Home nations, let's just get this week over with
Emotionally drained. Physically battered. Frankly, finding it hard to care less after a tiring season giving everything for their clubs. And that's just the fans.The end of the domestic season has been marked with the usual commiserations, celebrations, wild fantasies for next season or mild disenchantment for this one. May, as ever, presents two marvellous opportunities for extended drinking in the form of two bank holiday weekends, one at the sharp end of the season for most, the other providing the endlessly watchable drama of the play-off finals.And then? And then we're asked to watch our home nations play again, valiantly pretending the Euros donÃ¢ÂÂt exist. We're asked to care whether John Terry gets the armband, whether Burley can build on that opening draw with Croatia, whether the young Welsh call-ups can match Iceland (possible) or Holland (improbable).Northern Ireland have got it right. Unshackled by the hubristic booking of pre-Euro Ã¢ÂÂwarm-upsÃ¢ÂÂ which have now become pointless warm-downs, Norn Iron simply arenÃ¢ÂÂt bothering this week. Meanwhile CapelloÃ¢ÂÂs millionaires, rather than looking Alpwards, have got to go to the Caribbean Ã¢ÂÂ not to lounge on beaches but to glad-hand Jack Warner so England might be guaranteed some involvement at WC2018, if only as hosts.The fixtures are an unwelcome extra course in footballÃ¢ÂÂs banquet. Intended as an enticing hors dÃ¢ÂÂoeuvres to the continental buffet of Euro 2008, it has become a stale pastie, a cold haggis, a rank rarebit served seconds after the all-you-can-eat fast-food frenzy of our domestic game.IÃ¢ÂÂll watch it, of course. Millions will. But weÃ¢ÂÂll all pretty much have forgotten it by a week on Saturday, whether we turn our attention to the events in the Alps or forget about football altogether.
As if we could ever do that.