Can you think of anything original to say about England’s performance, players or managers?
Any unique, interesting insight or perspective at all?
No, you can’t. I can’t. No-one can. That’s because it’s all been said before, not just once but hundreds of times for years and years. And it will be repeated again today. Let’s bring it to an end.
My five pet of repeated hates are…
1) There are no leaders anymore.
Often said by ex-England players. They don’t seem to remember that when we did have leaders like Tony Adams, Bryan Robson, Terry Butcher, Paul Ince, Stuart Pearce or Alan Shearer, we almost always played dull or outright poor football and never won anything. The fact we don’t have someone who can shout at teammates whilst bleeding from a head wound is clearly not a factor in England’s failure to play good football.
2) It’s all headphones these days.
A Waddler classic, meant to express lack of team spirit (I think). Ignoring the fact that headphones have existed since 1910 and that the Walkman was popular when Chris was playing, if the lack of a ‘headphones’ culture was significant, why didn’t we even qualify for the 1994 World Cup? Why did we lose all three games at Euro 1988? Why couldn’t we win more than two games out of five at Euro 96? No headphones, but still no good.
3) We lack creativity.
They say we’ve no creativity in the side. But when we did, with the likes of Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Paul Gascoigne and Peter Beardsley, did we win anything? No. Did we play awful football in lots of games? Yes, we did. So much so that there was always a call during a tournament to ‘bring them home’ because they were embarrassing the nation with their lumpen football. That even happened early in Italia 90. In 1989 we drew three consecutive games 0-0 – three games so awful that they verged on being a human rights crime.
4) Defenders Don’t Know How To Defend These Days
When we had defenders who critics would say knew how to defend, Adams, Pearce, Southgate, Butcher, Gary Neville, did we win anything? No. Did we let in a lot of goals? Yes. Did we play boring awful football? Almost always. If we don’t know how to defend now, we’ve never known.
5) We’ve no players to choose from due to all the foreigners.
But when that was not the case, we still played poorly, still annoyed everyone, failed to qualify for tournaments and when we did, still didn’t come close to winning a tournament. We’ve still just made two semi-finals in over 50 years no matter how many players we had at our disposal. The problem isn’t the players we can’t pick, it’s the players we do pick.
And that’s just five vexatious cliches that rub me up the wrong way. Here are 50 others. If you’ve got any to add to this, post them below so that we can arrive at a definitive list, which we can then distribute to all media outlets and tell their pundits and their slack-jawed phone-in callers to on no account say any of these things again, because from now on there’s an embargo on saying anything about England unless no-one has said it before.
Ah silence at last.
6.) The player’s can’t reproduce club form for their country.
7) They play with good foreign players at clubs so they look better than they are.
8) There’s no passion.
9) The manager is inexperienced at this level.
10) The manager is tactically naive.
11) The shirt weighs heavy on their backs.
12) They only care about money.
13) There is no natural captain.
14) The players are technically very limited.
15) The players have no bottle.
16) The media puts too much pressure on them.
17) Just get behind the team.
18) Fans are too negative.
19) Fans expect too much.
20) We should be beating a side like this.
21) This side are technically better than us.
22) I’m so bored of England.
23) There’s no progress under…
24) Be patient. We’re planning for the next tournament.
25) We don’t have a winning mentality.
26) Fans hate the players, players hate the fans.
27) We’re not fit enough.
28) The manager can’t inspire the boys.
29) The manager is old-fashioned.
30) We need an English manager to inject some passion (if we don’t have one)
31) English managers are just not good enough (if we do)
32) There are no better players or managers available than this.
33) The media have an agenda against England.
34) The media want England to succeed just like the fans.
35) They need to play without fear.
36) We don’t know our best team.
37) We do well in qualifiers but are rubbish in tournaments.
38) We should be using games like this to try new players.
39) We chop and change the side too much.
40) We need a Plan B.
41) We need a Plan A.4
42) There is no plan and we have no character.
43) Why don’t we just play the kids?
44) None of these players should ever play for England again.
45) They’re a disgrace to the badge.
46) Why don’t they have the same passion as the fans?
47) We’ve paid a lot of money, we’ve every right to boo them.
48) You should never boo your own players.
49) They lack confidence.
50) They earn all that money and play like that! It’s a disgrace.
51) We don’t have enough coaches.
52) We’re one of the sides that could win it.
53) The players have let the manager down.
54) Bring back Rooney.
55) I’ve given up supporting England.