Euro 2000 is here - and I've got an awful fixture pile-up

I got married on 11 June 1960: what a mistake. Getting married, dearie me no, that was certainly not a mistake. But the date. What a stumer.

I became president of Cumbria Wildlife Trust five years ago, or it could have been six, anyway, the late Brian Redhead rang me up one day and said would I take over from him as pres of Cumbria Wildlife Trust. What a mistake. Not agreeing to it. Just not realising that the annual general meeting, which every year I have to chair, takes place in June. This year it's 10 June. Oh lor. What have I done? The first matches in Euro 2000, as we all well know, just look at all the supplements, take place on 10 and 11 June. And I'll be otherwise engaged.

If only I'd been really, really clever when we walked into the Oxford Register Office in 1960 and said: Hold on pet, how about holding on pet, till let's say, I dunno, mid-August, when there's no football? That would have seemed sensible 40 years ago. Nowadays, it would be stupid. That's when the new season has already begun.

Today, anyone getting married, any time, in any month, or agreeing to do anything, any time, well ahead, will always find that the random date, agreed to with a clear head, a good heart and an empty diary, will turn out to be the same day as an absolutely vital match which can't possibly be missed. Parkinson had his Law. I hereby decree that the aforementioned observation is Hunt's First Rule of Football.

Of course, I'll be celebrating my ruby wedding, the full treatment, with 40 roses, a real ruby necklace and a night at a posh hotel near Windermere, Linthwaite House, where I've already inquired about their television reception. The AGM of the Wildlife Trust is also in Windermere, quite near a few pubs; so, with a bit of luck, a bit of ducking and diving, a bit of I must go and check the lounges, see a man about Peter Rabbit, I should at least catch the goals, if any, in the opening game, Belgium v Sweden, as well as Turkey v Italy and Holland v Czech Republic on Sunday.

Then it's whay hay the lads, I'll be back home, in our Lakeland house in Loweswater, on Monday for England's first game, against Portugal. I have the wall charts pinned up, the glossy supermarket kiddies' books opened at the first pages and the pull-out sections from every newspaper carefully laid out.

Look, my petal, if it's vital, tell me now. If not, hold your whisht, I'll be incommunicado until 2 July. Come on. I did buy you roses, they don't grow on trees, and those guaranteed 100 per cent kosher rubies, they weren't cheap. I could have had the goldfish or the coconuts, but I was thinking of your pleasure.

So, I'm all ready. To be totally, utterly, completely depressed by England's performance.

It was jolly clever of Kevin to tell the lads to play like shite in their final warm-up against Malta to fool the spies from the other Group A teams. Malta are roughly the level of the Carlisle and District Sunday league, division ten, and the world at large expected England to hammer them by, oh, something stupendous, like 1-0. But I saw through the bluff and double bluff. England were shite because they are shite.

When they drew against Brazil, which was truly astonishing, even though Brazil were strolling, hands in pockets, looking the other way, one foot tied behind the other, I joined the national euphoria, clamouring for a dukedom for Kev, a Nobel peace prize for Michael Owen for his wonder goal. Then when we hammered Ukraine, who couldn't even get to Euro 2000 and probably didn't give a toss, I was over the moon, chuffed to bollocks, etc.

The Malta match - that did bring us all down to earth. And reality. I'm now in the right frame of mind for Monday. I'm ready, and also resigned. I wish Kev was.

Kevin has clearly no idea what he's doing, what his formation will be, or his tactics, let alone his players. It was bringing Kieron Dyer on as a sub in the Ukraine match, when he'd already told him he wouldn't be in the final 22, rather than giving a run-out to a player who would be going, that finally convinced me Kev is off with the fairies. Whatever his motivation - to confuse the press, to stop Kieron crying - it was completely potty. In all three warm-up games, on the very eve of the Big One, he used different tactics, different players, showing his lack of resolution. Alf Ramsey had his faults, but dear God, he knew his own mind.

So how do you feel, Hunt, resolution-wise, as you are so awfully clever?

I'm pleased by the state of Shearer, which I wasn't a few months ago. Ditto Ince and Scholes. They'd be in my team. Barmby has at long last fulfilled the promise he showed at Spurs all those years ago. Owen is in, not just for that wonder goal, but because he suits the big occasion. Heskey is still too raw, too naive. In the midfield, our strongest area, there is a relatively rich choice. I'd have both Beckham and McManaman, even if each can be a luxury, along with Barmby, Ince, Scholes.

That means three at the back. It's where there's little choice, as our defenders are currently about the poorest, least-skilled, worst passers in the western world, so we might as well have three useless players as opposed to four useless players, all liable to make mistakes. So bye bye to the Neville brothers. Which leaves Adams, Campbell and Keown.

In goal, I'd have Martyn. I've watched Seaman very carefully this season for Arsenal and, despite that controlled air, that confident hair, I think he's blown it. Not just his barnet, but deep down he knows his best days are behind him. Alas, ditto England, I fear.

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.