This last week saw England continue their Euro 2016 qualification campaign with two expected victories over San Marino and Estonia. As a passionate football fan, I would love to tell you I watched both games with excitement and keen anticipation, but the fact is I couldn’t care less about watching my national team.
I wasn’t always like this. Until recently, I would never miss an England game – be it in a World Cup quarter-final against Brazil, or a mid-week friendly against Macedonia. Now I dread the international break.
So what’s changed? Well, the simple answer is that watching England has become a chore. The international breaks are known by TV networks as ‘dark weeks’, as viewing figures have plummeted in recent years. Depressingly, it’s easy to see why this is the case when sat watching an England international. Take Sunday’s game for example. England fielded a team full of Premier League stars to face an Estonia side whose best player is currently struggling to make the starting 11 at Championship side Blackpool. Despite the clear gulf in class, England only managed a 1-0 win through a Rooney free-kick, even with Estonia playing with only 10 men for much of the second half.
Okay, so a win’s a win, but I must say that England’s lacklustre performance – mixed with having to put up with Adrian Chiles’ and Andy Townsend’s ‘expert analysis’ – made me regret wasting two hours of my Sunday afternoon. The fact is that the national team simply can no longer compete with the ridiculously high standards and excitement of the Premier League and the Champions League.
The World Cup and, to a certain extent, the European Championships are enjoyable to watch. However, with both only occurring every four years, it is the bread and butter of weekly club football which most football fans truly crave.
Image courtesy of the guardian.com