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England Paper Plane

Tedious England match leads to social media mockery

England Paper Plane

Tedious England match leads to social media mockery

If you watched England seal their place at the 2018 World Cup yesterday with a stunningly unconvincing 1-0 win against Slovenia last night, you’re probably still cursing the loss of two hours of your life you’ll never get back.

If you didn’t, consider yourself lucky! It probably sums up the state of the game that the Wembley Stadium crowd were keeping themselves more entertained by making and throwing paper aeroplanes than by watching what was taking place on the pitch.

The Eastern European also-rans could easily have been ahead (they should have had a penalty in the first half and were later denied by a great double save by England goalkeeper Joe Hart) before Harry Kane scrambled in a late, fortuitous goal to give the Three Lions a win they hardly deserved. After the game, the ITV pundits – even the usually positive and passionate Ian Wright – looked like a group of men who had just been forced to watch every Adam Sandler film back to back.

As a football fan, the concept of ‘second screening’ has notably changed the experience of following the sport in recent years. While at one time you might have been at a match and noticed a man nearby with a radio, reeling off the scores from other games, a match day today can be much more immersive experience. A fan, whether at a game or watching from home, can have multiple tabs open to keep an eye on scores from other games and opinions of other viewers.

Not surprisingly during yesterday’s snoozer, I found myself distracted by social media and the creative ways in which people were expressing their boredom. England’s qualifying campaign, while ultimately successful, has hardly been thrilling, and I suspected parody Twitter account Boring James Milner – mimicking the no-frills Liverpool and former England midfielder – would bring its usual sarcasm to the table. It didn’t disappoint:

Most viewers didn’t share BJM’s excitement levels, as these three Twitter users demonstrate:


But you can always rely on Paddy Power taking the ridicule to a new level. Well before the match had got underway, the irreverent bookmaker had decided to run the Paint Drying Championships at the same time as the England match.

What seemed at first to be a cheeky joke actually turned into a real betting event, with Paddy Power offering odds about which colour of paint would dry first, and sharing regular video updates on how the PDCs were progressing.

Despite a late rally from the blue paint, it was the green that dried first.

The bookmaker honoured the bet by paying out on green, but refunded all losing bets, showing that this was more of a piece of social media PR than a hard sell of Paddy Power services.

The World Cup itself kicks off in Russia in just eight months’ time, and will no doubt see a social media surge of its own. The 2014 World Cup final broke records for social media interactions, and the return of hashflags on Twitter is always worth getting excited about!

John Murray
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