A Coping Strategy For The Euros

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Tournaments seem to roll around ever more frequently these days. Partly because of the after-effects of Covid, partly because FIFA & UEFA seem determined to squeeze more competition into (& extract more money out of) the football calendar; but more importantly, with age, seasons now pass much like Steven Gerrard spraying a Hollywood diagonal ball, with great velocity. 


The impending Euro 2024 tournament once again promises the opportunity for England to overcome the stigma of multiple years of hurt*. 

Serial England tournament viewers will start to recognise the signs that crop up with each campaign. You know the sort of thing:-

  • Emerging promising & potentially precocious young talent
  • Some decent results in qualification
  • Reference to a ‘golden generation’


The flags go up in windows and on cars, new replica shirts are seen in the High Streets of the nation – sometimes even worn by children. The grocery aisles in supermarkets have ‘seasonal themed’ goodies lined up for easy selection – charcoal briquettes, burger sauce, lager. It’s a pity that the squad couldn’t be named with such convenience. 

Hats off at this point to Hellman’s for choosing Jack Grealish to front their summer advertising campaign...the perils of going early eh?


But what of us, the fans – how are we going to survive the next month? Here’s some tactics to help you make it through...

1.England are not going to win it – accept it. The defence is too feeble, the manager is not creative/experienced enough, someone’s hamstring/metatarsal will break. Once you reconcile yourself to this stoical viewpoint, the trajectory of the next few weeks will be much easier to handle. It’s the hope that gets you – remember that.

2. Adopt a ‘Second team’. Pick another team that you can relate to – it might be the kit, the manager, a player that catches your eye. You might have familial links to another country in the Euros. Enter an office sweepstake...(although, if you draw out England go back to step one). It gives you another angle for those pub/online forum discussions... “The thing is...Albania are coached by Silvinho so his combination of Brazilian flair and Wenger’s tactical influence makes them a dark horse...mark my words...”

3. Reconcile yourself early to ITV’s coverage. They just aren’t any good. England never win on ITV. The only saving grace is that they have Ally McCoist; though being ITV they have of course not teamed him up with Jon Champion preventing a repeat of their wonderful 2018 on-screen chemistry.

4. Sort out your work calendar early. Games in the group stages come thick and fast – three per day in the opening phase so book those ‘WFH’ days, arrange those Zoom calls to keep the schedule free “Strategic Offsite Review”, “Quarterly Review Meeting”, you know the sort of thing. Make it sound plausible, agree a reciprocal invitation arrangement with a colleague and you’re both good to go for at least half a dozen group games.

5. Sort out your personal calendar early. Who wants to miss the the vital quarter-final games due to a lack of planning? Nobody, so get a wall chart, plot out the various potential match-up permutations early and make sure that you have block booked that precious evening time. As per 4. above – “Personal Training Session”, “5 a-side” or “Gareth’s Birthday Drinks” in the family schedule should do the trick. Use of a non-English, non-involved nation name like say “Gareth”, “Patrick” or if you can pull it off credibly “Lars” here is an advanced level trick.

6. Balanced snack selections. It’s a marathon not a sprint, balance your carbs with something that has at least homeopathic levels of nutrition. Teaming up your Pringles, your Doritos, your Tortillas with a salsa dip at least ensures that a vague approximation of tomatoes enters your digestive tract.

7. Download a relaxation app. This could be say yoga, meditation or even just deep breathing but it’s vital. If you have a dog, it’s possible to use a brisk walk or even simply stroking said animal to release tension. If you have a cat – please (unlike this infamous Leeds stag do) no Kurt Zouma antics. 


We are all susceptible to being a red card, VAR decision or a missed penalty away from cardiac uncertainty. Don’t take the risk, brush up on your relaxation techniques in good time. You’re going to need it at some point and it’s cheaper than hurling a mug through your expensive new TV screen isn’t it?


Use these tactics wisely and surviving the next month should be a veritable breeze.  Enjoy this festival of football and of course...c’mon England - especially you Adam! 



*Footnote - this has been the subject of a wonderful discussion on the always-exceptional Football Cliches podcast. In summary, when did the ‘hurt’ actually start? Was it immediately after the full-time whistle of the 1966 final? Unlikely to put it mildly. The consensus view was that it is probably the defeat by Poland at Wembley during the 1974 World Cup qualification campaign which means we are now in the 52nd year of our collective hurt! 


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