Goodbye England Clamour, you will not be missed…

Date published: Friday 2nd July 2021 8:21 - Sarah Winterburn

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At half-time of England’s dour 0-0 Auld Torture, Football365 alumnus Nick Miller was on controversial social media site Twitter with a run-down of the angry noise that was filling the internet and presumably actual real life.

None of those players were on the pitch but obviously should have been, because England were too defensive, too boring, too stale, too predictable, too Gareth Southgate. We are all familiar with this angry noise around England at major tournaments – from journalists and fans alike – but this was the first time we had a name. The Clamour. Defined as ‘a loud and confused noise, especially that of people shouting’, it is a perfect word to describe an imperfect situation where every person who has ever seen more than seven minutes of football knows far, far more than an actual football coach who watches these players train every day.

The Clamour is not usually accompanied by any tactical thinking beyond “you’ve got to start Grealish” and it’s not unusual for The Clamour to focus on a player that many have never even watched over 90 minutes. What is important is the noise and the notion that the manager is inexplicably simply getting things wrong. The fact that Grealish then came on the pitch and did nothing of note bar passing to an advertising hoarding is ultimately unimportant because that just means that he was under-cooked and should have started.

Grealish did then start against the Czech Republic but by that juncture, there were other obvious mistakes and more absent players to provoke uproar. By now the defensive midfield pair of Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice was out of favour, while the concept of Bukayo Saka on the right was treated like it was something devised by the Make of Wish Foundation to give a young boy from Ealing his dying wish. Where the f*** was Jadon Sancho?

You might have thought that victory and painless qualification for the knock-out rounds would silence The Clamour but that would be naive. We had a week of vociferous calls for Grealish, the occasional shout for Jordan Henderson and concerted campaigns for Southgate to ‘take the handbrake off’ just at the point where taking the handbrake off would have been absolutely ludicrous.

I was sat in the highest pub in the world on Friday and was forced to listen – because of course the manliest men speak so very loud that you have no choice – to a group of bikers saying that they would not have Raheem Sterling anywhere near the team. This was the same Raheem Sterling that had scored every England goal at the tournament so far. The biggest bullshit in the highest pub.

The Clamour reached a crescendo at 4pm on Tuesday when Southgate’s line-up was revealed. Nick Miller selfishly provided no update to his rankings, but we would guess at Grealish as a runaway leader with Henderson and Phil Foden also mentioned. It prompted a flurry of e-mails to Football365 even before kick-off while Twitter was of course ablaze with righteous anger.

But then England won. England beat Germany in a knock-out game at a major tournament. And at this point, anybody still complaining about the line-up works for The Sun. And with that victory, we really should see an end to The Clamour because Gareth Southgate clearly knows better than every single one of us. He could pick Sam Johnstone as a false 9 for the quarter-final clash with Ukraine and it should be greeted with nothing more vociferous than a ‘hmmmm’. Ta-ra Clamour. Until next time.

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