Back Or Lay Picks 23rd June

It's been a bit quiet on the old Back or Lay front thanks to events in Brazil but I've managed to find something of interest in the Finnish league for tomorrow evening...


These picks should be backed if you can get decimal odds of 2.00 or over. They should be laid if their odds are at 1.90 or under.

Good Luck England

Apparently, England is playing in some big football tournament that kicks off today. One would hardly have noticed given the lack of enthusiasm.

As a Scot, I remember all too well the outrageously misplaced hysteria that swept the country in the run up to Argentina '78. It is in the nature of us Scots to be able to have a right old laugh about it now. While those south of the border quite rightly ridiculed us for it at the time they seem to completely miss their own hypocracy by doing the same thing. Since 1978 us living in God's country have been subjected to excessive amounts of unplaced English optimism (putting it mildly). It was always in your face, lets go on about 1966 yet again, fervour that, quite frankly only encouraged Scotsmen to make a point of supporting every team the English came up against.

There was a reason the Tartan Army sang chants like...

"We hate Jimmy Hill,
Jimmy Hill, he's a poof".

...and it had nothing to do with his sexual orientation. Football supporters are the same the World over and the Scots are no different. Simple folk who demand words no longer than two syllables in their chants and "condescending, self-righteous, arrogant big-chinned tosser" simply doesn't fit within that ethos.

It is the constant reference to past achievements (sorry, that should be singular) that really wind us Scots up. Winning the World Cup in 1966, great though that achievement was (and no the ball was never over the line) it doesn't mean that Sassenachs have a God given right to win it again. There's a perfectly good chance that football might never 'come home'. Which reminds me...

In the run up to every major international competition, that Baddiel, Skinner and Lightning Seeds football song is brought out. It is actually a clever bit of pop about the frustrations and disappointments of being a supporter of your national side (we know the feeling). As Euro 2000 approached out it came again only for my English then wife to reveal her ignorance by declaring she thought the chorus started "Three LINES on a shirt". This immediately prompted my then 9 year old son to offer these alternative lyrics (feel free to sing along - you know you want to)...

"Three lines on a shirt
Sponsored by Adidas
Thirty years of hurt
The Germans always beat us".

And with those four lines came the realisation that he didn't inherit a drop of English blood from his mother. It was a proud moment which still gets me all welled up inside. He never did break into the music business though he is following his dream of being a sport and fitness instructor, but I digress...

I have detected a significant difference with England's build up to Brazil 2014. Where are the ridiculous tabloid headlines? Where's the endless coverage of the 1966 final? Where are the articles that one minute build up expectation to unachievable highs then turn around and lambast everyone involved with the England team? Where's the WAGS, the party scandals, the infighting and the second rate football pundits? Speaking of Mark Lawrenson, please BBC don't have him on your coverage.

Could it be that after 48 years of hurt, the English have finally come to realise that to win a major competition takes a little more than throwing eleven overpaid primadonnas on to the pitch and crossing one's fingers and toes? Certainly the influence of Roy Hodgson cannot be underestimated. Hodgson is perhaps the best manager England have had for a long long time. Whatever the reason, the build up to this competition has been refreshingly different and a pleasant change for us north of the border.

Will this seemingly more mature and reasoned coverage encourage us Scots to lend some support to our cousins from the south?

Yes and no. Though we might not admit it in public, we want England to do well. The longer they stay in the competition, the more teams we are able to support in order to keep the tournament interesting. Although a mighty giggle would echo around the Scottish glens we'd rather England made it through the group stages. We'd hate to be denied the opportunity of yet another exit due to a penalty shoot out.

There's only one thing we'd hate more and that is England winning it - unlikely though that is. We'd hate it not because it wouldn't be a great achievement or ultimately be great for the game in the UK. No, we'd hate England lifting the World cup for one simple reason. We'd never hear the fucking end of it!

So, with all that said. here's one Scotsman wishing the England squad well. Just don't go winning the damn thing.

Back Or Lay Picks 6th-8th June

Again, as these are friendlies, take these with a pinch of salt. Mind you, the lay of Italy worked so well on Wednesday there's no harm in doing the same.


These picks should be backed if you can get decimal odds of 2.00 or over.
They should be laid if their odds are at 1.90 or under.

Back Or Lay 2nd-4th June

This is very much a 'suck it and see' exercise as I don't usually use this technique for international matches, let alone friendlies, so treat these with a pinch of salt.


These picks should be backed if you can get decimal odds of 2.00 or over.
They should be laid if their odds are at 1.90 or under.