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Dear Andorra


The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
Now, on the off chance that someone from Andorra is holidaying in Singapore and is reading this article, let me make it clear that I have nothing against your country. I've never met an Andorran, which is hardly surprising as I believe there are only about 30 of you in existence, but I'm sure that you're all lovely. I just don't see why we have to play football against you tonight.

This isn't the arrogance of an English football fan giddy on six straight wins. Goodness me, I've got more than enough experience of my country to avoid falling into that trap. I'd be aggrieved at having to play you if I was Scottish. The games are just no fun to watch whatsoever.

We all know who's going to win, it's just a question of how many goals are scored and these days it's not so many. After years of being soundly thrashed by every opponent, I can quite understand why you decided to start playing with a flat back ten. I'd do the same if I was your manager, but that doesn't make it anymore watchable. It's the same thing every time. We get the ball, look up, see all of you lined up in front of the goalkeeper, and then we're not sure what to do. Running is out of the question as there's nowhere to go. Crossing is tricky because your defenders are so big. We could stand with the ball on the halfway line, safe in the knowledge that you won't come after us, but that's not the point. Only one team is trying to win. It's like watching Bolton Wanderers.

Part of this is our fault. By now, someone should have devised a formation specifically for playing you. Someone should have countered your 10-0-0 with some kind of ultra-aggressive 1-4-5. Who knows, maybe Fabio Capello will be the man to do it, though I'd bet against it.

One of the problems you see, dear Andorran, is that my fellow England fan isn't always as friendly and rational as myself. My fellow England fan, in some cases, can get quite worked up over the idea of playing any more than ten minutes against you without scoring. He starts to froth at the mouth and then gets all worked up and swears until he goes blue in the face. The players hear it, they freeze and then nothing happens at all. Now granted, this was quite understandable when Steve McClaren was in charge and we barely tried, but when we beat you under Capello, there was actually some endeavour on display and it all went unnoticed in the midst of the impatience.

I don't see why FIFA can't take you, San Marino, the Faroe Islands, Liechtenstein and all the other minnows and have a pre-qualifying group. Don't dismiss it out of hand before you think about it. At least then you'll get to play some games against opponents of your own ability. You might even win a few and, believe me, celebrating a win is much more fun than celebrating a tight 0-3 defeat. Who knows, maybe you'll be so good that the likes of Armenia will start to load their defence against you. At least that way you'll know how we feel.