The countdown has begun! It will only be a matter of days until England crash woefully out of the World Cup, once again shattering the dreams of millions of Three Lions fans.
Supporters will have every right to turn somebody into a national scapegoat, hang their effigies from public places and send them death threats via social media – because it is most definitely their fault and nothing to do with you setting ludicrously high expectations and feeling let down because you attempted to vicariously live out your dreams through the actions of another.
But who will single-handedly let the nation down? We asked our panel of experts…
Trev Grimble, opinionated bloke in the pub:
Without a doubt it will be Gareth Southgate’ fault. He’s the manager and the failure to win the World Cup has to ultimately land at his door. It’s all well and good banging on about his unbeaten qualification campaign, but he’s been in the job for eight months and is yet to bring the British Messi through. He’s a joker if you ask me, which you didn’t.
Allan Myday, pundit and no-nonsense defender back when players sang the national anthem:
I’m pretty sure it’ll be one of those foreign refs who costs us. We’ve seen it a million times before, these continental pansies disallowing a perfectly good goal just because someone kicked the keeper in the head in the build-up. We need English refs refereeing the England team. At least they know a knee-high two-footed tackle is part of the man’s game and not this namby-pamby rubbish they play on the continent. It’s just passion.
Samuel Codliver-Oil, tabloid journalist:
I’m as patriotic as the next man, so it saddens me to exclusively reveal that Raheem Sterling will rip out your heart and stamp on it with his diamond-encrusted £30k Gucci flip flops. England’s failure to win Euro 2016 had nothing to do with over-complacency, poor tactics or Iceland being better on the day. It owed everything to the preening, overpaid Sterling having the barefaced cheek to buy his mum a house, with taps and everything. Maybe if he earned the same salary as one of our brave soldiers or heart-of-gold nurses then he’d stop driving a posh car that’s well within his price range and score a hat-trick against Panama. He’s a national disgrace.
Frankie Cockney, unwavering self-confidence:
Joe Hart, innit. Don’t care whether he’s going or not. Can’t abide ‘im.
John Littlerichard, newspaper columnist:
I blame those bloody immigrants, swarming into this country and laughing at our pathetic open-door policy as we kowtow to Brussels. Once here these swarthy little oiks put an enormous strain on our parks and pitches, depriving good, honest, hard-working British boys of a place to play football. I’ve got friends who tell me some of these five-a-side centres in Birmingham are no-go zones. And look at some of these so-called boy refugees, they’ve got to be at least 34. How can our youngsters develop at under nine level if they’re playing against a team of men with moustaches. Our football team used to be the pride of the world, now the liberal elite, with the backing of those loony left Cobynistas, are pushing us towards hell in a handcart.