Why Team GB offers the chance of shared humiliation
By Rob Casey
Sunday 15 Jan 2012 11:55:00
Browse all Opinion articles

In sport, as in politics, many believe that it stands to reason that Great Britain is stronger together than apart. Much like a sandcastle. In fact, much too much like a sandcastle, inasmuch as we have the capacity to crumble with tidal regularity every time there is a major tournament, regardless of the sport. And also because the very term ‘castle’ implies that we are in constant readiness for battle against elements that will ultimately defeat us, whether they be foreign forces or simply time and weather.

2012 is a year when the nations of Britain have the opportunity to unite and take on the inevitable humiliation of international sporting competition together, or simply opt out and retain the small amount of pride that comes from not having our collective uselessness confirmed on ‘home’ soil. So why not give it a go, when all we have to lose is our dignity, and perhaps our sovereignty?


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Alex Salmond may well have a mandate for asking his countrymen and women whether or not they fancy being in Britain but not run by Britain, in the same way that David Cameron wants to be in Europe but not run by Europe, but doesn’t want Scotland to not be run by him. However, independence in football has been a given since Hadrian first gave up on defending free-kicks with soldiers and actually built a permanent wall instead.

For nearly fifty years, England, Scotland, Wales and the other one that is in the United Kingdom but not Great Britain, even though they’re technically British, I think, have faced the football world and come up short. And in most cases, some way short. Gordon Strachan short.

So is there a chance that for once, if we actually got together like they do in Westminster (where everyone gets on wonderfully) and formed a Team GB, we might actually, dare I say it, win something? Or is it far more likely that all the Olympics presents us with is an opportunity to show the world that in football, as in every other sport that Britain has ever competed in, we are only as ‘Great’ as Yarmouth is great, i.e. we’re OK at best.

What many people don’t realise is that these islands are termed ‘Great Britain’ not because we are attributed with any kind of special talent, but rather so Geoffrey of Monmouth could distinguish us from the not-so-great-in-size Brittany, where our former invaders, the French came from. This is therefore the only reason why we’re called Great Britain instead of OK-at-best Britain. But you won’t read that in The Daily Mail.

So if you want my opinion, which if you’ve read this far I’m guessing you’re at least willing to consider, devolution makes sense politically speaking, but it’s time for evolution on the football field. Team OK-at-best Britain has an opportunity this summer to prove that England plus Gareth Bale might well be better than England minus Gareth Bale. And that can only be good for our national pride. And particularly Gareth Bale, who, let’s face it, isn’t going to play in any other major tournaments, is he?

For more articles by Rob Casey, visit his blog www.playinginthehole.wordpress.com and follow him on Twitter @playinthehole

You can also follow England Fansonline on Twitter @1HellOfABeating 




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