I was originally against expanding the European Championship. I thought bringing in “small” (in footballing terms, I intend no disrespect) countries would lead to a bloated, overlong tournament. I was right wasn’t I? Having 16 qualifiers from 24 led to stultifying games where the object was not to lose, rather than to play scintillating football, and an extra round that really wasn’t necessary, except for the money merchants and TV companies.
This is turning into one of the great modern stories: how a plucky little nation, scorned by the rest of Europe, lost to Iceland in Euro 16.
— George Caulkin (@CaulkinTheTimes) June 27, 2016
Bravo George Caulkin, self-described ‘chronicler of misery for The Times (North East football, mainly)’, for that clever piece of gallows humour tweeting. And now over to Pete Sixsmith, our own chronicler of doom punctuated by the odd shaft of light. Watching England was indeed like watching Sunderland for the first 30 games of most seasons. Sixer rises from his sick bed after a week of pain and discomfort to carry out his own Ofsted inspection ..