Referee & Speaker Graham Poll Gives Us His Euro 2016 Predictions
A wise man once said, never measure your life in 20-year segments as it can lead to heightened levels of fear and persistent low mood.
Why? When you were 25, you're now 45, and when you were 45, you're now approaching retirement age. Time seems to collapse into the width of a disused Encyclopedia collection while those Enfants Terribles, sloth and regret, dance their dreadful dance on the shelf above.
But what the hell!
Was Euro 96 really 20 years ago? When Britain woke up to a Big Breakfast; The Spice Girls just wanted you to zig-a-zig-ah; in politics Labour was trading the old for the new; Oasis was inviting you to Be Here Now, and a friend of a friend kept showing off his Nokia 1610 down a pub that didn't serve food.
David Baddiel, Frank Skinner with the Lightning Seeds had the second best England football song (one does not need to ask who is in first place) with Three Lions, and Great Britain was in party mode. Could it be this year; could Eng-er-land go all the way? It turned out football; that was apparently on its way home, took a wrong turn east, took a ferry to Germany, and was never seen again.
There has of course been other Euros in the meantime, but parallel universes seem to be converging through some trickery of space and time. Football isn't necessarily coming home, but it's spending a month at a campsite in France and 20 years is a solid, well-rounded number that demands reflection, however, terrible it may be.
Although officially refereeing at the time, Graham Poll did not referee a Euro match until 2000. Considered to be the best British ref's from the last 25 years Graham now speaks to audiences about his sporting experiences while sharing an amusing anecdote or two. We thought we would ask him about his thoughts on this year's competition.
We started by asking Graham about England; he had this to say about Roy Hodgson's team "We have a very exciting squad, the youngest at the tournament but I worry about getting the best eleven players onto the field in positions they are all comfortable playing". Graham goes to say "I expect England's opponents to come from one of the top sides who always manage to time their form for major championships, which is in stark contrast to England".
On his tip for who will be in the final, not too surprisingly he opts for France saying they "will contest the European Championships final on the 10th July; they have a massively talented squad along with the home advantage. We should see Les Blues in the final where they could meet Italy, Germany or Spain. Once in the final anything can happen".
Graham also provides an insight into refereeing itself at this year's competition by concluding "Refereeing looks strong with England having both Mark Clattenburg and Martin Atkinson present. The final though could well go to Cuneyt Cakir, the Turkish referee, who refereed semi-finals at both the last Euros and World Cups".
Whatever the outcome, we hope you enjoy Euro 2016 and wish home nations: England, Northern Ireland and Wales all the very best!
Also, if you - despite the warnings - go on to consider your life in 20-year periods; we ask you do not engage in this process alone and carry this out with a responsible, well-grounded adult. If they have psychiatric or counselling training this would be a plus.
If you would like to know more about Graham Poll and his speaking topics please contact us at the office.
Images: Three Lions Flag, The Spice Girls, Graham Poll & Oasis courtesy of Flickr and Wikipedia.