Over the past couple of days my interest in a certain topic of debate has been reinvigorated. With Rovers winning on Saturday and the ridiculous amount of England player withdrawals for Wednesday's friendly with Holland, the 'club or coutry' debate has been highlighted once again and it's one I'm particularly interested in. Obviously, after every Rovers victory I'm absolutely delighted and there's no better feeling - it's what football is all about for me. In contrast to that, the absentees from England's international friendly this midweek made me think about how we'd fare in the Euros this summer and I was very surprised with my opinion on the subject...
I didn't care.
It's odd really, isn't it? Many football fans are incredibly patriotic and go to extreme lengths in order to support England when they play - fair play to them. I have a lot of respect for those who spend and dedicate so much time and money on watching our country in action, after all, I do the same with Rovers. But the thing that puzzles me is just how you can get so worked up about England matches. I know I can't.
It could be because I've witnessed so many abject and embarrassing performances from the so-called 'superstars' we have representing us. Equally, it could just be that I don't share much of an allegiance with international games because of how few there are in a season. Maybe it's a mixture of both. Don't get me wrong, I still support my country and would very much like to see us do well, but let's put it this way, I wouldn't be suicidal if we were to get knocked out in the group stages of the Euros in Poland and Ukraine. To be fair, I don't think many people would because as a nation we've become accustomed to failure over the past couple of decades, but I still know a number of people who would get unbelievably worked up about it. This is where I can understand the sentiments of non-football fans when they say 'It's just a game'. Obviously that's the most nonsensical thing in the world when said about domestic football because it's blatantly not just a 'game' - it's a way of life, a part of you as a person - but such is my dislike of internationals, I can fully appreciate why people don't buy in to it.
If someone was to offer me, with absolute certainty, success for England, whether it be winning the Euros or a World Cup, or success for Bristol Rovers, my answer would be instantaneous and said without an ounce of doubt. Rovers are my club, always have been, always will be, and I spend every day supporting them as they are a huge part of my life. England come around once every now and then and don't deserve as much attention as YOUR club do... in my humble opinion of course! I spend every week willing Rovers to win and praying for them to finish as champions of the league, so I would be in ecstasy whenever (if) that happened. Whilst it would be nice for England to win a trophy, I'd be happy for a while... before going back to supporting Rovers at the beginning of the next season. All roads lead back to your domestic team at the end of the day. There's no contest. Rovers success over England success all day long.
Like I said though, that's just me. Some would argue differently but it's an incredibly interesting topic of debate. So, if you've nothing to do tonight or later this week, perhaps it's something for you to have a think about if you haven't done before. Where do your true loyalties lie? Rovers (or your other domestic club), or England?