Although a TV writer and reviewer by trade, Mike Ward has written on sport for titles including FourFourTwo, the Daily Telegraph and Today. He's the author of Gullhanger, a season in the life of Brighton & Hove Albion FC, appears regularly on talkSPORT – as well as numerous other radio stations – and has co-hosted BBC Sussex's football phone-in.
What if England had not only fluked their way past Italy but achieved a similar “miracle” in both the semi-final and, gasp, the final? What if England, THIS England, this bunch whose spirit and noble intent cannot mask their woeful technical shortcomings, had somehow actually gone on to win Euro 2012?
Instead of insulting our intelligence, as has been the habit of TV sports presenters for as long as I can remember, by avoiding any reference to a rival channel’s imminent live coverage of another crucial key match, Chiles openly acknowledged that we’d all be switching over to England v Sweden.
Just like top footballers in the past used to feel obliged to have bubble perms and booze problems, almost every 21st Century footballer feels the need, it seems, to turn one of his arms into what he no doubt imagines, bless him, is a work of art.
At this level, shouldn’t experienced pundits be coming out with something jolly clever? Something that positively oozes wisdom and insight? Something that the rest of us – who, after all, should be comparative dullards when it comes to football analysis – couldn’t think for ourselves, or wouldn’t have spotted..?
I know when a televised football match is becoming crushingly dull, because I find myself paying more attention to the pitch-side adverts – especially since they’ve introduced those deeply distracting electronic hoardings, forever flicking from one ad to the next.
Early doors, the ITV boys were inevitably harking back to 1981, when Norway beat Ron Greenwood’s England 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier, and digging out that dreary old “Maggie Thatcher, your boys took a hell of a beating” thing.
One of the nice things about supporting a football club outside the Premier League is you feel you have somewhere to go. In an upward sense, I mean. Glories still to aspire to, many rungs of the ladder still to climb, huge strides still to be, erm, stridden.