Southgate Takes New England into Dreamland!
Posted on July 8, 2021
England had to face Euro 2020 adversity sooner or later. Getting through a whole tournament with their goal unscathed, was never going to happen. As it turns out, It was a blockbuster of a free kick and England were on the ropes. How would they respond?
They certainly were rocking. Denmark looked likely to add another goal and put distance between the teams. However, rather than the wild panic us older fans are used to, England steadied themselves and grew back into the game. Without bemoaning their luck when Stirling hit the chest of Schmeichel when certain to score, England came again and equalised.
Denmark responded again early in the second half but began flagging as England grew in stature. With 25 minutes to go, the Danes were exhausted, grimly and bravely holding on as England passed them off the pitch. England stayed patient. No rash challenges, no hoofing to a big fella up front. Instead, they set about exhausting their increasingly desperate opponent.
With some irony, many of us watching on TV lost our calm when trying to tell the players to stay calm. Yet, amongst all the emotion, England did stay calm as the game went into extra time. The Danes were now like a dam trying to hold back a flood. England swamped all over them, then Sterling, for the umpteenth time, caused panic resulting in a penalty. A fortunate penalty perhaps, but it gave England the breakthrough they deserved.
The Danes were strong and determined opponents, but England were the better team. It was, dare I say it, like watching the German team of 2014. Vibrant, youthful, energetic, and brimming with self-belief. Since first watching England at The World Cup in 1982, this is the best England team I have seen by a long way. The blood, thunder, over the top passion and square pegs in round holes formations, have been replaced by unity and professionalism.
Impressing on and off the Pitch
England have impressed on and off the pitch. Their manager is humble, honest, thorough, and respectful. The way he conducts himself has transferred to his team who represent the kind of decency, awareness, and diversity that, sadly, is lacking in those who govern us by aggressive, divisive, and nasty populism.
People like Laurence Fox, Lee Anderson MP and Priti Patel, tried to shut them down. Fox, the spoilt over privileged brat from an acting dynasty, even called the players ‘weak men’ for taking the knee. Anderson said England were losing their support, and Patel encouraged fans to boo support for BLM. Some in government even tried to claim the players were ‘deep woke’ or even Marxist. Sad, pathetic people, trying to divide and rule with hate over unity.
A recent history of WAG culture, managers that went from showbiz wannabes (Ericsson) or faux military dictators (Fabio Capello) to bung takers (Allardyce) left me in a position where I had deserted the national game, seemingly for good. When Roy Hodgson’s hapless England lost to Iceland in 2016, I saw the morons with ‘Brexit 16’ on their replica shirts screaming from the terraces. As they cried, and I laughed heartily at them, brain-dead slobs full of cheap beers and bitter tears. At that point, I never thought I would bother supporting the national team again.
Twist of Fate
Then, one day in 2017, stereotypical ‘up and at ‘em’ manager, Sam Allardyce, with a pint of wine in hand, fell for a tabloid sting. It was a twist of fate that gave Southgate his chance to implement his own management style. No WAGS, no players with domestic club cliques, no round pegs in square holes, no pandering to Premier League egos.
2018 was a start but we didn’t know if it was a false dawn. The tournament ended with a whimper as Southgate got caught out by Modric and Croatia in the World Cup semi-final. It turns out it was just a learning curve that Southgate and England would grow from. And how they have grown.
Whatever happens on Sunday, England, unlike those who govern us, have gained respect across Europe. They have been admired for their attitude, calm authority, and respect for other teams. The morons are still there but they are largely seen as sad cases. A laughingstock. Yesterday’s men, clinging on, singing songs in the old-fashioned way.
Southgate didn’t want to change the world; he was just looking for a new England. And by jiminy, he has created one, reaching out, touching me, touching you…
Sing a long now, it’s been a shit 18 months!