THE BEST thing about England’s exit from the European Championships is that I no longer have to listen to idiots shouting at television screens in pubs.
You know the type. They wear replica England shirts and usually turn up two hours before kick-off to reserve the best seat in the house.
For the sake of clarity, I should stress that I have no major objection to grown men wearing football shirts. I know many people do.
But what I don’t get is why they also feel the need to lecture the world on football.
And scream orders at the players. Or shout ‘You dirty so and so’ whenever the opposition commits a foul.
I just wish these people would calm down and realise how annoying they are.
Because, seriously, the rest of us do not hang on your every word. And, trust me, no one at the other end of the camera can hear you, no matter how loud you bark.
During Sunday’s defeat by Italy, I lost count of the number of times one bloke shouted ‘switch it’ to Steven Gerrard.
I never asked if he understood the meaning of this phrase or whether he even played Sunday football but obviously he felt use of the term was a sign of tactical prowess.
Just a couple of seats to his left sat another guy in an England shirt who detested James Milner.
I think it was the Leeds United connection that got under his skin – but everytime Milner got the ball, we had to listen to yells of ‘Get him off. He is f****** rubbish’ which was hardly supporting the team.
Of course, it is not necessarily all bad news watching England down the pub.
The main attraction is the sense of camaraderie and unity it creates. It is also a place where you can share your patriotism and the next best thing to being at the game.
Down at my local, the regulars even get treated to complimentary pie and peas at half-time.
Mind you, anyone who thinks about jumping the queue risks the landlord’s version of the ‘yellow card’.
Tradition demands that no one should even touch a pork pie before the peas have also been laid on the table.
But ‘Howard’, who is nearly 75, was unable to resist the temptation.
A stern ticking off from the landlord ensued before ‘Howard’ suggested a warm place where the pies should now be shoved. And, no, it wasn’t back in the oven.