A Travellerspoint blog

Doolin - Julia's Redemption & the Camino Barista

A few days ago I met Julia, an American on holiday in Ireland, who regaled me with her life story in about 25 minutes flat. Julia is a doyenne of a proudly Democratic Party supporting family, who now makes ends meet by selling hunters to Virginia blue bloods and playing polo at weekends. Whilst I have no problem per se with what she does, I'm not sure that playing polo is a way of engaging with her inner ghetto child. Detroit has declared bankruptcy recently, and I don't remember any talk of selling off their underused polo fields or their stable of thoroughbred hunters to balance the books.


Balance has been restored via Christine from Boston and Mike from Pittsburgh, home of the Steelers and the slightly more camp, Penguins hockey team.

Both have been travelling for several months, Christine is on her last few days and Mike plans to keep going.

I was chatting to Christine who readily admitted that some of her compadres can be at the high end of intolerable once they flee the shackles of home; but she feels it's part of a democratic desperation to be liked, the need to put the US world view and a genuine ignorance of the personal barriers the vast amount of Europeans erect, before we get to know someone.

Mike has been walking throughout Europe and is heading onto Asia. Likewise, he accepts some of the 'failings' of Americans on the road, but is pretty laid back about things. However, he will bend his knee to no man concerning the superiority of the US microbrewery business. He's also just finished walking the Camino de Compostela, where he attained a reputation for brewing coffee en route, hence the moniker, 'The Camino Barista'. He's as mellow a person as you're likely to meet, and he puts part of this down to his experiences on the Camino.

I generally steer clear of cliché ridden stereotyping, but sometimes its simply too true to ignore (or not have a little fun with!). But to Americans like Christine and Mike, wherever you maybe, I salute you!!

Posted by johnward 05:36 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Hobbity Coda: Elvish has finally left the building!

A very brief follow up to ''All that wander are not lost''.

My LOTR expert visited Lisdoonvarna where the bossman of the Burren Tolkien Appreciation Society has a business. Apparently he has an Elvish greeting over the door, which, when translated by said visiting expert, turns out to be gibberish - no surprise there I hear you say. What I find really concerning, is that the only Englishman I've met on this trip, fluent in any other language, happens to be fluent in a pretend one.

I asked him how his Klingon was - ''I don't like Star Trek'' he replied.

Posted by johnward 07:28 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

''Not all that wander are lost''

''Not all that wander are lost'' so spake a character in Lord of The Rings apparently - Legoland or Ginseng the Grey probably. I was curious why it was posted all over the hostel, but it was all cleared up by a chap from Northampton, who confirmed it was a quote from the aforementioned LOTR.

Why this diversion into probably the most overhyped book since the Bible (excepting any book by Dan Brown)? Well, that is also to be found on the hostel wall in the shape of a poster promoting the inaugural Tolkien Festival by the Burren Tolkien Society, examining via

a week full of events, film screenings, writers workshops, lectures, outdoor activities, networking and a video clip competition

, the influence of the Burren on the work of Tolkien (but thankfully, not Dan Brown).

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I was blissfully unaware of the role of the Irish landscape in Tolkien's work, and in fairness, my life hasn't been appreciably enriched by this new knowledge, but Tolkien did spend a lot of time in Galway and the Burren and I'm fairly sure the clincher for Ringers is the fact that the Burren is home to the largest cave system in Ireland, the entrance of which lies about four miles from Gregans Castle. It comprises 15 kilometres of underground passages. The entrance is called Poll na Colm (the hole of Gollum or Poll nGollum, translated from the Irish as ‘the hole of Colm’. So, you pays your money and you takes your choice.

There are talks and seminars and

...a major opportunity for Tolkien fans to meet and share their passions

and one of these seminars will argue that Tolkien was a writer primarily concerned with the defining issues of the twentieth century: an age that bore witness to humanity’s most horrific wars, the rise of the machine and a systematic assault on the green places of the world. The paper argues that all of this is observable in the arc of Tolkien’s fiction and as such he was a writer whose work is a validant vital mirroring of the challenges of the contemporary world

. Whilst I'm unsure what 'validant' means I do know that LOTR has talking, marching and warlike trees playing a major part in a battle.

I ran my indifference/dislike of LOTR passed my new friend from Northampton, but met something of a stony silence. The Elvish on his t shirt should have given away what he thought of JRR!

