Read it and weep, other countries
Okay look if we’re going to be totally honest with each other, I’m not sure how much I like football. There’s the pitch area that’s awash with millionaires who have Gaffney/Bowers levels of sophistication, then in the stands it’s all contorted faces and stifled rage. I once went to watch Spurs v Leeds at White Hart Lane and there was a guy there who literally looked like he was going to explode and spatter the stands with blood and semen.
BUT ANYWAY, check this out – I love the Euros! I’ve loved them ever since I was a 20-year-old lad in 1996 dreaming of becoming a ballerina or a pop star. In the end I settled for being a relatively unsuccessful freelance writer. Anyway, enough of this excellent introduction, you want to see what the greatest England Euro Squad of All Time looks like.
Goalkeepers – David Seaman, Gordon Banks
It’s a no brainer at the back, in between the ole sticks. You’ve got your David Seaman, with his threatening ponytail-moustache combo to strike the fear of God into people. Then next to him, you’ve got Gordon Banks, father of Tyra, brother of Elizabeth. He once made a great save.
Defenders – Rio Ferdinand, Bobby Moore, Ledley King, Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Graeme Le Saux, Paul Parker, Stuart Pearce
We’re talking a back four here, lads. None of your threes or your fives, a simple four. Two in the middle yelling sweet murder, then a couple of pussies either side of them making darting runs up and down the flank. You’ll notice a fine mixture of psychotic rage and leggy elegance in this selection. You’ve got Stuart Pearce pogoing to The Buzzcocks, Dixon miming to The Eagles, Ferdinand rapping aggressively into a hairbrush, and Le Saux doing the Times cryptic crossword. It’s all about balance.
Midfielders – Paul Scholes, John Barnes, Steve McManaman, Paul Gascoigne, Matt Le Tissier, Glen Hoddle, Chris Waddle, Steven Gerrard, Bryan Robson
It tells you everything about how rich the pickings are that I didn’t even consider recent greats like Owen Hargreaves and Nick Barmby for this squad. Even David Beckham couldn’t swan in, and he’s by far the most fashionable Englishman of the modern era. He could walk into any hotel in the whole world and just ask for a pizza. Stand there, right now, demanding a pizza, because he’s David Beckham. Anyway, I thought I’d go for players who’d have you out of your seat jumping six feet in the air. Hoddle and Waddle could also harmonise during the anthems.
Attackers – Peter Beardsley, Alan Shearer, Kevin Keegan, Jimmy Greaves
Two sets of two here, featuring the mercurial, handsome talents of Peter Beardsley, the charismatic finishing of Alan Shearer, the relentless scurrying around and poking people of Kevin Keegan, and the moustacheless incarnation of Greavsie. People like Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Gary Lineker, and Geoff Hurst are probably reading this and crying inconsolably right now, wondering why they’ve missed out. They might fall into a depression or head to the gym for the most aggressive workout they’ve ever done. Michael Owen’s probably shrieking and trying to lift a medicine ball. But, you know what, that’s just football. You have to learn to take rejection.