An Englishman living abroad. That's how I feel at the moment. Strictly speaking, that is what I am, ten years now living north of the border.
My nationality has never really been important to me. I like to think of myself as British, I guess, though can't get away from my Englishness (even if I take my Irish mother's genes into account).
I've never really been that good at supporting the English in sport either. I tend to go for the team I like the characters of and, all too often, that's the 'opposition'.
With the world cup looming, I'm now experiencing that 'Anyone but England' thing whenever the subject of football is broached. I become a little defensive, feel prickly, pissed off and dejected. I don't' know why exactly, but it brings out the patriot in me. I guess it's difficult to have to realise that all the people I know here who seem to accept me most of the time seem to dislike intensely the country within which I formed my ideas, that multi-cultural, multi-faceted and multi-layered place that is home. They don't seem to understand how I could possibly be offended by anti-English comments or sentiments, even if it's passed off as 'only the media' or 'only the players'.
But hey, it's a game. I'm not going to take it all that seriously anymore. No point.
Decided that I might, for the sake of argument, put together a first 11 of grit/thriller/crime writers for us Angleterrians to see how we might fare.
Lining up on the field I have:
Lee Child--Edgar Wallace--Derek Raymond--Ted Lewis
Kate Atkinson-R J Ellory--Agatha Christie-Tony Price
----------John Le Carre------Raymond Chandler-------
And as a sub, does the leg work for so many of us over at his blog, 'You Would Say That, Wouldn't You' Paul D Brazill. He'd never stop grafting for the team and who knows, in a few years he might be one of the shoe-ins for a place.
OK, I know about Chandler, but he was here for long enough, and if you were the coach you really would have to poach a few from somewhere.
I was a little disappointed when I thought about it. So many of the British writers I really enjoy are Scottish and a fair few Irish (because of my general ignorance I'd have to google the Welsh as all I can come up with is Dylan Thomas and he's a totally different sport altogether).
If the Scots were in the World Cup (writers) I'd say we'd be lucky to get a draw and that Rankin, Guthrie, Buchan, Conan Doyle, Moore (not Bobby), Banks (not Gordon) and Banks (not Gordon either), Fitzgerald, MacBride etc etc would have a fair chance of getting to the final.
That is unless they met the Americans in the early rounds.
England play the USA on Saturday.
Even if we'd nicked Chandler we'd be facing Thompson, Cain (P), Cain (J M), Hammett, Ellroy, Block, Pelecanos, Hiaasen, Price, Kaminsky, Connelly, Lansdale, Bunker, Pollock, Poe, Mosley, Bunker, Burke, Leonard, Jones...it gets embarrassing fairly quickly and without much need for thought. They have guts, flair, overview and durability. More than a Brazil, more a Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina hybrid.
Looks like it were down to writers, we'd be slaughtered, blown away, chopped up into little pieces and fed to the lions.
Good job it's down to the football then, and even with the round ball, I have a suspicion we might go down to the USA. Never mind. At least we'd be spared the sight of John Terry throttling his mates with an enormous lump of gold.
4 more years? Aye right.