NEIL BONNAR: Avoid England World Cup hope or you'll go through these seven stages of fan...
Updated 12:08am Saturday 24th May 2014 in Sport
BUCKLE up for the World Cup because you are about to enter the seven stages of fan.
The emotions are going to be all over the place as we back England to go all the way only to feel like Yaya Toure on an unmarked birthday when we crash out in the group stages.
Everything was going so well before that pesky Roy Hodgson picked a load of relatively unknown kids for the national side.
We all knew where we stood. England were rubbish and we were going to fail as usual.
It’s taken the English football fan 10 or 15 years to finally come to that unpalatable realisation and we had all finally entered into acceptance.
Then what happened? Hodgson went and littered his squad with a whole bunch of guys new to the team.
Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere, Rickie Lambert, Daniel Sturridge are in.
The trouble with these players is we don’t know if they will fail.
And that can only bring hope. It’s like the Golden Generation over again.
Oh, the optimism they caused with their Beckhams, Scholeses and Gerrards. We were going to take over the world, only we didn’t.
I thought there was an unspoken pact now that prevented anyone getting the slightest bit excited or hopeful about an England team again.
Up to that recent England squad announcement everyone was sticking to the script.
Same old England, same old failure, don’t get carried away or, indeed, allow the first semblance of hope creep in.
The bar was set lower than David Moyes’ stock.
Then Hodgson goes and picks almost half a squad of bright young things.
So, from acceptance we have moved into hope. Can Lallana be the midfield maestro we’ve not had since Paul Gascoigne? Will Barkley be the powerhouse midfield juggernaut Lampard never became? Can Sterling tie full-backs in knots, and will Sturridge’s wiggly-arm goal celebration be the lasting image of the World Cup?
Of course they can’t and won’t, but the optimism is inevitable.
The next stage on the emotional rollercoaster will be shock as the losing starts. Then the pain of defeat followed by the anger at another failed campaign.
After that comes the guilt that we allowed ourselves to think it might somehow be different this time.
And finally depression as reality dawns we’ll never be any good followed by a return to acceptance as we come to terms with it.
None of that emotional carnage for me. I’m going into it thinking this lot are as bad as the last.
Hope I’m wrong though.
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