While the finger-pointing is in full steam following England’s inauspicious showing in Brazil, the Guardian’s Barney Ronay won’t hear of making the national team’s stars apologize to their long-suffering fans. “It is we – the public, empowered component parts of a society that continues to produce game but under-skilled footballers – who should be apologising, both to the players and to each other,” argues Ronay. “To demand an apology for this from the current group of players seems a bit like raising a child without teaching it to cook and then demanding that child hurl itself at our feet in contrition at the age of 18 for being unable to bake the perfect soufflé.”
Quite frankly there is a decent case for doing it properly, for the government to step in and organise special camps in parks and open spaces where members of the public can queue to file past Fraser Forster and Gary Cahill to apologise personally for the playing field sales, for the lack of proper public facilities, the absence of artificial pitches, all enacted by successive local and national governments. Lads, Roy – we’re sorry. This is, in part, why you aren’t better at all this.
Perhaps a million-signature petition could be delivered to Jack Wilshere’s house apologising for the disorientating effects of early overexposure, from too much concussive big-game football, a gruelling celebrity culture, to vast windfalls of disorientating lucre offered at an early age.
Maybe Gary Barlow could record a charity song to raise money for a memorial in Maidstone town centre apologising to Chris Smalling for all those people – yes, us – who used to yell on the touchline and tell him to get rid and who applauded whenever he sent it long into the channels because big, son, big, it’s got to go big.