I’ll admit I wanted to write a blog entry today, but was really struggling to find a topic to talk about. That was until I stumbled upon this nice little story about the American Samoa national football team.
Playing since 1994, American Samoa’s claim to fame is losing by the biggest margin in footballing history when they were beaten 31-0 by Australia in 2001. Now, I don’t claim to be the biggest football ‘expert’ (unless, of course, I’m predicting the finishing table at the start of the season), nor do I even take the time to watch it at all these days (thus, my lack of predictor knowledge…), but that is one match I would have actively found the time to watch, and be genuinely interested in without having to pretend. It equates to a goal every 3 minutes or so. Even in Fifa 2012 that would be impressive.
You can’t help but let a smile spread across your face when you see that a direct quote from their coach reads as thus; “Maybe we have a chance to do something special here beyond this one game, but let’s enjoy this one right now“. That’s after they had ‘celebrated as if they had won a major championship’.
Now, I was going to continue making fun of American Samoa (let’s be honest, we were only getting started) until I took a moment to look at the latest Fifa World Rankings and saw Northern Ireland’s position on the table: 89th. We’ve fallen below Malawi (87th). We’ve fallen below Trinidad and Tobago (86th). We’ve fallen below… Antigua and Barbuda (83rd)! What happened to the days when we could beat England (2005) and Spain (2006) and Sweden (2007)? When we could realistically expect to put up a fight for World Cup qualification?
Two things happened, that’s what. First, our one goal scorer stopped scoring (Healy). Second, every single decent young player born in Northern Ireland now decide they want to play for the Republic all of a sudden. Heaven knows why. Surely it has nothing to do with the fact that they’re flying high up there in 25th spot? That they’ve just qualified for a major championship? That they’ll probably be heading to Brazil in 2014? Why in the world would anyone want to-
– actually, those are pretty good pulling points right there.
It’ll soon leave Norn Iron in a position where the only players choosing to stay with us are those that either feel sorry for the 3 or 4 squad players we have left, or get homesick easily. Wait; does that even apply in this situation? All they’re doing is crossing an invisible border created by political insecurities and an age-old British lust for power and control of the whole entire world. When they realised they couldn’t have that, they settled for Ireland. Or at least, half of it. Well, okay, a sixth.
And this, my friends, is exactly what happens when I don’t have anything meaningful to talk about.