England Dismantle the Myth of Passion and Desire

Posted on November 30, 2022

I nearly went to the pub to watch football last night. I then realised I was a bit tired and couldn’t be bothered with listening to inane bar stool bullshit. So, with Jennifer on the hospital evening shift, I stayed home alone with a bottle of vin rouge. What a culture vulture I am.

Viewing Without Distraction

Watching football without distraction makes it almost seem like a different game. I found myself picking up on little bits of action that I would never see in a pub. By removing myself from the excitement, I found I could understand the logic of Southgate’s tactics and what they were set out to achieve.

In this case, it was to not get dragged into a local derby type battle where tactics go out of the window. Southgate knew that the only chance Wales had of winning, was to pull England down to their level. By avoiding that scenario, England won comfortably. It was a controlled and ruthless performance and credit to Southgate and the players for that. That said, Wales are appalling.

A German Once Said…

I can remember 20 odd years ago, a German player (Klinsmann, I think?) saying England won’t win anything until they take all the hype and passion out of their game. By getting caught up in tabloid jingoism and caged tiger mentality, England would always fall apart on the big occasions. Red cards came out, penalties were missed and England went home. He was right.

There have been signs in recent years that England have finally realised that responding to calls of chest beating and putting the boot in, is plain daft. By blocking out the nonsensical noise and jingoism, they are a better team. Whether it will be enough to bring them a trophy, I don’t know.

Control and Professionalism

As with the Euros last year, England have controlled their group from the start. The USA provided a worrying test but in fairness, in practical terms, England did what they had to do to remain in control of the group. They took a lot of stick for a poor performance but still got through to the last 16 without breaking sweat.

What has summed up England for me has been the professionalism of the players. At the end of the game, the camera panned to Jude Bellingham sat with his mum and dad calmly chatting about the game. There was no triumphalism around, just an attitude of a job completed. Bellingham is just 19. What a player he could become.

Up and at ‘em Headless Chickens

I prefer that kind of England. The up and at ‘em stuff is a load of old bollocks from another time. Wales proved that in spades, screaming their anthem before running around like headless chickens. In fairness, it was probably the only option they had but it highlighted that passion, pride and chest beating is for over excited supporters, not highly paid footballers with a job to complete.

My worry is that when Southgate (who is not faultless) departs, rather moving up to another level with a modern, articulate manager, England will revert to type. If that happens, as Trevor Brooking once said, “we’ll go on getting bad results”.


1 Reply to "England Dismantle the Myth of Passion and Desire"

  • Norman House
    December 1, 2022 (10:43 am)

    Fair points. I don’t like watching football with anyone else, if I have a vested interest in the game. I, therefore, prefer to watch Arsenal or England games on my own at home. There are enough idiots on Twitter with stupid views including the most bizarre views on the laws of the game; even worse than ‘some’ of the pundits, who use custom and practice to decide what is a penalty, not whether it is a foul or not. Therefore the pub is not an option, I don’t even have a drink when Arsenal are playing – though that is superstitious nonsense on my part 😉

Got something to say?

Some html is OK

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.