From Nick Hornby's 1992 Fever Pitch:
A critical faculty is a terrible thing. When I was eleven there were no bad films, just films that I didn't want to see, there was no bad food, just Brussel sprouts and cabbage, and there were no bad books -- everything I read was great. Then suddenly, I woke up in the morning and all that had changed. How could my sister not hear that David Cassidy was not in the same class as Black Sabbath? Why on earth would my English teacher think that The History of Mr Polly was better than Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie? And from that moment on, enjoyment has been a much more elusive quality.
But in 1969, as far as I was concerned, there was no such thing as a bad England player. Why would Sir Alf pick someone who wasn't up to the job? What would be the point? I took it on trust that the eleven players who destroyed Scotland that night -- two goals each for Hurst and Peters, Colin Stein replying for the Scots -- were the best in the country. (Sir Alf had ignored everyone from Arsenal, which simply confirmed that he knew what he was doing.) And anyway the absence of any live football on television meant that we often didn't know who was much good or not: the highlights merely showed good players scoring goals, rather than bad players missing them.
By the early seventies I had become an Englishman -- that is to say, I hated England just as much as half my compatriots seemed to do. I was alienated by the manager's ignorance, prejudice and fear, positive that my own choices would destroy any team in the world, and I had a deep antipathy towards players from Tottenham, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester United. I began to squirm when watching England games on TV, and to feel, as many of us feel, that I had no connection whatsoever with what I saw; I might as well have been Welsh, or Scottish, or Dutch. Is it like this everywhere?
Tags: Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch