Posted by Laura
There’s a widely-circulated theory about the way newsdesks work – that bad news equals good news when it comes to getting the nation enthralled. Yes, sadly, it is true that a hint of schadenfreude does often make the difference between a straightforward report and a topic that gets the nation gripped.
Here on the homepage team we always try to present the good, bad and ugly sides of all debates, see the positive when we can and inject a bit of that feel-good factor into features when we feel they deserve it. However, one subject today had us struggling to find bright side – England’s Euro 2008 qualifying game against Estonia this evening.
If the boys do come good at the A Le Coq Arena tonight, which, let’s face it, they really, really should do, it’s no reason to celebrate. In fact, if there is a glass-half-full angle to extract from this sorry Euro 2008 business it’s that perhaps what England really need is a bit of humiliation at the hands of a bunch of rank amateurs whose scoring track record is so poor you have to wonder if they think the aim is to keep the ball OUTSIDE the box. If England lose tonight, against a team whose last competitive goal was in October 2005, it would truly be a shambolic, devastating, pitiful embarrassment, but it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Here are our five reasons why.
1) It would make McClaren’s position untenable. Surely after such a crushing blow he couldn’t continue? Perhaps, then, England could enlist a coach that could get the team back on form and to a decent standard.
2) Things couldn’t get any worse. Sometimes a team has to reach rock bottom before it can claw its way back up. Just look at er, um, West Ham.
3) England will finally stop thinking of itself as a great footballing nation and accept that, yeah, it did win the World Cup in 1966, but THAT WAS OVER 40 YEARS AGO.
4) The chances of another Euro heartbreak would be minimal. Each time the European Championships come around England fans get swept up into the this-year-it-really-is-possible hysteria. What then happens is the team crash out, disappointment and blame set in for a few months, then two years later the nation convinces itself that, despite not being able to make headway in Europe, it could still take on world heavyweights like Brazil and Agentina.
5) Footballers may become footballers again – not perfume pin-ups, not supercar collectors or serial model-marryers – just plain footballers; no more, no less.