Of course Kevin won't resign. Don't be daft
I was so looking forward to Saturday. I got such a lot of work done in the morning, knowing the treat I was going to give myself in the afternoon. And I lined up such an array of goodies for the match itself: a huge slice of homemade gingerbread, two pears from my garden, and the last of my excellent apples, now not so excellent, as the wasps have got at them. Enough to keep me going till half-time, when I can open the Beaujolais in celebration.
Beside me, just for luck, on the arm of my favourite chair, I had my 1966 Wembley World Cup Final programme - I've kept it well clean all these years, just the odd gingerbread stain - and my reproduction copy of the first Wembley Cup Final of 1923. About 20 years ago, I was offered an original for £90 and I said, get lost, no one will ever pay that. Last week, at an auction held by Sports Progs, I bid £650 for one - and failed.
I do love reading this 1923 programme, or anything to do with Wembley. "This vast Stadium, the largest in the world, the most comfortable, holds more than 125,000 people. In area it equals the Biblical city, Jericho." How did they know that?
The Wembley Stadium was one of 100 or so buildings, pavilions, exhibition halls and galleries put up to show off our empire. "The British Empire Exhibition is indeed the most wonderful, the most romantic enterprise in history." They knew how to sell things in those days.
As it got near three o'clock, I wondered if I should have a hankie at the ready. Just in case it all became too emotional, or I needed to mop up the tears of joy.
The first worrying sign was Richard Keys, Sky's presenter, who exclaimed just before kick-off: "It doesn't get any better than this!" Hold on, Rich, I thought, do contain yourself. Then I thought he might inadvertently be right. His words could also mean that this, now, is the best it will be, when nothing is happening. When it does, it could be rubbish. Nah, no chance. Inger-land. Wem-ber-lee.
Bobby Charlton appeared in a stupid Puffa jacket over his suit jacket. What a wally, how out of touch, how clumsy and old- fashioned compared with the suave, neat, disciplined-looking Beckenbauer in his fashionable raincoat. Will England be equally uncomfortable, and Germany similarly well organised?
In the line-up, I looked into Michael Owen's eyes. How dark they are for a young man. Is he ill, has he been up all night, does he know what's coming?
The English crowd booed the German national anthem. Hey ho. Not just disgusting and pathetic, but so uncool. One of the things about Premiership crowds today is their sense of irony, their ability to mock themselves. At England games, the lumpen think with their beer-guts. Why didn't they stand up and cheer the German anthem all the way through? That would have scored house points and totally confused the Germans.
I saw the German goal coming. I did. I was screaming at our defence, as they stood around like dozy buggers. My wife, who was listening quietly to the radio in the conservatory, jumped up in alarm, thinking I was having a seizure.
After that, England were total rubbish, sliding on their backsides, as pathetic as their fans, who started singing, in their witty way, "Stand Up If You Won the War".
I hate England fans. I hate the England team. I am hating this match. I am just so full of hate. And that includes Nationwide. "This international is supported by Nationwide," blared an advert on the screen the moment the half-time whistle blew. So it's their fault. I'm cancelling my Tessa.
At half-time, I went for a quick walk through the fields. Four cows watched me over a dry-stone wall, their heads following my every move. What are you lot looking at, you stupid arses? I'll fight every cow in this field. Down at Crummock Water, I threw some stones into the lake. Take that, you horrible water.
The second half wasn't quite as bad. More the normal, useless England team. How could Kevin on Football Focus at lunchtime have talked about going all the way - winning the World Cup? He must be potty, or totally deluded.
It's Wembley's fault. Wembley should have been blown up in 1966. I never liked the place: nasty concrete, shitty food, smelly lavs. How could I have been fascinated by Wembley all these years, collected all this stupid memorabilia? I'm the potty one.
I had such a headache when the final whistle blew; I just grunted when my dear wife came in to find out the score. She then started chattering on about this really good Radio 4 programme she'd been listening to, old people talking about places in their lives, part of The Century Speaks series, really interesting.
Shurrup, I said, I'm watching Kevin. He was walking straight down the tunnel, on his own, never seen him do that before. Managers normally stand at the side of the pitch waiting, commiserating or congratulating each player as he comes off. Very strange, not like our Kev.
Do you think he'll resign, asked my wife.
Keep quiet, woman, you don't know anything about football. If I want an inane opinion, I'll ask the Herdwicks. Of course he won't resign, not now. Don't be daft. After Euro 2000, that's when he might have done, should have done. Not now.
Look, I'm switching this thing off. I'm not watching England, ever again. In fact, I don't want to talk about football, or Kevin Keegan, not any more. Don't tell me any football news. I don't want to hear. And if I mention the word Wembley again, just shoot me.
Now I'm going to duff up those cows. I may be some time . . .
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