Some interesting paperwork arrived on the desk of Balls.ie's Department of Raised Eyebrows yesterday.
We caught a glimpse of plans for the Greater London Authority's Trafalgar Square Euro 2020 fanzone, which includes provision for England's 'victory parade' should Gareth Southgate's boys be crowned European champions later this summer.
On one level, this just makes sense. England are the bookies' favourite to win the 24-nation tournament and with the final in Wembley on July 11, you can understand the need from London city planners to be prepared for every eventuality, even if it means England winning an international tournament. Given the pandemic we're all enduring and the propensity of England fans to destroy things after international matches, why not plan ahead? Fail to prepare, prepare to fail, as one famous city planner said.
But hold on just one second. Where do England get the gall to plan a celebration for winning an international football tournament? It's the middle of April. The final is three months from now. This is the first sign that people in England are getting ahead of themselves.
For as long as we've been watching football, England have been hindered by titanic hubris. Every two years, international tournaments swing around and the English press, and inevitably the England team, talk themselves into undeserved favouritism. Historically, the result is usually the same: an inglorious quarterfinal exit. Gareth Southgate swooped in with English entitlement at its absolute nadir after the Iceland result in Marseille at Euro 2016. Lack of pressure and expectation was at the core of England's 2018 World Cup semifinal run.
In April 2018, no one in London was planning for a World Cup homecoming party.
This is the first evidence we've seen that old confidence is back. And we think that's bad news for Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, Prince Harry and any other Harry expecting to see England win the Euros for the first time next month.