Blimey, we take a few days break and that happens.
Britain – apologies – GREAT Britain, has seemingly turned overnight into the goth teenager of Europe, defiantly scratching SCUM into its arm with the point of a protractor.
So, while we all try to get used to the Clarksonisation of this new UK, shaped by bug-eyed Brallbag Nigel Farage and his fevered vision of that old Tango advert, where honest to goodness blokes, with skin whiter than their vans, proudly bare their ale-guts at France from the cliffs of Dover, well, we may as well still talk about the increasingly irrelevant-feeling football.
Hang on, just one more thing. Has anyone who is in favour of leaving the EU given you anything remotely resembling a decent reason, a semblance of an upside, that was anything more than some fanciful, ephemeral concept?
One Brummie the other day said, ‘Ah, I don’t know. I think it was probably time that we went on our own.’
Like the fucking economy and his kids’ futures are Peter Gabriel.
At least we’ve got our own sovereignty though. That’s dead important, isn’t it? Because remember those mornings when you woke up and thought, ‘I don’t feel sovereign enough here.’
Ironically, the sovereign is probably going to be the chief currency in two years. That and the groat.
Anyway, the match. Or ye olde kickerball as it will be known again under the new regime, where it will be played solely by stout yeomen of pure Anglo-Saxon descent, and any diving or rolling around on the floor, like some effeminate continental, will be punished by the birch. Yes, the match.
Well, the only place to start is with the arse falling out of England in their last 16 game against Iceland. Wayne Rooney scored an early penalty but the Icelanders – without their star player who was injured in a freak piano accident, that’s right, the incomparable Lesdawsson – replied with two quick goals and then managed to defend deep and frustrate England really rather easily.
Roy Hodgson resigned after the match, the experts all immediately tucked into their pre-prepared moan about the state of the game, from grass roots to the Premier League – what’s known in the trade as a ‘Waddle’ – while everyone else just shrugged.
It just isn’t a very good England team. The central midfield is anonymous, the fullbacks are dead fit but limited in ability, and wig-head Wayne Rooney aside there is a lack of any real experience and character among the attackers.
They’re shite, basically.
Ireland also scored an early penalty against France, and held on for a while, but Antoine Griezmann’s winning second-half brace had more than an air of inevitability about it.
There were some others but they are all becoming something of a blur, to be honest. The biggest shame is the exit of Hungarian keeper Gabor Kiraly and his spliff-burned ‘sitting off’ kecks. He apparently refers to them as his vineyard strides, because you can see it quite clearly when he’s enjoying a light Sémillon.
Thankyou, we’re here all week.
Back at Everton, Ronald Koeman’s still being linked with all sorts. Morgan Schneiderlin from Manchester United is one story that won’t go away. He always looked really good for Southampton, and one of Koeman’s challenges is finding a long-term replacement for Gareth Barry. You’re not going to get that from a purely defensive player like James McCarthy, for instance, as the veteran’s cleverness and cunning, and his almost omni-present availability to receive a pass – never mind his experience – were absolutely central to anything good the Blues did under Roberto Martinez.
The goalkeeper sitch also remains, with out-of-contract Steve Mandanda linked again, along with Maarten Stekelenburg from Fulham.
Then there’s that Polish winger who has only recently ousted Dimitar Berbatov from the number one spot as the player who looks like Steve McDonald off Corrie.
Fuck knows what’s happening with John Stones and Romelu Lukaku. Oumar Niasse’s already rumoured to be heading for the door though, with alleged interest from Turkey. Everton could possibly kill two birds with one stone here though if they are smart.
Martinez is still apparently after £10 million from the club. Just give him Niasse. If he can get more than 10 for him then it’s all gravy. Win win. If he can’t then he wants to think long and hard about why he paid £16 million for him with Everton’s dough – exactly why he got the bullet – and then sling his hook.
Not that it’s a problem. Farhad Moshiri has more dough than that down the back of the couch. He’ll just tell his missus to pay Martinez out of her housekeeping.
We’ve probably missed loads there.