Watto's Euro 2004 Diary


England's tournament has begun but Paul Watson laments the injury-time reverse  


 Day 5: Monday 14 June 2004


There are powers at work in this country about which we have no knowledge.  What dark forces are responsible for our injury time demise?  What foul unspeakable horror connects Gerrard, Heskey and James?  We know...

England should have killed them off; we threw it away.  Taking off Wayne (who was awesome) and having no other outlet was a mistake.  Cole was exposed on the left; I would have taken Thompson from Celtic (or even Gareth Barry) to Portugal.  Scholes should be a reserve for Lampard. 

Later on we defended too deep, let them come onto us.  The ball came back into our defence, every time.  We lost concentration.  "It wouldn't have been zee penalty at Old Trafford" says Sylvestre as he accidentally kicks over his chair.  Lampard must now take our penalties.  There could have been two red cards, good ref, only showed yellow.  Beckham and Zidane hit the same spot — nice height for the keeper.  Barthez went one way and saves; James the goes other way. 

The free kick.  At this level any decent side will more often than not score from just outside the box.  Cracking strike from Zidane, despite the silver ball.  The way this ball behaves, I would tell our boys to keep any shot low and have a pop from 30 yards.  You might hit the keeper in the face or even score.  Nice free kick and header from Beckham and Lampard.  Blue team won, Everton player was man of the match.  Ledley King and Campbell also did well.  We will still get through. 

Switzerland v Croatia.  Poor game, poor stadium (special differently coloured painted seats so you can't tell it was actually empty, too many fans miles from the pitch for such a small capacity), poor ref and two poor teams.  I think we will still get through.  Prso scored all those champion's league goals — how?  Radzinki's mate Moreno huffed, puffed and dived but to no avail.  Yakin or Frei look as though they could score.  I thought Henchoz should have been sent off. 

Trouble in Croydon, Birmingham and Boston?  Nothing else to do there.

Not long to go now...  The five-day forecast says it's 34 C in Faro.  Must e-mail Uefa about the Russia v Greece ticket.  Get some Euros.  Think about packing.  It is my dad's birthday, will go and see him.  Took me to my first games.  Thanks dad.

Tonight: Group C.  The Italians have so much class, I think they will beat Denmark, especially as Mad Dog is not playing.  If Moysey could find and pay for someone to play with him, I think he and we would improve.  Toby's team should beat Bulgaria.  Toby is an enigma.  He is only 24 and has played 35 times for one of the form teams in Europe.  We don't really see it when he plays for us.

My story continues...

Italy v Sweden, Holland v Latvia and Croatia v Engerland.  They have moved the England match for me, it should have been France v the Swiss.  Dear God, thank you for moving the match, please don't let us be thrown out before this match.  Yes, yes yes yes yes yeeeeeees.  Fans look to courts as Euro 2004 switches games but not tickets - writes Vivek Chaudhary of the Guardian, Saturday December 6, 2003.  Sem (no) problem, I have faith in Euro justice.  The case won't start before June.  Rooney's season gets going.

February 5th, I get a job interview.  Not until the 16th though.  7th we play Man U.  Stefan comes over for the game; next day we go to Man City v Birmingham.  He is very nice, says the 3-4 was a crap game.  Takes pictures of plastic Ronaldo for his Portuguese relatives.  City of Manchester stadium, OK.  Just one problem, a large proportion of the seats are miles away from the pitch.  Shouldn't happen when the capacity is 48,000. 

February 16th interview in Chester. I am early.  I meet Nick - we worked together at the Royal Liver.  Er, yes I am here for an interview at 16:00.  Are you sure?  No I'm here for 16:00 protests Nick.  I argue with the receptionist and anyone who happens to be passing by.  Just at the right moment I present exhibit 'A', a print out of the interview e.mail.  Why does one argue most, when one is in the wrong?  Please present yourself at 15:00 on 16th.  Oops, so that is where I got the 16 from.  I get the contract, will finish on 11th June.  Perfect.  Eight working days later the project is scrapped.  Four working days after that I am given 30 days (notice).  Thirty working days later I am free, but a pauper.  I have not really made enough money, but I can probably get to Portugal.  Shall I drive ?

April.  I cannot afford to go.  The flights are full, it is £600 each for a package in the Algarve, £29 for an infant.  DWP condescend to pay me 20p every two weeks.  We (Everton) finish the season badly. 

April 29th, I get a letter from the bank, oh dear.  Its OK, it is from Legal and General who do me for my mortgage, they want to know my new address.  I ring them up, they have had the wrong address for the last 15 years.  No apology, they see it as my mistake. 

I try Teletext — we are going.  £341 for me, my wife and baby self catering in the Algarve.  What about the floor in the sitting room, do you care about our child?  It is six days before my wife starts speaking to me again.  Just two main problems.  Braga and Porto are miles from Faro.  Where are they going to put us?  For a few days we will stay with Stefan's step father (he means father-in-law) in old Lisboa.  Our room is under the roof, the roof might get a bit hot after 16 hours of 40 degree sunshine.  We'll buy a fan. Otherwise things are looking up.  Work in Chester paid off some debts, house prices have gone up where I live, no more negative equity.  I am going to Euro 2004.

Paul Watson


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