The greatest football competition on the planet, the World Cup finals kicking off this Thursday.

Are you excited?

Are you taking the afternoon off to watch Russia v Saudi, or Morocco v  Iran.

If you are one of those who has the flags on the cars or hanging from the bedroom window, good on you, but for me the event is leaving me cold.

It wasn’t always like that.

As a kid the World Cup was magical.

Back in 1970, I would constantly be badgering my dad to go and put some petrol in the car, in order that I would get another England squad commemorative coin for the collection, and hope that this time it would be Bobby Charlton.

Even in 1974, when England didn’t qualify, the World Cup was still a massive event, with everyone I knew getting behind Scotland.  Maybe it was different in your area, but I don’t remember any anti-Scotland bias from any of my schoolmates, or on the telly from the likes of Clough and Allison.

My only disappointment was that Jinky Jim Smith didn’t make the squad, with some ginger headed Jinky Jim from Celtic being chosen instead.  By all accounts he was pretty good.

At that time we were a United Kingdom.  How things were to change.

By the time the 1990 World Cup in Italy came around, I was serving in Northern Ireland.

On the night of the Germany game it seemed that every Welsh, Irish, or Scottish lad in the mess had bought a German top. The bar had to be segregated, with them on one side and the English lads on the other.

Quite unbelievable that a band of brothers who the day before, and the day after, depended on each other to stay alive, were prepared to throw punches at each other, over the inability of Chris Waddle to keep the bloody ball in the stadium

But as successive competitions have come and gone, that mad passion has slowly disappeared, with the 2014 event hardly registering.  That may have been down to the fact that England were totally rubbish but it went deeper than that.

I can honestly say that I didn’t watch one of the 10 England qualifiers or any of the warm up matches this time,  I have come to the conclusion that it’s down to not feeling like England is “my team”.

My job takes me around the towns and recently I have found that lads in Carlisle,  Ramsbottom and Goole are feeling the same way.  Obviously that’s a generalisation, because there will be plenty “Ramsbottom” flags on show in Russia in the coming weeks,  but the love affair for the national team seems to be diminishing

Maybe that is not such a surprise, as it simply reflects our dissatisfaction with the club game. However, whereas my relationship with Newcastle  could be described as “estranged but under counselling”, my relationship with England had reached the “Decree Nisi” stage.

I may be opening myself up to getting dogs abuse in the comments but I personally think Newcastle is Geographically, Politically and Culturally closer to Glasgow and Edinburgh  than it is to London.

The Wembley stadium debacle , where it had to be built in London and not in the centre of the country it’s meant to represent, summed up the contempt the leaders had  for the people of the North.  If by some miracle England won the World Cup, where would the ticker tape parade take place?  You certainly won’t see them coming down Grey Street.

Back in 1990 the team had  a massive Geordie influence, Beardsley, Gascoigne, Waddle  , Robson (and Andy Sinton in the squad), which made it easier to get emotionally involved, but these days I don’t think there is anyone in the squad born north of Leeds (give or take a couple of mackems), so as the next month passes by, I will dip in and out of the games.

I will still be hoping England progress and play decent football, but I won’t be losing any sleep over an extra-time defeat to Germany in the quarter-finals, because I’m afraid  England is no longer “my team.”

Send me to the tower.

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  • TheNutJob

    Hola compadres.
    i love the World Cup, i aim to watch every match, as for England they`ll do the usual & get through the group stage then go out to the 1st decent side they meet.
    Brazil, Spain or Germany, the winner will be 1 of those 3. i`m going for Brazil

    • Rich Lawson

      I think Belgium are a really good outside bet ?

      • Dillon Tovak

        They are like the Netherlands used to be, great players, 💩 team.
        If Roberto Martinez wins the World Cup it will be an injustice to football 😂

        • Rich Lawson

          I’m not sure,their squad looks good and their run up results have been ace,I fancy an each way bet for them to reach the final ?

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    I suffer from Insomnia so excitement is taking hold because some sleep maybe had as soon as it starts.
    Things like The World Cup are becoming as meaningless as the pampered millionaires who kick the ball around in them.

    Like the one in Brazil where you bulldoze all the poor peoples schools and houses to build the stadiums, “Magic” !

    Like the last tournament that London Utd, Err sorry England went out of in the group stages but that’s okay because Raheem Sterling was bragging about his diamond or gold encrusted netty a couple of days later !

    Oh yes I cannot wait to see players passing the ball sideways and backwards and diving all over the shop !

