Monday, 21 June 2010

A word from our sponsor

As you may be aware, Tesco is the official supermarket of the England world cup team, though I bet you’re not aware of it if you happen to live in Scotland, Ireland or Wales. Elsewhere, the stores are festooned with tat and bunting.

Someone working for the Great Beast of retail tells me that the word’s gone out for people who fancy a bit of overtime to come in early Wednesday evening and take all the tat and bunting down: every bit of it, from deely boppers to vuvuzelas, though I suppose all those crappy t-shirts will be marked down for sale as fuel for the bonfires on which effigies of the traitor Rooney will be burned.

Every little helps. As a member of an almost invisible demographic, (heterosexual English male, not particularly interested in football), I don't normally have much to say on the subject, but one thing intrigues me - the inverse relationship between the staggering amounts of money spent by clubs in the English premiership and the performance of the national team. As an outsider, I've always assumed that the paradox was explained by the rich clubs buying in ready-made superstars from abroad, rather than spending the money on seeking out and developing home-grown talent.

The real explanation is probably more nuanced, but the graph in this blog post highlights the contrast between England's lacklustre performance and shedloads of money being spent on English football.