Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

That's the Blame of the Game

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

That's the Blame of the Game

Article excerpt

I'm blaming Mick Jagger. What the hell was he doing there, poncing around in the stand, signing autographs? He's a cricket fan. I once spent ages at a party on Mustique listening to him chuntering on about the boring old England cricket team, and when I tried to change the subject to a real game, he sloped off.

I'm blaming that German coach, the one with the moptop who thinks he's a Beatle, circa 1964. He and his assistant were dressed like an elderly boy band with their matching baby-blue V-neck pullies.

That Tesco England flag--the one I was going to put on my car when England got to the quarter-finals--what a mistake that was.

And of course the new 32-inch Sony flat-screen super thing I bought specially for the World Cup, which took for ever to get here as the stupid delivery men got lost in the fields. I honestly think it made England play worse. On my old telly, they at least won some games now and again, scored the odd good goal, made the old heart leap with pleasure, often for minutes at a time.

From the moment I switched on the new telly for that first game, England were total shit. OK, so they beat Litherland, or was it Ribena--can't remember now, some titchy new country, population the size of Cockermouth.

In the blame game, you tend to clutch at straws, lash out at anything or anyone, regardless of logic. I was in such a blind fury with their performance that when the final whistle blew I screamed at my wife:


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