I had been secretly and sadly proud of holding my own in the ILX Premiership Predictions League, until I realised that my lower-mid table place is in fact the worst of anyone who’s joined in all four rounds. Despite nodding heartily along to Dave’s article on football fandom I still feel utterly unqualified for talking about or even thinking about football. On Saturday I was watching the England game with everyone else and it struck me for the thousandth time how much quicker everyone else’s reactions were; if you watch enough football (and I’ve watched a comparative fraction) you pick up the ability to watch it with a lazy, chatty, half-concentration which can snap to attentive vocal action as soon as something interesting happens. I on the other hand have to give the screen my full attention to keep any grip on the game at all.

Even then I feel pretty dim. Rooney seemed to be having a rotten time of it, he kept passing to nobody or to the other side; Lampard on the other hand looked alright, nothing awful happened after he’d got the ball. He of course got substituted and Rooney went on to get the first goal. But my perceptions of the game hadn’t been ‘wrong’ – it was just that my opinions of the play were so nascent and fragile that they crumbled as soon as a pundit (on-screen or in-pub) opened his mouth. The legacy of being picked last for games is that even though I like football now I’m still a terrified ten-year-old when it comes to squeaking up about it. If TMFD does me any good in this regard I’ll be extremely grateful to it.