Quiet Fury stalks a nation of stiffly curled lips
Self-(deprecatingly) described "journeyman footballer" turned manager-for-hire Iffy Onuora on a peculiarly English cultural reaction...
I think I speak for the majority when I say that it's all very well enjoying international football, with the finest team of its era in town strutting its collective stuff looking all shiny, Latin and tiki-taka'd up Ã¢ÂÂ but let's have some REAL football now!
How about a cold afternoon at Accrington, a chance to share a collective and quiet fury at the sheer incompetence of what you're watching and have paid good money for, followed by a whinge to 606 that in your considered opinion, the current unfortunate has "taken us as far as he can".
Now this is perhaps not the most opportune time to resort to small-minded prejudices, but let's go for it: I believe that Quiet Fury is what we do as a nation better than any other. Think of your comedy heroes Ã¢ÂÂ Basil Fawlty, Captain Mainwaring, Victor Meldrew (thanks for making it this far kids, see you next week!). Not for us the Gallic shrug and its ambiguity; no, Quiet Fury is where it's at, and is the rock on which great prejudice is built.
Vic, Baz & the Captain: stiff-lipped comedy archetypes
Take the 1-0 victory over the previously all-conquering Spanish. Now, even factoring in the 45 years of hurt, could we not even muster a sliver of enthusiasm for what Sir Alex would no doubt describe as "knocking them off their flipping perch"? No, of course we couldn't. Quiet Fury was all around.
"Well, I know we won, but it was all a bit ITALIAN wasn't it?" "DEFENDING?!" "Clean sheet you say?" "Whoa, that'll never catch on!"
The national mood was suitably downbeat as we struggled to deal with the full implications of beating the world champions, and by the time we'd repeated the scoreline three days later against our old nemeses the Swedes, you half-expected state TV to close the airwaves and conduct a news blackout such was the Quiet Fury and desire to not get carried away.
Now you may be asking whats all this "we" business given the Onuora Scots-Nigerian lineage. Well, I always find national loyalties something of a moveable feast; indeed, prior to last Saturday I'm sure I recall a Spanish great-grandmother of folklore Ã¢ÂÂ and I am even as we speak researching into any Irish heritage...
For what it's worth, this observer thought that England actually looked more than a little impressive over the two games with a genuine mix of young players now ready to supplant the lustre-free Golden Generation.
Furthermore, what's the point of football if not to have unrealistic ambitions? England to win Euro 2012 Ã¢ÂÂ you heard it here fÃÂ¬rst. There, I've said it: do your worst. Quiet Fury? Bring. It. On!