Imagine my distress when I found out that the festival was over two months ago. Ah well.

Posted by johnward 08:51 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Doolin - ''Let's call her Julia, as that's her name.''

It's raining and I was in search of a quiet pint. It wasn't going to happen; the tour buses were in, the bar was rammed, the staff were rushed and the till refused to work.

Eventually the madness stopped and the bar emptied. Peace and a chance to find out why the Irish Independent thought it newsworthy to devote six pages to the defection of Pat Kenny from RTE to a rival. I would have thought the 2m euro salary answered that question.

Then Julia''from DC'' appeared and asked if the stool next to me was free. It's not often that the phrase ''I did my degree in political science'' (calling it a science doesn't make it more important) figures in the first 60 seconds of a conversation followed by '' I interned for two years on the Hill, or ''I campaigned on the ground for Obama through the Appalachian states'', or '' I speak fluent Spanish and am an advocate for Hispanic rights'' , or '' I met Hillary a bunch of times. i didn't like her. Dad was disappointed I didn't campaign for her'' or ''My dissertation was on why Ayrabs and democracy don't mix'' (I paraphrase as the real title was boringly forgetable), or ''8 years and a political science degree later I'm disillusioned'' or ''I'm not sure that I'm better off knowing as much as I do.''

it seems as if I'd stumbled in with a someone who read West Wing scripts for fun.

As Julia's dad had cut off her allowance as she hit her mid 20's she needed to make a living. Naturally she loves horses, so now sells Hunters to the filthy rich of Virginia and plays polo at the weekend, which she assure me is ''one long party.'' I tell her I believe her. She told me how desperate she is to move to Ireland but simply can't give up her horses or her Spanish vaqueros, (the Hispanic economy within the US is worth $60bn per year in case your'e interested). Life can be full of difficult choices for professional Democrats it seems.

She then drops the bombshell that she also has some sort of qualification in Large Animal Management and if she could somehow make that and the political science degree work together, life would be simply peachey. I suggest that she start an Animal Farm theme park. To my surprise and to her credit, she got it. I make my excuses and leave.

Posted by johnward 06:49 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

''We're all in this together''

Apparently corners have been turned; according to some pundits. Ireland is on the road to some sort of recovery and the rest of Europe can't wait to hear that Tiger roar again. I'm not so sure.

I was listening to Pat Kenny on RTE 1 the other day and there were four stories of why Ireland is still stuck in the mire.

A businesswoman from Gort in Galway phoned in. She owns a cafe and employs 10 or so people. She made it very clear that she pays her business rates and is happy to do so, but she expects the council to keep their end of the bargain up. The pavement outside her business is so damaged, it prevents people from using her business. She put some decking down but had to remove it after complaints. She had fallen foul of by laws and knew it, but she is desperate to keep the business going.

She replaced the decking with tables and chairs and once again the council told her she'd have to move them. She's also received a court summons and the council charge business' 100 euros + for each table and chair outside premises.

A woman lost her job after 19 years, that was three years ago. She had mortgage protection for 12 months and after that she arranged with the bank for two 6 month periods of interest only payments on the mortgage. She got a job that lasted 10 months, lost the job and was back to square one.

She has now received a letter from her back informing her they will no longer extend any repayment holiday and she must now sell the house to repay the bank. She has never missed a scheduled payment and she isn't in negative equity. The house is valued at 175,000 euros and she owes the bank 109.000 euros.

A businessman phoned in from Wexford. The local council have increased his business rates by 30% based on 2011 evaluations and not taking into account that his business has flatlined in the intervening two years. He employs over 20 people and is now looking at shorter hours and possible redundancies.

Finally, a Meath man's daughter goes to college in 2006. Rather than pay rent, the family decide to buy a house in Dundalk for her to live in and to rent out for the rest of the year. The house cost 195,000 euros. Seven years on, he has lost his job and is on long term disability, the rental market has gone tits up and the house is now worth 95,000 euros. The council wants their outstanding Second House tax of 1,100 euros from him, which he simply hasn't got and refuse to take any payment on a weekly or monthly basis, which he's more than happy to do. He is presently incurring a late payment charge of 20 euros per month.

And lest anyone think that politicians are immune from the economic maelstrom, the present government have at least two ministers who owe a combined amount of over 3 million euros to various banks. It also has to be said, when they tried to get themselves sorted out, they seemed to find it a lot easier to get the ear of a listening bank.

