International matches; the jury’s out.

Some see it as the pinnacle of the game, the ultimate in achievement, while others see it as a load of over-hyped cobblers, mismatched teams in a pointless cycle of qualification and underachievement.

If you play for San Marino, playing against England, Germany or Spain might be one of the high points of your career. Well, playing against Germany or Spain, maybe, but for the teams who are going to qualify, I can see the argument of it being a bit dull.

There are loads of reasons why the allure of international football has faded for many of us, and it’s not getting any brighter while we have to put up with Clive Tyldesley looking for his “They think it’s all over!” moment every time he speaks. But I want to like it again.

As a kid, it was thrilling to see more football, bigger, somehow. I remember goggling awestruck as Trevor Brooking scored against Hungary. His shot got stuck in the goalpost loop! But… how?! So here are my constructive and almost entirely feasible ideas on how to make the whole thing a bit more interesting.

Make the match look and sound international.

Surely the point of international football is that it’s somewhere else. Somewhere James Bond might play cards.

I want to know I’m watching a match being played 800 miles away. There’s only one way I can think of doing this, and if you’ve got a decent telly, you might not like it.

I want abysmal visual and audio quality. I want to see the lines moving up the screen as the match is broadcast with a two second delay to the radio commentary. I want the commentary to sound like a ransom demand down the phone.

This would be the epitome of TV live from Bucharest. 4K? Might as well be watching Stoke v Leicester. Which I wouldn’t.

Give England a decent kit.

Ditch the white shorts.

As Newcastle United fans, our experience of white shorts can best be described as patchy. The 4-1 against our nearest and dearest was a great day for whiter than whites, Shearer’s arms aloft, delighted with the brilliance of the wash.

But on the whole, my memories of them rank right up there with the look of despair on my mam’s face when I would come home from school, white PE shorts in my school bag, utterly caked in mud. For every reason that is good and helpful, dark blue, please. Or light blue. Just not white.

769 Years of Hurt

Stop pretending we’re bound by tradition when traditionally, England are chronic underachievers.

Greece have won the European Championships, Denmark have won the European Championships, but the nearest we have come is a desperate lunge to get on the end of a cross in 1996. Still, there’s nothing like next time and blaming someone else,

Play like you’re trying to get on the school team

We are not Real Madrid. We’re Really Boring. Joe Hart is a bystander to most matches.

I can’t get excited about the way England play. Hell’s teeth, England beat San Marino six nowt and I was bored.

What’s that? Turn it off? Well, if there’s something on the other side you want to watch, aye, go on.

And finally….It’s England. Not Ingurlund.

To support any football team, you need to be able to identify with it. I don’t identify with a team with a top costing 90 quid and who only play their matches in The Big Smoke.

I’ve got nothing against London, and it’s a canny day out, but most other national teams know how to keep the punters from outside the capital happy. It was a bit more interesting when Wembley was being rebuilt as kids got to go, and the utter inconvenience to the pundits was like watching Katie Hopkins losing her password to the Daily Mail website.

So give England back to the Ingurlish. All of them.

See you at the second round of the Euros. But probably not after that.

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