Arsenal fans – Do you care whether England win tonight?

Ashley Football Leave a Comment

Well, possibly not if you aren’t English, but if you are lucky enough to be have been born or live in this wonderful country how are you feeling about tonight’s crucial game with Montenegro.

Is it a must watch because you want to cheer the team onto World Cup qualification?

Or is a must watch because you want to get a really close look at Arsenal’s number one summer striking target Stevan Jovetic?

Over the past few days I have read several Arsenal bloggers who have nothing but distaste for the international games, they see them as an unwelcome side shown that detracts from the real business of the Premiership and Champions League. Some even suggest that we would be better off without internationals.

So what do you think?

Personally I am rather torn. On one level I can sympathise with English men and women who hate international football. Over the years we have seen a generation after generation of England mega stars underachieve in the international game. While rival countries always seem to pull a top performance or two out of the bag (well, at least once every eight years) England invariably seem to stumble though competitions before finally succumbing in rather predictable penalty shoot outs.

England will never ever challenge for anything – even though given the quality of the players in the team they really should. Arsenal might not have won a trophy for eight years now but, until this season anyhow, the team was always in the mix for them.

Then there are issues with the current crop of England internationals. Most Gunners have little love for the older England players – namely Rio Ferdiand, Frank Lampard, John Terry and especially Ashley Cole, and as for the youngsters – who really cares about them? Some come across as being uninterested in wearing an England short and are just going through the motions before they get back to the serious business of club football, utterly oblivious to how much the national game means to some people.

I also wonder if many of the fans that are most passionate about England are supporters of smaller clubs. While the football they see on a weekly basis isn’t that great with, England they get to support a team with some real class – well sometimes anyhow. Someone once likened it to the club team being their wife while England are their bit on the side – more glamorous, exciting and unpredictable. I am not sure I approve of the analogy, but I kind of know what they meant by it.

However I also remember the elation of the two tournaments where England made the semi final in 1990 and 1996. In particular the 90 World Cup was an intoxicating occasion packed with excitement, drama and wonderful, very personal stories. It helped that the players were very likeable too. And as for 1996, from the penalty redemption of Stuart Pearce through to the Gazza inspired destruction of the Scots, it was a wonderful roller coaster ride. If you weren’t around remember how great you felt during The Olympics and times that by ten. The country was having an amazing party.

The Olympics has shown that this country can do a spot of patriotism and play nicely at the same time, so wouldn’t it be great if the England football team could inspire the same feelings?

So I am hoping for a serious demolition of Montenegro tonight. And I don’t care who plays brilliantly and whether they play for United, City or even the Spuds. And if Robin Van Persie wants to pick up an injury while playing for Holland – just like he used to in the old days – well that’s fine by me too.

Anyhow- what do you think?