Posted by johnward 07:21 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Doolin - ''Who'll stop the rain''

Many years ago I travelled through India, Pakistan, China and Sri Lanka for a year. There were no ipods, I'm not even sure there were Walkmans, but there were certainly cassette players and I had two tapes - one was Frank Sinatra's Greatest Hits and the second was the Best of Credence Clearwater Revival.

All this popped back into my head this morning as I waded my way towards north Clare. There have been some tremendous downpours in the past 48 hours, tents have collapsed, children have whinged and whined and minds have buckled. Hospital roofs have collapsed in Donegal and Dublin, giant squids have been tossed ashore in Wexford and pirate ships have been taken to the bottom by who knows what.

I on the other hand pulled off the road until God turned off the washing machine. And through it all the words of John Fogarty ebbed and flowed through my head:

Long as I remember the rain been comin' down
Clouds of mystery pourin' confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages tryin' to find the sun.
And I wonder still I wonder who'll stop the rain.

Posted by johnward 06:48 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Purecamping, Clare Style

I've just spent 5 days purecamping in the backroads of Clare, somewhere between Kilrush and Kilkee (if you want precise details, do what I did, find them yourselves). The brainchild of Kevin and Trea, Purecamping is set in a few acres of land with all the facilities anyone would need, including fearsome solar showers, but without all the fancy dannery that seems to come with sites these days. There are no cars allowed on site, but wheelbarrows are provided to get your gear from car to tent. You can rent a bell tent or sleep in your own; you can camp near the shower blocks or wild camp in the woodland Kevin has planted overlooking the Shannon estuary.

You need to bring your own food as both Kilkee and Kilrush are a distance away and if (when) it rains (you can sit in wondrous sunshine and watch the rain scoot in from north Kerry), there is a vast geodesic tent for the kids. It reminded me of those radar thingys at Fylingdales, but a lot less sinister.

Trea is a yoga teacher who runs classes throughout the year and Kevin is one of those guys who you feel can turn his hand to anything, from landing a shark to emergency surgery if required. He's originally from Cork, so a tip towards their GAA prowess wouldn't go amiss. It's one of those places that people seem to return to, year after year.

I loved it. One caveat: anybody who names their children Betsy and Monty should not be allowed on site. I fear that is probably illegal though.

Posted by johnward 08:22 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Dingle - Hostel California

Moving on is often the best thing about travel; sometimes it's also the hardest, especially if the place and the people gel and mesh.

The Rainbow Hostel, on the outskirts of Dingle is such a place. You can either rent a private room, a dorm bed or camp. There is the mother of all kitchens and top quality shower and toilet blocks.

But what makes a place memorable is the people. Perhaps I just struck lucky but it will be a long time before a forget the fusion of Irish and Flemish folk and the way Dermot could lead a crowd of Robin from Saskatchewan on uillean pipes and four German teenagers on the words to The Wild Rover, and I'm fairly sure Damien's rendition of an acoustic version of Psycho Killer will never be bettered.

Like most people, I stayed longer than expected, by about 8 days, but I was so reminded of the last verse of Hotel California -

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
"Relax, " said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! "

(Now I know that the Eagles can be contrary so and so's,but I'm sure they won't object too strongly!!)

Posted by johnward 03:19 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Dingle - The Boss is the boss - apparently

Springsteen has been rocking Ireland this week, something he has been doing since 1985. So far, so normal but today there is something extra in the air.

I was taking a spin to Annascaul to pay my respects to Tom Crean, Antarctic explorer extrarordinaire and there was a discussion on the radio about the skills needed to lead a business in the recession hit, Europe controlled Ireland. There were a couple of business types and psychiatrists/psychologists waxing lyrical, when one of them said that Springsteen is the perfect example for budding entrepreneurs and slack jawed mid managers to follow.

Apparently Bruce knows his audience inside out, upside down etc. (For audience, read customers for the purpose of Bruce as Ireland's modern day saviour); he knows how to manage and deliver expectations and he can react to the unexpected, and it's this last skill that managers need to appear charismatic and inspirational to an otherwise downtrodden and fearful workforce.

Springsteen for President say I!

As a matter of interest, the only other international politician I know of that was regularly referred to as THE BOSS was Joseph Stalin....

Posted by johnward 03:05 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Dingle - The times, they ain't a'changin' (any time soon)

Daylight seems to last an inordinately long time here - it's light before 5am and you can still read at 11pm. If anything, there's too much of the stuff.

