Monday 5 July 2021

Euro 2020 Day 24: Letting the air out a bit and my vendetta with David Baddiel

When I was at my lowest point on Saturday (3rd July) I wanted to kill not myself but David Baddiel.

Maybe that's not entirely true. Maybe it was just his interminable bloody song I wanted to kill. I pick on Baddiel particularly because the earworm shitshow of his co-making isn't the only grudge I hold against him. Two years after FCH or ICH or Three Lions, or whatever the bollocks it's called, entered the charts, Baddiel was interviewed outside Wembley Stadium with tickets for the Arsenal v Newcastle United FA Cup Final talking about his "hate" for Arsenal while I sat indoors at home having not been able to get a ticket despite being a regular in the North Bank and Stand for the previous eight years. To make it worse, his team, Chelsea, had been in the previous years' Final, and another in '94. Why was he accepting this privilege? You may say that his stadium admission, alongside, of course, West Brom fan Frank Skinner (can't vouch for Ian Broudie and The Lightning Seeds, which is good as it saves me time rifling through their albums for lyrics of hypocrisy) was part of some corporate entertainment deal, but to me that just makes it worse.  

I have mellowed over the years and indeed went along with my good lady girlfriend to see his very funny comedy show at The Alban Arena four years ago, and have tickets to go and see his Covid-delayed next one (if you're a die-hard David fan and couldn't get one, please let me know) but on Saturday, during one of my depressive states of inescapable fixation now certified by a Doctor, I drove around and moped along with that arsehole tune going round in my head, mocking me until I reached the cliff edge.

Fortunately I reached our Close instead, and inside our house I could talk to my girlfriend who helped me lift some of the fog (It really is good to talk). She knew the evening was wracked with potential disaster as England were playing an easy-looking quarter-final with Ukraine (fair play to Southgate's mob, they've found another tulip-laden path to victory while all the top dogs claw each others eyes out) and had forewarned her Mum not to engage me with all the cheering and goodwill. The laugh is that we were going there for a family night of curry and cards for my delayed family birthday celebration!

We'd mooted the idea of cancelling so her Mum could enjoy the game uninterrupted (and learn the players names) but we ploughed on, and after an unsteady start the evening was a success. I learned that England won 4-0 but I still couldn't tell you who scored apart from Kane (I heard Guy Mowbray stretching out his name in a raised tone, rather like the time Tyldesley yelled out "Shearer!" as heard outside the Red Lion big-screen for England v Germany in 2001 in another disappointing outcome to that fixture).

I won't be watching the semi-final against Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday and will have to order a cave or something and judge when it's safe to come out, which is possibly never. I can't do anything about the hopes I have that Denmark's Eriksen-inspired tournament will bring about some kind of '92 repeat while understanding that they lost the first two games this summer (the first understandably, the second once Belgium sent on their best players); that said, they didn't win either of their first two in Sweden in '92 but went on to beat favourites' France (huh!) and defending champions Holland in the semi-final, and then World Cup winners Germany in the Final. But England at Wembley? In the face of that peddled mantra? They won't win.


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