Matt Chorley: Whatever it is, the over-enthusiast is right behind it

Related Topics

It is a bumper season for over-enthusiasts. Their deckchair-pocked buttocks have barely recovered from sleeping out on The Mall when along comes another jamboree of flags, snacks and trivia.

There are those who will enjoy the Euro 2012 tournament, and there are those who will be seen to enjoy it. The latter will have very little idea what is going on, but will have relentless optimism that everything – everything – to do with the tournament is fascinating, from the exact loop of touchline video advertisements to Clive Tyldesley's pronunciation of Ukrainian towns.

The figurehead for this bout of witless puppy-dog enthusiasm is our very own prime minister. David Cameron purports to be an Aston Villa fan. As do I. I'd be amazed if our collective knowledge stretched beyond the Dean Saunders and Gareth Southgate Pirelli stickers I collected at school.

Being a diehard Villa fan in no way stopped the PM punching the air at Camp David when Chelsea won the Champions League. This is not a criticism. Better to get carried away with bottled beer and Doritos than the nuclear launch codes. But sometimes he goes a bit too far.

Take his good luck message to Roy Hodgson and the England squad. "The whole country is behind you, and will be cheering you on...". But then he had to ruin it: "... hoping that you can do what no England team has done for nearly 50 years, and win an international trophy". Surely, at this point, Sir Humphrey should have stepped in and said: "Don't be daft, Prime Minister."

Still, Cameron is not alone. With a major football tournament under way, thousands of us will suddenly take an intense interest in what we'll irritatingly refer to as "association football". One minute we think John Terry makes chocolate oranges, the next, our pint of Carling is smudging our St George's face paint, as we wonder aloud if Boris Becker is still involved in the German coaching set-up.

Recent football converts are easy to spot. They are the only people wearing the new England strip. It will be tucked in, to allow swift access to their Blackberry holster. Plastic flags fluttering on car roofs are a warning sign that the occupants will wind down their window to explain the newly learned off-side rule to anyone who'll listen.

They will buy "a beer fridge". They will religiously fill out wall planners – at least until England's second game. They will collar colleagues at work urinals to discuss "the game".

They absorb facts like the commemorative Euro-sponge they picked up from the Texaco garage. There will be long, fatuous debates about tactics. There will be long, long, long fatuous debates about formations: 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1 or Diamond or Christmas Tree or Pinecone.

But you cannot fault their enthusiasm. Be happy for them. Be happy for us.

It will only last until 1 July. And then we can start swotting up on Argentina's decathlon Olympic hopefuls.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Kennedy campaign for the Lib Dems earlier this year in Bearsden  

Charles Kennedy: A brilliant man whose talents were badly needed

Baroness Williams
Nick Clegg (R) Liberal Democrat Leader and former leader Charles Kennedy MP, joined the general election campaign trail on April 8, 2010  

Charles Kennedy: The only mainstream political leader who spoke sense

Tim Farron
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific