Luke Blackall: This Euros, I'll be an armchair general rather than a barstool tactician
Man About Town: I find it hard to muster up the faux camaraderie with the faux fans and the face painters
The European Football Championships are meant to be a good time to go out, as every public house with a television tries to lure you in with a combination of cold beer and warm celebration.
Now I love football and have a season ticket at my boyhood club, but you won't catch me down the pub for this Sunday's England match. The beer advert on the radio, which implores fans not to be "an armchair general" and to get down the pub, trotting out that cliché of what young men nowadays should be doing, typifyies my dislike for pub sports.
There was a time when watching a game in my local was practically essential. I didn't have a television when I first went to university and when the house I lived in did get one, it was so small, we might as well have been watching the game from the window of an aeroplane.
But it's different now. Almost everyone has a TV and most of them have comfortable-sized flatscreens. While the ones at the pub might still be bigger, they're not usually up high enough to prevent the compulsory tall person in front from blocking your view. In the squashed and sweaty bars, I find it hard to muster up the faux camaraderie with the faux fans and the face painters. And then there are the barstool tacticians, shouting substitution and formation suggestions to the TV. They are the ones who make the dull ex-pros in obscene shirts on Match of the Day sound like the greatest preacher you ever heard.
You see, if I can't be at the game, I'll choose to be an armchair general than a barstool tactician every time. That's not to say I won't be supporting the England team, however. Over recent years I have grown tired of supporting a bunch of odious players who seemed to resent losing their summer holidays, being ordered around by a mercenary manager.
But this year has seen a change. A couple of the old guard remain, but as a whole they seem a more humble, enthusiastic bunch with an amiable and hard-working manager. And without the media hype and the glut of rubbish songs that drive us all the way to the semi-finals, the general mood seems better.
Despite that, this tournament, I'm doing my supporting from a sofa, rather than a bar. Besides, from a superstitious fan point of view, it works too. I have been at home for the past two games, and England have done pretty well. What if I went out and it all went wrong?
- 1 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 2 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Spiritual leader allegedly manipulated 400 men into removing testicles to be 'closer to God'
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Spiritual leader allegedly manipulated 400 men into removing testicles to be 'closer to God'
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...
£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...