I’ve cajoled someone into watching Andorra vs England with me tonight, so this will have to be fairly quick. Several things have come up which don’t warrant whole pieces devoted to them and, of course, I’ll probably find the time later tonight for a quick round up of all of tonight’s shenanigans (though I might be quite drunk, so apologies in advance for the spelling and grammar).
Tonight’s Football: I don’t really think that there’s anything that England can do tonight to repair their reputation. They’re playing a team that would most likely struggle in the Nationwide Conference, and anything short of The Mother Of All Hidings will be seen as little short of humiliation. Germany beat San Marino 13-0 last year, so they should really be aiming to top that. Frank Lampard fractured his wrist this afternoon, which saves Steve McClaren one headache – having to leave out Owen Hargreaves to accommodate two players that can’t really play together in central midfield – but the bare fact is that it’s all so much nonsense, really. It doesn’t matter. English football (and, I could argue, English culture generally) needs a head-to-toe shake-up, and scoring a hat-full tonight will prove nothing other than that England can beat one of the worst two or three teams in Europe. I’m keen to watch this for its potential car crash qualities. God. What if Andorra were to break away and score first? In a way, it would be brilliant. Prediction? 3-0 England, and the daggers to be well and truly drawn by the time they get back.
Wembley Confirmation: Now, here’s exciting news. The FA have finally confirmed that Wembley will be the venue for the 2007 FA Cup, FA Vase and FA Trophy finals in May. I am already making plans to go to the Trophy final between Kidderminster Harriers and Stevenage Borough on the 12th of May, and will report back accordingly. Of course, the first match to be played at the new stadium was last Saturday, when England and Italy’s under-21s played out a 3-3 draw. Like most other people, I’ve only seen a few pictures and some bits and pieces of video, but it all looks very impressive. I’ll be taking my own food, though.
Ryman Slang: High excitement at the top of the Ryman League Premier Division, as AFC Wimbledon came off the back of their successful appeal against their points deduction with an emphatic 5-2 win at Leyton last night. They’re four points off the top of the table now, and have what looks like the most comfortable run-in of all of the top five clubs. On Saturday, they’re at home to the hapless Slough Town, who have amassed a magnificent sixteen points from their thirty-six matches so far this season, and conceded ninety-one goals in the process. Barring any unforeseen mishaps, I should be there on Saturday to report on the party.
Staring Relegation In The Face: Meanwhile, results have continued to go against St Albans in the Nationwide Conference, and they are almost certainly starting relegation in the face – six points adrift of safety, and with just eight matches left to play. Last Saturday they drew 1-1 at home against Kidderminster – a result that would have been creditable had the visitors not had two players sent off in the second half. When you can’t win a match against nine men, you’re probably beyond hope. It would be nice to not finish bottom of the league, but I’m not especially optimistic about that, either. At the top of the table, meanwhile, a last minute equalizer gave Dagenham & Redbridge a 2-2 draw at Oxford United on Monday night, which surely now guarantees The Team That Ate Essex the title and a place in the Football League. They’re still eleven points clear with just a handful of matches still to play. Oxford still have the play-offs to “look forward” to, but their form has been mixed since Christmas, and the pressure will still be on them considerably more than it will be on their rivals. I fear that they could be looking at a second season in the Conference.
Finally, I haven’t put anything from YouTube on here for a while, so here’s Denmark vs Belgium from the 1984 European Championships. Denmark, in red, need a point to get through to the semi-finals…