SICK AS A PARROT! 10 reasons to mourn
Misery for fans
Even if Steve McClaren's boys didn't deserve to make it into next summer's Alpine football-fest, their failure to qualify leaves a huge football-shaped hole in the month of June. Imagine: no cast-iron reasons to go boozing after work, no nail-biting penalty shoot-outs, no egregious tabloid xenophobia, no Rooney moments of magic (or madness) and no bending it like Beckham...
Blow for the economy
Pubs, supermarkets and others fear that the nation will now draw back from an anticipated consumer splurge on everything from TVs and pizzas to replica shirts. Already, shares in Sports Direct tumbled 15 per cent yesterday, wiping millions off the company's value. The eventual cost to UK Plc has been estimated at £2bn.
Disaster for the press
They may wield some of the most vicious and destructive pens in Fleet Street, but spare a thought next summer for our football correspondents. They were looking forward to four weeks holed up in the beer kellers of Mittel Europa as they stood in judgement on the England XI. Now, like the players, they must spend more time with their families.
According to Francis Tuke of the Association of British Travel Agents, fans tend to stay at home during big tournaments, while a flurry of bookings usually ensues when England is knocked out. So while the travel industry is breathing a sigh of relief, anyone dreaming of being the only Briton on the beach next June can expect a little bit more company.
Bad luck for M&S
Stuart Rose has made some cute decisions since taking the helm at Marks & Spencer – signing up as the England team's official tailor doesn't look like one of them. M & S signed a lucrative three-year deal with the FA that would take them through Euro 2008 to the next World Cup. Let's hope the players have plenty of weddings to wear their suits to next June.
OVER THE MOON! 10 reasons to be cheerful
Boost for other sports
Forget football: 2008 could be a vintage sporting year: Andy Murray might go all the way at Wimbledon, Lewis Hamilton could do likewise in Formula 1, England's cricketers are hoping to recover their form against New Zealand and South Africa, and the Beijing Olympics could be the most spectacular ever. Who needs a bunch of overpaid footballers?
A cultural feast
Football fans who can tear themselves from such fixtures as Poland v Romania can discover a summer full of cultural delights, from the rest of the summer TV schedules to the Summer Exhibition and the Proms. Festival lovers will particularly welcome the chance to enjoy Glastonbury without secretly wishing they were back at home in front of the television.
A win for gamblers
The last World Cup brought a £1bn betting bonanza for the bookies, with patriotic punters recklessly eager to put their money where their mouths were when it comes to the national football side. All those millions can now remain in the punters' pockets – which from a social point of view must surely be considered a good thing.
Each time England play, the number of "sickies" soars, costing employers millions of pounds in lost man hours. Hungover workers achieve little on the mornings after and spend all day discussing last night's match. But not this year... Meanwhile, restaurants, nightclubs and cinemas will be glad to escape the slump they usually experience during big tournaments.
Relationship counsellors report an increase in unhappy couples making contact with them around the time of setpiece football jamborees. Male behaviour, it seems, is not at its best at such times, while women and children often feel neglected as interest in the tournament intensifies and men form packs to watch games in the pub.
No flag fatigue
The ritual re-emergence of the flag of St George each big footballing summer has made our towns and cities look like East Belfast at the height of the Troubles. This knee-jerk draping of homes, cars and vans with the environment-wrecking plastic standards has become one of the most annoying aspects of major international tournaments. It won't be missed in June 2008.
Good for schoolkids
The month-long Euro 2008 tournament comes – as such tournaments generally do – slap bang in the middle of the annual exam season. Teachers and parents alike will be breathing a sigh of relief that England have crashed out: young minds can now concentrate on their schoolwork rather than the fragility of Rooney's metatarsal.
A new manager?
Say what you like about Steve McClaren's tactics, he was bottom of the league for looks. Female fans may return in droves now the spud-faced ex-Middlesbrough boss has been booted out, and there has been excited talk of sexy, well-dressed alternatives such as Jose Mourinho or Slaven Bilic. Even Martin O'Neill, the current favourite, would be an improvement.
WAGs stay at home
There was a time when England felt ashamed of its hooligans. At the last World Cup, however, we seemed to cringe more in connection with the WAGs, the wives and girlfriends of the team's underperforming, overpaid players, who shopped until they dropped in Germany 2006. This year they'll have to content themselves with a trip to Bluewater.
The failure of the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish teams to qualify has created a rare sense of union – albeit one forged in failure. Gordon Brown, a man with good reasonto worry about the unity of the kingdom, was quick to spot the chance for a bit of national healing and lent his support to calls for an ad hoc home international series to fill the void next summer.
No lager boom
It is unlikely that many football fans will actually take the pledge, but the rivers of lager which usually flow when England play are unlikely to rise to the heights the brewers had been counting on. An immediate sign of the gloom came yesterday when shares in Walkabout sports bar owner Regent Inns fell 9 per cent on England's dismissal.
No pay-day for Baddiel
England football songs had a justifiably bad reputation until New Order re-invented the wheel in 1990 with "World In Motion". The Lightning Seeds carried on the good work with "Three Lions", with lyrics by David Baddiel and Frank Skinner. Its upbeat optimism took it to number one in 1996, and it charted again in 1998, 2002 and 2006. Don't expect to hear it sung next summer.
No camper convoys
Last year's World Cup in Germany saw thousands of England football fans set off across the continent in a convoy of new campers and motor homes ready to take advantage of their host's immaculate camping facilities as well as avoiding shelling out the euros on over-priced hotel accommodation. Next year these will be languishing in the garage.
The feel-bad factor
National morale has had much to depress it recently, from crumbling banks to disappearing personal data. Qualification for Euro 2008 would have provided a much-needed feel-good factor. Gordon Brown will recall that Jim Callaghan lost the election the year after England failed to make it to the 1978 World Cup finals – ushering in 18 years of Tory rule.Bye-bye Beckham
He has his detractors, but for a decade or more he has brought much-needed glamour to a sometimes ugly game. He even nearly rescued his beleaguered team mates on Wednesday with a deftly swerving cross for England's short-lived equaliser. Now he will live out his remaining football days as a curio in LA.Reuse content