Heard a rumour lads, it’s fairly big, it is an exclusive, you ready? Apparently ……. it’s coming home.
England will play Italy in Sunday’s European Championship final at Wembley after Gareth Southgate’s side defeated Denmark 2-1 in a pulsating clash last night.
Captain Harry Kane scored the winning goal against the Danes, and he knows that a first major tournament win in 55 years is now in sight.
We still hear about the tournament 55 years ago, to be fair us Irish still talk about getting to a World Cup quarter final over 30 years ago. I don’t really begrudge them that, all things considered.
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It’s the way the media tell the story. Imagine being more arrogant than the French. Sky Sports News was unbearable the day of the Danish game, every 15 minutes playing that bloody song.
Look, I follow an English soccer team. I even helped England win a World Cup in Championship Manager 2006. I have never really disliked their players, John Terry aside. So why do I want them to fail at EVERY SINGLE OPPORTUNITY? I think I have pinpointed it to one specific moment.
Cast your minds back to France 1998. It was one of the very first major tournaments I can truly recall. I had the video game, I have the sticker book, I had the rip off jerseys that my uncle brought back from Turkey. I watched every game I could, seeing the likes of Ronaldo, Batistuta, Seedorf and Zidane in the flesh and not just reading about them in a magazine, I was super excited. Being a young Manchester United fan, I was also eager to follow the journey of the Neville’s, Scholes and Beckham.
Then I witnessed a side to football that I don’t think I’ve ever really paid attention to before. Sure, there were controversies such as Cantona going all Kung Fu Panda, but I never really seen an effigy of a player being hanged. I saw it after England’s second round penalty shoot-out loss to Argentina in Saint Etienne.
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David Beckham was the man that members of the English public had hanging due to his sending off for kicking out at Diego Simeone. It was stupid and silly, but the media frenzy that followed was something wholly obscene. National newsprint publications using David Beckham’s face as a bullseye in a pull out dart board. He was 23. Beckham received death threats, bullets in the post and even required an armed guard to escort him off the pitch for his first game back with Manchester United.
This always stuck with me. Sure, individuals are responsible for their own behaviour, but the narrative that was fed that summer, even suggested by England Manager Glenn Hoddle, was that it was Beckham’s stupidity that cost them a World Cup. Jesus, they lost to Romania in their second group game. The story that was set was that of a media that had no alternative, it was Beckham’s fault.
He was crucified, as has every England player to ever step out of line. I’m not saying footballers are absolved from criticism, I do like a good Wayne Rooney granny joke at times, but man they go to town on them. Raheem Sterling a hero now after that Denmark game, after being eviscerated by the press for getting a tattoo of a gun on his leg to commemorate his father who was gunned down.
I want England to lose, not because of their players, or fans, but because of their media.
It’s an abusive relationship, I love you, I hate you, I love you etc…..
Why would anyone want to come home to that?
That and 800 years…..