The Muffled Drum

The Tao of Captain Darling

"Well, Darling"

"Well, Darling" © BBC. All rights reserved. Fair Use exempt.

Well, Darling.

No other interational team can, honestly, claim that they too have suffered such unfortunate cruelty at the hands of football's fickle gods. If supporting England had a brand, it would be "Get ready to have your heart stomped on".

And yet, we never leave.

We know we should know better. We know that it's the hope that kills you, Gary. We know. We know, we know. And yet even so, next time, we'll still dream. And maybe, we'll cry. But, we'll never leave.

We are like a puppy, watching wide-eyed and waggy-tailed, as our feckless owner drives away; unsure when, or if, they'll ever come back home.

History will record Sunday night as a gallant loss. Hope and courage, punctured and gradually deflated, by the seemingly inevitable. The cruellest of all possible curses. Spoken of only in hushed, reverential tones. Recorded in ultra high definition. Never to be rewatched or repeated.

As Messrs Auden/Curtis (Richard, not Ian), might've put it:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the trophy, let the supporters mourn.

But, is it that?

Today shouldn't be a wake. It's not an end. It's a beginning. We're not just the plucky, nearly-men anymore. Now (Gawd 'elp us), we have a new problem. We're, *gulp*, actually good.

Of course, if you're young enough to be either, nostalgic for flip phones, JT and myspace or to have no idea what any of those things even are; none of this will make sense to you. Winning isn't weird for you. This is, just, normal. Well, congrats. I'm happy for you and your generation.

But, do me a favour, will you? Don't dwell on what once was or what might've been. Don't let the past define you or your team. That really hasn't worked out too well for us. Stand up. Be proud. Make change happen.

Still, football. 's only a game, innit?


Come on in, look around