Last week, Independent TD, Tommy Broughan from Dublin, tried to introduce a bill that would move the clocks on permanently by 1 hour, which would essentially mean that Ireland would remain on summer time during the winter aka Double Summer Time.

Tommy outlined the benefits of this move: people would be encouraged to take more exercise, illnesses like SAD would be reduced, there would be lower energy bills, lower crime rates and apparently, a reduction in benefit tourism (?).

It would also mean that the Republic would be 1 hour ahead of the rest of the British Isles during summer and 2 hours during the winter. This is something that the gloriously and appropriately named Justice Minister, Alan Shatter pointed out. His main concern seemed to be that sunrise in Sligo on Christmas Day 2014 would be just before 10am and sunset an Midsummers Day would be at 11.12pm.

In 1923 the Irish Parliament was having the same discussion. There was much more politics involved as many TD's and ministers believed that Ireland would never be truly free until Greenwich Mean Time was abolished and the Free State could go it alone. At various times ( pun intended) Ireland had God's Time, British Time, Wat Time, and Dublin Mean Time.

GMT came to Ireland in 1916 as the British government combated the German war effort and with that came British Summer Time (putting the clocks forward). After the war and Independence Irish politicians had to make a decision. When the North went forward by an hour, would the Free State follow suit?

Rural TD's said that farmers followed God's Time, so all this new fangled timeology was wasted on them. In the Saeanad, The Irish upper house, Senator Maurice Moore said that the proper name of the bill should be The Lazy Man's Delusion Bill and another Senator, Richard Butler said that voting for BST was patently un Irish and therefore unpatriotic.

The Dail also had it's fair share of cranks - Walter Cole said that:

No self respecting cow can expect to be milked at 2.30 in the morning...in the west of Ireland cattle that in the ordinary course would be milked at 4.30am would now be milked at 2.30. The milk supply of the country is a very important matter.

Common sense and common time prevailed. To my knowledge, nobody asked the cows in the west of Ireland what they thought.

Posted by johnward 07:06 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Beara Peninsula, Co. Cork 'Black & Tan Bastards'

When my mum first came to England in the 1950's, she got a job in a Lyons Corner House. These were a lot grander than the name might imply and often had a doorman employed to, open doors I assume. At mum's place, said doorman was ex British army and ex Black and Tan and she said they never had a cross word (if you want to know what a Black and Tan was, watch Ken Loach's The Wind That Shook the Barley or read a history book. Or for my Egyptian readers, ask Dave Hunt).

A few days ago, I was in Clonakilty Co Cork, which happens to be the birthplace of Michael Collins (if you want to know who Michael Collins was, watch Neil Jordan's movie etc. etc.).

It would be both churlish and economically suicidal to have Collins as a local boy and not make a bob or two out of it. The result is the Michael Collins Centre, which I have to say I enjoyed enormously, although I did discover that the West Cork accent at speed is the acoustic version of trying to eat mercury with a fork.

It's fair to say that the Black and Tans played a part in Collins' life and this was portrayed to good effect.

Which brings me to a property auction in Dublin last week. The auction company, Allsop Space, has held a dozen or so of these sales and expected this one to be no different. However, There was protest afoot. On their way to demonstrate outside the hq of Anglo Irish Bank (think RBS but a thousand times worse), protesters saw the sale advertised and transferred their anger in a new direction. The protesters viewed the auction as a fire sale of property, fast tracked onto the market by heartless banks, closing down business' and putting people on the streets. It didn't help that Allsop Space is a British company, and when a pub in Co Longford was about to go under the hammer it all kicked off.

It started as heckling (from the back probably); one of the protesters was a man called Jerry Beades who the Irish Independent described as

a developer who is currently being pursued by Ulster Bank for 3.5m euros in unpaid loans and who is a close friend of disgraced Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Amongst the witty asides from the floor was ''Go Home'', ''English scum out'' and my particular favourite '' Black and Tan Bastards''. It's not often that an auctioneer is referred to as a member of a notorious para military organisation, known for murder and mayhem, but them's the times we live in.

The whole thing was given a little class and polish when someone delivered the words of Charles Stewart Parnell, who, when in Ennis in 1880, called for the boycott of anyone who takes a farm from which another had been evicted.

You must shun him in the streets of the town, you must shun him in the shop, you must shun him in the fairgreen and in the marketplace and even in the place of worship.

