I generally think Gordon Brown should steer clear of involving himself in English sporting matters. Although I am sure it is well-intended, the public seem to think it's rather insincere and I am not at all sure that the players appreciate it either.
I remember feeling desperately sorry for the Prime Minister when he attempted to shake hands with one of the England rugby team during last year's World Cup and was ignored. Although in my view the player in question displayed the height of rudeness, the truth is Brown would have been well-advised not to have put himself in that situation.
All that said, however, it is very hard to disagree with Brown's comments on the non-availability of terrestrial highlights of last night's England-Croatia game, in which the national side suddenly appeared to rediscover its self-confidence after months of dire performances.
Seven years ago, I watched England and Michael Owen demolish Germany 5-1 with Gill and an old university mate who was staying the night at our old house - a truly memorable evening. Last night, when we should have been watching England and Theo Walcott demolish Croatia, we were forced to make do with Ainsley Harriott on "Who Do You Think You Are?" instead. No disrespect to Ainsley, whose revelations about being descended from a white slave owner were indeed shocking and compelling, but it didn't quite compare.
Pay-TV station Setanta, which now inexplicably owns the rights to England matches despite having an audience of little over 1m, had apparently agreed beforehand that it would show highlights on its free-to-air channel. But they then went on to take the complete piss by showing highlights of the Wales and Scotland games first, and not showing the England highlights until well gone midnight.
Unfortunately, we sold the pass on "Crown Jewels" sporting events such as World Cup matches being shown on terrestrial years back, largely as a result of pressure from Rupert Murdoch. Highlights are a different matter though. It should not be beyond the power of the regulators to ensure they are shown the same day.
As for England's great performance, and today's coverage of it in the national press, I think I can feel a Private Eye apology coming on....
"This newspaper, in common with all other newspapers, may have given the impression that Fabio Capello is a hapless buffoon who was leading English football into a new dark age. We now realise that Mr Capello is in fact a managerial genius who is worth every penny of his zillion-pound salary and is certain to win us the World Cup in 2010."