That’s the blame of the game

I'm blaming Mick Jagger.

What the hell was he doing there, poncing around in the stand, signing autographs?

He's a cricket fan. I once spent ages at a party on Mustique listening to him chuntering on about the boring old England cricket team, and when I tried to change the subject to a real game, he sloped off.

I'm blaming that German coach, the one with the moptop who thinks he's a Beatle, circa 1964. He and his assistant were dressed like an elderly boy band with their matching baby-blue V-neck pullies. That Tesco England flag - the one I was going to put on my car when England got to the quarter-finals - what a mistake that was.

And of course the new 32-inch Sony flat-screen super thing I bought specially for the World Cup, which took for ever to get here as the stupid delivery men got lost in the fields. I honestly think it made England play worse. On my old telly, they at least won some games now and again, scored the odd good goal, made the old heart leap with pleasure, often for minutes at a time.

From the moment I switched on the new telly for that first game, England were total shit. OK, so they beat Litherland, or was it Ribena - can't remember now, some titchy new country, population the size of Cockermouth.

In the blame game, you tend to clutch at straws, lash out at anything or anyone, regardless of logic. I was in such a blind fury with their performance that when the final whistle blew I screamed at my wife: "DON'T SAY A WORD, I AM NOT TALKING, PROBABLY WON'T TALK AGAIN FOR FOUR YEARS."

Then I stormed out, slamming the doors, went into the field, looking for a tree to hang myself from, and instead kicked every sheep in sight.
Capello, of course, was mostly to blame. Yes, the players were useless, the most shameful England performance I've seen in 44 years, but it was Capello's job to turn players, some of whom we know used to be quite good, into a proper team.

Instead, under him they became a playground rabble, a Sunday-morning pub team. They say the point of managing is to make the whole better than the sum of its parts. Capello pulled off the trick of making every part worse than itself.

Thank Gawd it's over. The agony is ended. I can now sit back and enjoy it. But of course I can't - I keep thinking of that easy group they were given, how they couldn't even stuff Algeria, never mind Ribena. And as for Germany, who did Germany have that was any good? How many world-class players have they got compared with good ol' Ingerland?

All the world's top clubs would love to have our Wayne and Lamps, J T and Ash, everyone knows that. Oh, stop it at once, you are the problem, you're doing it again, that's how we got into this mess, with your stupid, blind, fantasy faith in all these overpaid wankers, imagining for one moment some of them were half decent.

Yup, there is only person to blame. And I am now looking at him in the mirror.

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.

This article first appeared in the 05 July 2010 issue of the New Statesman, The cult of the generals