You simply don't get this level of fun on Flog It!

Whilst all this brouhaha was occurring, the gardai were called, and from what I can make out, did a lot of standing around. The auction was eventually cancelled, citing health and safety considerations.

Footnote: It turns out that Allsop Space is partly owned by an Irish company. Delicious!

Posted by johnward 08:36 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Beara Peninsula, Co Cork - Where's the Confidence Genie?

If it wasn't for the truly wondrous weather we're having here, as well as the resultant drownings, ongoing Anglo Irish tape revelations, 'Lapgate' in the Dail, pro lifers and pro choicers hurling insults at each other, a heinous double murder in Castlebar, the lowlifes that drop litter and the new found respect\dislike of Enda Kenny, the only thing to talk about would be the economy.

The good weather has made people forget that the country, economically speaking is still in the toilet. Last week's Irish Times Business supplement, page 2 carried these headlines:

Second runway at Dublin to be deferred

Dublin Airport Authority has put back any developments until 2019 at least, due to a drop in passenger numbers. Instead, they will now employ consultants to tell them what they should do in the interim. When was the last time the use of consultants saved any public body a penny?

Housebuilding expected to hit a record low this year

In 2012, Ireland built 8,500 new homes (and I bet most of them were those shit bungalows), the lowest figure since records began in 1970. 2013 is expected to be worse.

Not unsurprisingly,

Sharp decline in employment rate in construction sector

Equally unsurprisingly

New Zealand firm seeks Irish recruits: Jobs in the energy, health and construction sectors will be on offer to Irish workers at an expo this week

This is the third time in just eight months that New Zealand companies have rocked up looking for workers.

However, the Irish Business and Employer's Confederation are having none of this doom and gloom. They insist that the economy turned the corner ages ago but that

the confidence genie is refusing to come out of the bottle


Apparently earnings are up, spending power is up, but all those euros are being used for really boring stuff like paying of debts and not what they were designed for - SPENDING!!

A chap called Danny McCoy is Chief Exec of the IBEC and thinks what the government needs to be doing is getting tax revenue from increased economic activity and not through more tax rates or introducing something he describes as

sneaky stuff


I have become a self appointed guardian, watching over all the sneaky stuff!

Posted by johnward 08:07 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Youghall, Co Cork -

What's the point in being leader if you can't make your own football team champions?

Irish politics is a brutal, no holds barred, winner take all blood sport.

Enda Kenny, the present Taoiseach, has had a week to remember. Following an internal rebellion over a piece of primary legislation by four Fine Gael TD's, Kenny acted with a hitherto unknown and speedy ruthlessness by essentially dumping the TD's from the party and refusing to have them stand under the Fine Gael banner at any future election.

This got the media into a frenzy that hovered somewhere between admiration and contempt and nobody is quite sure where all this will end.

Kenny is from Mayo in the west of Ireland and like the vast majority of Mayo people he can barely remember the last time Mayo won the All Ireland Final. It actually happened 60 or so years ago and since then Mayo have become the nearly men of Irish football. They always seem to promise more than they can deliver, they are often a pre season favourite and if they do get to the final, they seem to implode at the final asking.

Enter stage left, one Brian Hunt. I first read about Brian in The Irish Times yesterday and I so want the story to be true. Essentially, Brian has been on secondment to the Department of the Taoiseach for the duration of Ireland's presidency of the EU, which has now come to an end. As a parting gift, he has allegedly drafted something called The Sam Maguire Cup (Seisin Reassignment) Bill 2013, which will allow Enda, if Mayo reaches the final and need arises, to change the score to reflect a Mayo win, so ending six decades of underachievement and hurt. To add insult to injury, the Bill also provides for a 'period of hospitality' to be funded 'by the boundless generosity of the Kerry County Board'.

Genius! And a much better resolution than a Qatari oligarch taking over the team.

Posted by johnward 02:32 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Fethard, Co Wexford - In BOD We No Longer Trust

There have been two major talking points in Ireland over the past couple of days and neither of them is the army takeover in Egypt.

The first is the dropping of Ireland's sporting icon, Brian O'Driscoll for the final Lions test in Australia. BOD was considered a shoe in for the captaincy but he hasn't even made the bench. Thousand of words have already been written, countless opinions courted and hours of radio phone ins have been filled, with the subject, mostly questioning the sanity of the Lions coach, Warren Gatland. So far, nobody seems to have come up with a rational explanation for the decision. If the Lions win, Gatland will be hailed as a tactical and strategic genius; if the Lions lose...