  • Paul Patterson

    England is a London thing and to be honest, Ive always had more leaning/sympathy to Scotland and Ireland as like the North East, they get neglected by the south. It also feels alien to me, to support a bunch of arrogant, overrated players that I’m programmed by design to dislike week in, week out.

  • Liam Hogg

    I have absolutely no interest in the England national team. I also feel closer and more friendlier and accepted be people up north than those down south who look down on us

  • Rich Lawson

    ”Plenty of Ramsbottom flags”, I thought Wales didn’t qualify ?

  • Leazes.

    Yup, you hit the nail on the head its London United followed by people who are from godforsaken places because they haven’t got a local team, and a splattering of nationalistic thugs and a few of the rugby and cricket brigade who use it as a boozy holiday, and are so wound up in their own sense of greatness they have to scream it out in the faces of their hosts….. and embarrass the country they are supposed to represent.

    I remember going abroad for the first time as a kid on a school trip and we were told we had to be ‘ambassadors’ for our country. This bunch I hope they send to a bloody Gulag!

    • Rich Lawson

      Be interesting how they get on against the Russian Ultra’s and the no nonsense police force ?

      • Leazes.

        Hope they get a bloody good hiding, that’s what that sort deserve….. riff-raff.

        • Rich Lawson

          They have no real interest in football,just a p##s up and a scrap,time in a gulag with mafia boys would be almost as good as national service for the lot of them.

    • TheNutJob

      come on then, tell us where you went.

      • Leazes.

        Catalunya by bus and train via Dover and Paris

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Stopped supporting England when Supermac scored five against Cyprus and then was dropped. England now would rather play with ten men than pick a Newcastle player. Hate Harry Kane and Ali for their performance and cheating up here this season and probably hate the rest of the players to. Will be looking for Mitro to have a good world cup so watch their games but that is it.

  • paul mclaughlan

    Agreed. But I’ll certainly jump on the bandwagon if we progress beyond the (in my dreams) quarters.

  • Wezza147

    Even though England are my team, I myself haven’t watched any qualifiers or friendly matches as quite frankly most of the time they are a waste of two hours… a lot like we were under Pardew and McClaren.
    Since the Euros I’ve fallen for Iceland so really hope they do well.

  • Dillon Tovak

    I literally cannot wait for the World Cup, 4 games a day 😍
    But England? Meh. Doesn’t get me too excited. I’m sure I’ll get into about half an hour before KO.
    The beauty now though, I won’t give a shiny 💩 when we get knocked out.

  • Wor Lass

    I can`t do with all this anti-England cr*p. I feel sorry for some of you lot.

    • paul mclaughlan

      It’s hard supporting a team when the players look like they’re just not interested. I even had a stupid “maybe just maybe” thought before The Euros. Then along came the mighty Iceland.

      • Leazes.

        Even harder when they are players of your rivals ……and look like they’re playing in a Tottnam strip.

      • Wor Lass

        Southgate`s changed things, though. He`s surprised me because I had him tagged as a bit of a no-mark, an FA poodle who`d done the right courses and gone to all the meetings but he`s doing a good job so far. He`s not scared to bring in young players, he`s dropped anyone who isn`t fit and he`s got them playing with the ball on the ground. This squad seems very together and they`ve played some good stuff at times. As far as I`m concerned, they`re my team and I`m looking forward to seeing how they can do. I don`t think we`ve got enough goals in us to go all the way but they should get out of the group and then, in the knock-out stages, anything can happen. I think Southgate`s planning more long-term, though. I`ll still have my St George`s flag up at the bottom of the garden to wind the neighbours up, though!

    • Leazes.

      Nowt in common with the English

  • Keeganontherebound

    Interesting article. I suspect a lot of people have similar feelings – and the fact the World Cup is being held in Putin’s Russia and then in Qatar leaves a bitter taste as well. I’m not anti-England but as I remember someone saying online once (it might have been on here) I get about as excited these days about England scoring a goal as I do about Newcastle winning a corner…

  • Chris Peacock

    you mention your welsh, irish, and scottish comrades being segregated over england. Then near the end of your article you say you will dip in out of the games despite 2 lads from the north east being in the starting 11…

  • Martin

    I actually quite enjoy seeing the overpaid and overrated English Premier League players being humbled. I would love to see Messi inspire Argentina to victory.

    • HarryHype59

      Our “world class stars”, will be shown to be mere journeyman at International level yet again.