It’s the football World Cup going on at the moment in Russia and England are playing this evening.
Just to remind people, England won the World Cup in 1966, before I was born. Since then, we’ve made it to one semi final, in 1990, the year of Paul Gascoigne’s tearful exit versus West Germany, as was. We have the strongest professional football league in the world and yet every four years, England fans prepare themselves to be totally underwhelmed by our underperforming stars who do so well for their clubs, but not country.
Why is this? Mainly because most of the other teams are stronger, our Football Association appoint wishy washy managers who are generally nice men, but don’t have that X Factor to get the best out of the team. The one chance the F.A. had in the 1970s to appoint a manager who would have done brilliantly on the world stage, Brian Clough, was squandered in favour of a safe option, Ron Greenwood, who hardly pulled up any trees. You could say, and so on and so forth right up to the present day. Gareth Southgate is a nice bloke, but is he a winner? I doubt it very much.
So all the flags will festoon every corner of the land before kick off this evening. Chants of “Engerland, Enger…..land” will bellow from most pubs and clubs up and down the country. Patriotism at it’s best. Nothing wrong with that. Nice to have a bit of realism. And I can’t see the team doing very well in this tournament.
All I will say is, I hope to be proved spectacularly wrong. Come 7pm our time this evening, the failure of the last 52 years will be laid bare again. Can’t wait to be underwhelmed again.