought I’d go for the Czechs. I used to like the shape of their country on the map of Europe in my atlas when I was a kid. And I was the only person in my class who could spell Czechoslovakia. Dubcek. 1968. Nasty Russian tanks. Prague spring. But now they’re only the Czech Republic. They’re half the country they used to be. And the shape is just a blob.

Switzerland. Plucky, neutral little Swiss. Cuckoo clocks. Obsessively clean. White everywhere. No.

Italy. Love it there. Shaped like a boot, as that gobby scouse kid says on the BBC ad. Operatic and melodramatic. And yet their football is totally negative. Mmmm....

Greece. Front-runners last time, already out of it this time. Brilliant food though. That Plato, he was Greek. And that Prince Philip of The Extreme North.

Holland. Yeah, well. They cheated us out of 1994. Total football ? No – total wankers.

Spain. Can’t support the favourites.

Sweden. Admirable social security system. Abba. Arctic grandeur. Used to drive on the left like us.

France. Why is it that even though we haven’t raised a rifle in anger against them since 1815, we still like the Germans more ? And even they probably like the Germans more than us. Nice cheeses. Like a drink. Proust. (Take that as you will.) A bit stand-offish. (A bit!)

Rumania. What’s the point of discussing it? I’ve never eaten anything remotely Rumanian.

Russia. I like Russians generally, but they can become a bit dangerous when they’ve had a few. You know – jerky and unpredictable. Nobody wants that on a night out, do they? And I don’t like all this talk of their Mafia taking over our crime. All our criminals are now second division.

Poland. They hate the Germans as much as the Dutch. They hate everybody. The groundsman at my old school was a Pole. He was all right. The woman who runs Oxfam in Moseley is Polish. She’s very pleasant.

That’s it then. Poland.

But hang on. I’ve forgotten Croatia. If they win, we can say we came second.

Oh no! Now I’m confused.

Austria. Rolled over for the Germans in 1938. Very boring. On the other hand – Mozart.

Turkey. Not after Midnight Express.

There’s only Portugal left. And I can’t stand the sight of Ronaldo Christianus.

But hold hard. There is a way out of all this. Big Brother has started! There must be a complete gobshite I can support on that.



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