Throughout, BOD has conducted himself with his customary dignity, talking about the team and how he simply wants to help with the preparation for the match. This is BOD's fourth Lion's tour and there is definitely a feeling of unfinished business and it seems that that is the way it is going to stay.

From BOD to God.. Following the tragic and avoidable death last year in a Galway hospital of Sarita Halappanavar, the government brought forward a piece of legislation called The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. This would allow an abortion only under the most strictly controlled circumstances - the mother had to be considered suicidal before an abortion could be considered. And to be considered suicidal, the woman would be subject to a battery of tests by a panel of psychiatrists. As a sop to the Bill's opponents, one of the penalties of undergoing an illegal abortion in the Republic would be a 14 year prison sentence for the mother, although the minister steering the legislation through the Dail has said he cannot foresee that sentence ever being handed down!

The ruling Fine Gael party, led by Enda Kenny, made it very clear that this was to a rigorously enforced whipped vote and there would be dire consequences for any within the party who refused to toe the line. Fianna Fail made it a free vote as they knew that they could not deliver without splitting the party. Sinn Fein applied the whip and sundry others voted as consciences dictated. The upshot was that four FG TD's voted against and within minutes had the whip withdrawn and to all intents and purposed were expelled from the party.. The majority of FF voted against the bill and one SF TD voted against and also lost the party whip.

The bill passed easily, but the consequences for the government in particular are potentially very damaging. Despite falling church attendance, a decline in the men joining the priesthood and continuing horror over the Catholic church's handling of the abuse scandals, it seems that the church and it's teachings continue to influence public policy making in Dublin.

Looking at the breakdown of the voting, all 18 female TD's voted for the Bill and all the opposition came from male TD's and to their shame a majority of TD's in Galway where Sarita died, voted against the Bill. Whilst in many ways, even having this discussion in Ireland is a step forward, I cannot help but feel that another generation of women will be condemned to seek abortions outside the Republic.

Posted by johnward 02:46 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

The Balkan Question

Ah, the Balkans. Better men than Roy Hodgson have come unstuck on a visit to this part of the world and whilst what happened here last night is unlikely to lead to world war, genocide, the collapse of empires and general desolation, I have to wonder what it is about the Balkans that seems to cause upset out of all proportion to its size.

Firstly, my credentials. I watched my first game of football on TV in 1966, the FA Cup final between Everton and Sheffield Wednesday. I wanted Wednesday to win as I disliked the Everton kit. Everton won, but my irrational football prejudices were established. I still dislike Everton, but that's mainly down to Leighton Baines' haircut. My first live game was Luton versus Gillingham at Kenilworth road in 1969. I can't remember the score, but my main football allegiance was also established. I'm simply a fan who has watched football for almost 50 years.

My most recent televised game was last night: England 1 Montenegro 1. And my longstanding theory about England was simply reconfirmed. Every time a major competition comes around, the media, pundits, players, management begin to insisit that this is the time that England will triumph. 1966 and all that is trotted out once again, there is talk of yet another Golden Generation and the same thing keeps happening - nothing. For years I've been convinced that the worst thing that ever happened to English football is that the team won the World Cup in 1966. Since then, and it doesn't really matter how you look at it, no England team has ever been genuine contenders.

One of the mantras that is constantly peddled, is that at international level there are no easy games. Rubbish! Of course there are and Montenegro should come into that category, but it didn't because England teams, and this one after last night's performance, seems no different, seem to think that simply turning up is enough. I couldn't believe that, when things started going wrong from the start of the second half, the English management seemed incapable of reacting and there was not one player on the field capable of turning things around.

Ye Gods, the population of Montenegro is just over 640,000 people, which puts it somewhere between Glasgow and Leeds and the Montenegrins have just a couple of players who could cut it in the Premiership (and some who didn't). If England were in the equivalent of the Footy Eurozone, the Germans would have pounced on them as a failing state and raided the players piggy banks. English football even has its fair share of rich dodgy Russian oligarchs to turn into the bogey men!

I haven't read any of the media reports today - there's no need as what I saw last night means that if you follow England, you'd better have a second favourite team ready to shout for in Rio.

Let the woe continue!

Posted by johnward 02:45 Archived in England Comments (0)

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