Evertonians’ interest in the English national side’s dead rubbers against Estonia and Lithuania – where Dele Alli is expected to be announced by ITV as the “next big thing they knew about all along but couldn’t tell you his squad number at Spurs” – will have been nullified even further by the withdrawal of John Stones and ongoing injury to Leighton Baines. But there are other things you can do to occupy yourselves this weekend. Some of them are genuine fun too. Others are just just a way of doing ANYTHING but watch England or listen to Andy “how’s he still got a job in football” Townsend.
1 – The Rugby World Cup. No, seriously. It’s still going on. And it’s pretty entertaining at times as well. No, honestly. A game played by men with odd shaped balls it may well be, and not your average scouser’s first choice of sports, but rugby (Union, not League) is generally very watchable.
Romania have just made the biggest comeback in rugby World Cup history to beat Canada – no, I didn’t know either of those countries had a rugby team either – and tournament favourites Australia and New Zealand are still in it to watch even if the England team might call round to join you in watching on for the latter stages.
2 – Wash the car. And then moan when it rains just as you finish the last coat of polish. You know it’s going to happen, but you know that sense of satisfaction you get from washing the car, so you’ll do it anyway.
3 – Spend time with your significant other. For the benefit of my wife, this list is in no particular order of preference. Honest. But we all know that the majority of our other half’s complain about being a “football widow” or nag us to do jobs around the house, or go to Marks and Spencers with them to look at things we don’t need, or visit the in-laws. All of which are a much more attractive alternative to listening to Andy bloody Townsend. You’ll earn much-needed brownie points too for when Everton are at Wembley in February and May and you go missing for four days at a time, miraculously finding your phone again when you need picking up from Lymm service station.
4 – Watch the other home nations. Wales, Scotland, and both of the Ireland brothers are in action this weekend too, and most of them won’t have Andy “good god is he still talking” Townsend commentating on their games, which is a bonus. Scotland expect to score at least one goal away in Gibraltar on Saturday with Steven Naismith in the squad, and Darron Gibson will be chomping at the bit for some first team action as his Republic of Ireland side take on Poland on Sunday. Tim Howard’s USA also take on Bryan Oviedo’s Costa Rica on Tuesday night.
5 – Tweet about how bad Andy Townsend is at talking about football, while shouting at the TV about how bad Andy Townsend is at talking about football. And then email ITV asking when it’s your turn to have a go at talking about football. I mean, if Andy Townsend can get paid for doing it, then surely it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the population are given a turn? Then Tweet ITV’s reply accompanied by a sad face emoji. And that middle-finger emoji you had made so you could put it on the back of a plane flying above Goodison saying “Money Can’t buy you Stones” at the Chelsea game, only for the plane to have been booked by someone else.