With FIFA this afternoon handing the right to host the 2018 World Cup to Russia, Damian Hall clears the lump from his throat - and lets rip...
IÃ¢ÂÂm not very patriotic. IÃ¢ÂÂve lived abroad long enough to have a passport for another country, I canÃ¢ÂÂt remember the last time I cheered Ã¢ÂÂ really cheered Ã¢ÂÂ an England goal (probably Little Mickey Owen in Ã¢ÂÂ98?) and IÃ¢ÂÂve never worn a silly hat given away by The Sun.
But today I would wear a red and white plastic hat, because I feel patrioticÃ¢ÂÂ¦ patriotic and wronged. Today, when FIFA awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia, we woz robbed. Did I say robbed? I meant, rigorously shafted, with a big and especially robust Christmas tree, candles, angel, and all.
It would be all-too-easy to go on a one-eyed, over-emotional, ignorant and predictable rant about how we deserved it more than Ã¢ÂÂthem over the water who talk all funny and eat food that isnÃ¢ÂÂt chipsÃ¢ÂÂ, so thatÃ¢ÂÂs exactly what IÃ¢ÂÂll do.
At risk of sounding like a bile-spewing shock-jock from a certain sports-based commercial radio station, it was, quite simply, EnglandÃ¢ÂÂs turn Ã¢ÂÂ and weÃ¢ÂÂve been cheated. I canÃ¢ÂÂt find another way to look at it. ItÃ¢ÂÂs like the Hand of God, but worse.
At least Diego Maradona owned up, sort of (and to be fair we had recently killed a lot of his compatriots). What have we done to President Bladder (as Morgan Freeman so wonderfully called him)? Oh yeah, thatÃ¢ÂÂs right. One or two of our journalists pointed out that several of his colleagues like their palms to be crossed with silver. And, crucially, we didnÃ¢ÂÂt offer any silver.
I donÃ¢ÂÂt blame the England bid team. They played it fair, I believe, and thatÃ¢ÂÂs probably why they lost. IÃ¢ÂÂd rather be that sort of loser (and I know a fair bit about being a loser). The bid was flawless. WeÃ¢ÂÂve got everything Ã¢ÂÂ all, bar the odd hotel or two, is in place and we did everything (bar the bribes). We even hauled out our poshest prime minister, a quite important prince and our most tattooed footballer (though it would have helped if Becks had brushed his hair).
"Panorama? I've not heard of it, guv..."
So why did Step Ladder and his cronies pick someone else? I think we all know why. Was it ever actually about football? Was it ever anything other than what we might euphemistically call Ã¢ÂÂpoliticsÃ¢ÂÂ?
After the corruption allegations, the clever thing would have been for Fifa to pick England, thus showing they had nothing to hide. Plus the Ã¢ÂÂunscrupulousÃ¢ÂÂ English media may well have left Fifa alone for a bit. Now Fifa looks even more slippery and hopefully the wounded wolf, smelling an opponentsÃ¢ÂÂ blood, will pursue them even more.
IÃ¢ÂÂm proud that we scared them off. If they are so frightened our free press might ask questions about where their Rolls-Royce and Rolex came from, then we donÃ¢ÂÂt want to be hosting their Fun Zones anyway.
Actually, we do really. I was born nine years after the last World Cup in England and the earliest we could possibly have another one here is 2030, when IÃ¢ÂÂll be 55. Fifa, I genuinely feel like you stole my World Cup.
I feel like a five-year-old whoÃ¢ÂÂs just seen a Christmas present with his name on it handed to a distant cousin Ã¢ÂÂ the shouty, spoilt, rich cousin whoÃ¢ÂÂs always giving you Chinese burns Ã¢ÂÂ and I just want to stamp my feet and scream, Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs not fair, itÃ¢ÂÂs not fair, itÃ¢ÂÂs not fair, waaaaaaaaaah!Ã¢ÂÂ
In that vein, IÃ¢ÂÂm wondering whether shouting a few childish expletives in FifaÃ¢ÂÂs general direction will help me feel better? Worth a shot.
Sod off Fifa, you bunch of worse-than-the-bankers, tax-dodging, schmoose-hounds; you greedy, selfish, failed traffic wardens; you unscrupulous, sister-sexing smegheads and scumbags; you corrupt cretins; you Nazi-gold-stroking vermin; you old, bald, berks; you dipstick dingbats, bozos and eejits; you nincompoop numbskulls and ninnys; you nerdy jerks and moronic, er, morons; you doofus dunderheads; you twerpy, twitty, twazzocks!
There. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs about all the insults I know. I feel just a tiny bit better already.
And anyway Russia isnÃ¢ÂÂt all that far away really, and I'm sure they'll put on a great World CupÃ¢ÂÂ¦ I just hope they have chips.