Roger Alton Roger Alton

Spectator Sport | 7 June 2008

No Sky's the limit

As hard luck stories go, it might not be up there with Oliver Twist, but dammit last weekend my Sky went down. In that pathetic, fat-arsed nerdy way I had been planning the ideal weekend: bouncing happily from the climax to the 20/20 Indian Premier League, to Wasps and Leicester in the Rugby Premiership final, then the mid-point of the French Open on Eurosport, and thrumming along nicely in the background the second Test between Australia and West Indies.

So what I was left with last weekend was a rugby league quarter-final, and even my life’s not that sad, and some halfway decent racing with the effortlessly brilliant Ryan Moore steering home Major Cadeaux in a Group 3 at Haydock, despite his saddle slipping off.

Of course this weekend my telly-moored life would have been absolutely fine thanks to the far-sighted decision by the BBC and ITV to show all the European Championship matches live. Well done chaps, and please don’t be tempted to shove off Sweden v. Greece or Poland v. Austria to ITV3 or BBC3. The best news of all of course is that England aren’t there. Anyone who loves football must love the Euros. This is the purest tournament; much more fun than the World Cup — less bombastic, more compact, and no real rubbish like Costa Rica or the UAE. And, fabulously, no English fans wrecking the place, no insane jingoism on the back pages, and no endless twiddle about Lamps and Gerrard. And no bald fat blokes wielding St George’s Cross flags from every van and building site.

The BBC is running a rather naff come-on asking ‘So who will you support?’ as if the only way you can enjoy football is by being totally tribal.

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