We're not English, we are Scouse. Or are we?
YOU would have to be on the remotest goat-herding plane in the Yemen not to notice that there is a World Cup on at the moment.
While for many Liverpudlians it may come as a pleasant diversion to the seemingly endless litany of woes that plague Anfield at present, it strikes an interesting debate as to where people's loyalties ultimately lie.
For the likes of Stan Collymore and his Talksport-ilk, it is the national team 'uber alles'
Others are happy enough to get in the spirit of things while the tournament is on before switching attention back to their club side when it all ends, as it predictably does, in tears.
For others, there is a very real, and deep-felt, antipathy towards the England football team.
A friend articulates it such:
"Right then you horrible, thieving Scouse so-and-sos, it's time to support YOUR country.
Yep, it is apparently, except the rest of this cesspit country can get stuffed.
I am sick of seeing these biffs walking round OUR city in tatty England T-shirts (the sort you get in the bargain bin for ÃÂ£2.99 at Sports Direct). The amount of flags (albeit cheaply put together) hanging out of windows is truly frightening. Is Liverpool losing its sense of identity? I'd argue it's beginning to.
If I'm spoiling the party for people, then sorry. Everyone's entitled to support England if they want to, but why would they anyway? I think people are less indifferent all of a sudden and seem to buy into all this false patriotism as though they are being told to.
I can't quite put my finger on it, but suffice to say, this Ing-er-lund mentality that's creeping in here is disturbing.
There were four coppers outside The Queens and The First National when I walked past at 5pm yesterday - no doubt expecting some sort of mini-riot like we got in Clayton Square during the last World Cup if they'd have been knocked out.
Politically, people just seem to be so out of touch these days that they have no idea. I mean, how can a team that holds up Rooney as its star man be representative of this city? He has loathed by both Reds and Blues and has alienated a WHOLE city - some achievment that! He is also a lover of The S*n and takes great delight in declaring his hatred for all things LFC. Ergo, as far as I am concerned, supporting this mob is akin to buying The S*n or supporting Man United.
The Cameron mask at the USA game - does that represent us too? Or the St George Flag that has printed on it the following: 'Born in England, Live in England, Die in England, MUFC'.
England represent Chelsea, Millwall and all the other tin-pot clubs that have nothing else to cheer about all year round. It's THEIR baby, so leave it to them, please.
I think someone recently made the analogy between the World Cup and New Year's Eve and they were spot on. NYE is awful and boozers are packed full of people who don't usually go out. The regulars can't get to the bar because it's heaving full of the other clowns and it is annoying beyond belief.
Similarly, all the hangers-on and 'non-football' fans latch on to the World Cup and use it as a vehicle to display some kind of contrived patriotism / nationalism. All this is capped off by the vile British media who take every opportunity to make snidy, jingoistic comments about the Germans, Argentinians and whoever else England might be playing. I won't even get started on the 'celebrity' vermin who nail their colours to the mast."
Personally I've felt whatever affiliation I initially felt towards the national team as a child ebb away at various points over the years - key factors in this being the sickening treatment John Barnes received in an England shirt ; the snide remarks and treatment our club and city has received from the rest of the country over the years while cosying up as soon as they released they needed our star players (eg Gerrard) ; the shameless bandwagon-jumping and general hysteria evidenced whenever they win a throw-in counterbalanced with the wailing and gnashing of teeth the milli-second things start to go awry ; more than anything for me, it is the make-up of the current crop of England stars, many of whom seem to me to be a who's-who of people who sum up everything that's wrong with the modern game - neutrals surely find harder to warm to the likes of Terry, Rooney and Ashley Cole than they did Shearer, Sheringham and David Platt.
Yet the flags, banners and sheer volume of people buying into 'our boys' would indicate that support for the national team in Liverpool is as strong as it's ever been.
Does this mean Liverpool as a city has forgotten where it's come from or just that people like any excuse to sag off work (yes, some of us do have jobs) and drink beer while watching football?
Maybe it's just been too long since the last Tory government. I wonder how different things might be by the time Brazil 2014 comes around.