I for one was hoping that our team of boring well-organised journeymen would not qualify for Euro 2012. But having ingloriously dragged themselves out of a group containing such luminaries as Andorra, Albania and Macedonia they managed to see off the might of Estonia in the playoffs. Glory days eh. In the days when I gave a shit about soccer I watched them beat England and Italy.
The national frenzy has already begun and will continue unabated until the end of next summer. Already we've had a Credit Union official on the radio telling the aspirant dolts how they can garner the readies to facilitate their lumpen meanderings through Poland or the Ukraine. The country is heading for the abyss, the new government is avoiding any radical solutions (don't affront the civil service unions), and by the way we seem to have lost our sovereignty, but our boys in green are oblivious.
Maybe they are encouraged by the excessive soccer coverage on all media. There's a whole fleet of journalists out there trying to justify their existence by pontificating on what's a very simple game really. Chief amongst them is Johnny Giles who's special gift is for stating, at tedious length, the bleeding obvious. But he's not alone - there's a standing army of ex-players who vie with each other to inherit his mantle. Their common qualities seem to be a complete absence of wit, a limited vocabulary, and an ability to make a mountain out of a molehill. Step in Ron, Phil, Ronnie, and even St. Paul. The only one worth listening to is Graham Taylor - Newstalk's European correspondent - and he's got the inestimable advantage of seeing Messi play every week.