Less spinning, more winning

Fifa, the world body of football, may the Lord preserve it, was created in 1904 by seven European countries where organised football had first flourished - France, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Notice one notable absence? Yup. No England. Or for that matter Scotland, where football had flourished long before it hit France et al. Nor Wales or Ireland. Up your bum, was roughly England's thinking. We began all this, who do you think you are?

In the 1920s, England played fast and loose for a while, leaving then joining Fifa, then leaving again. At the vital 1928 meeting, an FA member named Charles Sutcliffe stood up and spoke as follows: "I don't care a brass farthing about the improvement of the game in France, Belgium, Austria or Germany. The Fifa does not appeal to me. An organisation where such football associations as those of Uruguay and Paraguay, Brazil and Egypt, Bohemia and Pan Russia are co-equal with England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland seems to me to be a case of magnifying the midgets." Well said, sir; hear, hear.

The first World Cup went ahead in 1930, without England. Nor did they deign to join in the 1934 or 1938 World Cups. They did condescend to turn up in Brazil in 1950, where they were humiliated by the US. They claimed the Yanks had cheated, getting a couple of real professional players from Scotland to pretend to be Americans, which was a terrible fib. And so a pattern established almost 100 years ago has continued. It's our game, we created it, who do you think you are, you greasy foreign Johnnies? England was, and still is, universally disliked for being superior, condescending and smug. And when we come a cropper, we blame Russian gangsters, Arab corruption, two-faced West Indians and a devious Swiss.

Surely we should have accepted the truth by now? No one likes us. And we do care. At least we did. I felt pathetic and humiliated after I realised
I had sat for an hour watching Sky Sports News, waiting for a stupid envelope to be opened. Surely "Sir" David Beckham and Prince William must have wowed them? And our own dear PM had put in a personal appearance, unlike that creep Putin, the lazy bugger.

Gawd, what an eejit! It was just like following the England team itself. The facts about their uselessness stare you in the face, but each time you con yourself and ignore the obvious.

Right, from now on, like Milwall, if no one likes us, we don't care. Secondly, it was all a nonsense anyway. The most important thing about the World Cup is not to host it but to win it. That's where our energies should go, not fannying around presenting designer handbags to wives of elderly fat blokes from piddling countries. You don't win the World Cup by arse licking and trotting out the celebs. You win it by playing football. So, let's concentrate on that from now on. Thank you.

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 13 December 2010 issue of the New Statesman, The radical Jesus