About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (a bad wordplay on Orwell's "double plus good" and old machismo - I'm the realest after all) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear' or 'Unripe language'), the umbrella of several literary projects in Dutch.

This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Why is this in English why everything else in Dutch? Because I want to gun for a much wider audience here. Also, my literary English isn't good enough, otherwise I would always write in English. In 2020, I released my debut novel 'Fragmentariërs' (it's written in Dutch, though who knows I may one day make an English translation).

Are you a little lost? This link will take you right back to my home page.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Let's hope football is not coming 'home'

England's having a good run at the World Cup. Its players look like a tight-knit squad of hard workers with no delusions of grandeur and with a lot of heart. But in many ways, they resemble the Germany team of 2002 and the Argentina outfit of 2014: good teams that scraped by on the tightest of margins and an iron-clad mentality, eventually found out at the finals. It would be a shame if this England would become world champions.

This segues nicely into my primary reason why I will never support England: they're just not good enough. In terms of titles, they are level with ancient imperial rivals Spain and France, and paltry in comparison to the pedigree of its former modern-day enemies Germany and Italy. Feeding off of faded glory from a title won over 50 years ago is like tabloids still digging up tired Nazi references whenever Germany or the European Union come up as topics.

Secondly, allowing the United Kingdom four different national teams is an outdated anachronism and reeks of arrogant exceptionalism only outdone by the United States, who stubbornly insist on calling football soccer and reserve the football label for a sport that requires full body armour and helmets lest people actually die on the pitch. It's no wonder American conservatives dislike football, because it doesn't come with a cheat code that makes them world contenders in it and shatters their delusions of superiority in competitions like the "World" Series where only North American sports teams compete.

Gareth Southgate seems like a decent, likable man. I'm sure he is a good manager, and he has imbued his squad with a good work mentality. But I simply cannot believe the self-delusion that's been building up in English media about this team. While lauded as a tactical master-stroke to lose to Belgium in the group phase, England struggled mightily against an impaired Colombia and then didn't exactly trounce a modest Swedish side. Croatia is battered from fighting two matches into extended time and penalty shoot-outs, and so it looks likely that England will face either France or Belgium in the finals - where they will lose spectacularly, unless they find a higher gear.

I'm not being harsh for the sake of simply hating or for wanting to be pooh-poohing English exceptionalism (though it is part of it). But, like Germany in 2002 and Argentina in 2014, they don't play very exciting football, give or take the odd match (just like those two aforementioned sides, who each had exactly one brilliant, riveting game in their runs), they faced considerably weaker opposition than their likely finals counterpart, and even if the squad itself remains modest, the media circus around it is an excercise in delusions.

So, unless the United Kingdom can manage to send one united team to the World Cup just like everyone else, instead of insisting on rotten old glory from a century ago, and unless it can manage to ditch the ghosts of victory from a time where competition was easier, and unless it can actually create an FA that is not a paltry shadow of its own Premier League, England will never get my support at major football competitions. Football's home is the world. Not England.