Home Internationals tournament a car crash waiting to happen
1984: The title of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, featured in the lyrics of The Arctic Monkey’s hit I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor, and perhaps most significantly of all (for my mum anyway), the year that I was born. But from a topical point of view, it was the year that the Home International tournament was killed off.
Amid growing concerns over hooliganism and falling interest and attendances, the championship involving England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which had taken place since 1884, was brought to an end.
Now discussions about reviving it are taking place, seemingly for a one-off edition, in 2013. The drive (excuse the pun) behind its return is coming from England’s new sponsors Vauxhall. Incidentally, the car manufacturer has also just become the lead sponsor of Wales and is in the process of setting up similar deals with Scotland and Northern Ireland. Very convenient.
There appears to be a groundswell of enthusiasm for its return. FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford said today: “I can certainly suggest, on behalf of the Football Association of Wales, that if England did come back into the fold for a competition we would delighted to take part ourselves.” For Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland the tournament is a no-brainer – what do they have to lose?
Wales are currently ranked 113th in the world (between Suriname and Central African Republic), Scotland are a somewhat more respectable 52nd, while Northern Ireland’s greatest hero of recent years has been David Healy.
Meanwhile England are ranked sixth in the world (according to Fifa’s latest charts), so go into any tournament as strong a favourite as when David Haye fought Audley Harrison. And like that shameful excuse for a fight, a win for the favourite will add little to their reputation.
On the flip side a defeat would be excruciatingly embarrassing. It would also coincide with the honeymoon period of a new England manager, with Fabio Capello stepping down in 2012.
Before England sign up, they should consider the very real potential of it turning into a car crash (probably featuring a Vauxhall).
Follow Simon Rice on Twitter @ twitter.com/simonriceTagged in: england, FA, football, Home Internationals, Northern Ireland, Scotland, wales
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