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It’s fair to say over the last few years I’ve been a bit apathetic about the England team.
Since 2006, our tournament appearances have ranged from forgettable to regrettable to absolutely f**king crap. In recent years, like most Premier League supporters in the country, I have placed far more importance on club over country.
In 2016, after Our Brave Boys conspired to sh*t the bed in such spectacular fashion that I ended up stuck with tickets to France vs Iceland, I genuinely thought I’d never be arsed about the national team ever again – and for most of our friendlies and qualifying games since then, that was the case.
But Gareth Southgate, a milquetoast, knitted-scarf, supply teacher of a man has won me over. In fact, he’s done more than that. God help me, he’s actually made me passionate about the England team.
He’s the first England manager I’ve ever seen to publicly identify the English media, and the knuckle-dragging gutter trash that lap up their nonsense, as The Enemy.
The media’s ‘build-em-up. knock-em-down’ strategy is nothing new, but this year it has been particularly odious.
First was the bizarre period where everyone was desperate to depict Harry Kane as a humourless, cry-baby dullard, who threw his toys out of the pram when Ben Purkiss made a joke at his expense. What they were less eager to publish was that the only actual public comments from Kane and Purkiss were that Kane wasn’t bothered by the joke, never actually made a complaint and thought the whole furore was rather silly. This narrative was then repeated when the PFA made a misjudged tweet after the FA Cup.
More seriously, there has been the repulsive treatment of Raheem Sterling – a sinister campaign that goes deeper than football. I obviously don’t need to go into detail here.
As with every year, the media seeks to destabilise the team in order to sell papers, all under the guise of ‘patriotism.’ They just care so much. That’s why they need to turn the fans against the players. They’re doing it for us.
Yet, Southgate has treated every media campaign with the disdain and indifference it deserves. When pressed for comments about the PFA’s tweets about Kane, he said the situation had been dealt with and moved on. He has kept comments on Wilshere and Hart’s recent tweets to a minimum. And most impressively, he recognised the fallout that would have occurred had he dropped Sterling from the Nigeria friendly, and reacted accordingly. Despite the fact he would have been well within his rights to punish Sterling for missing training – a decision that would have probably earned him brownie points from the press for ‘making a big decision’ – he chose to protect the player. Lovely stuff, really.
I am desperate for Southgate to do well at the World Cup. I would love him to unite the fans, and the team and score a huge, career defining victory against the the National’s side’s greatest enemy: not Germany, Argentina or the ginger lads who never qualify for anything – but the wankers in the media.
Roo Cumner-Price, England fan.
It could be anyone
Rio Ferdinand is probably right that Sterling isn’t being ‘picked on’ (bad phrasing but it’s Sunday and I’m lazy) because he’s black. As he says many white players have been in the same situation and frankly the tabloids have never needed racism as a reason to act like this, it seems to me that there’s no reason to believe it’s any different in this case. Whether intentionally or not this is at odds with the stance that F365 seem to have taken on the situation. I think it’s this point that has cause all of the disagreements we’ve seen since and unfortunately that spectacularly misses the perfectly valid points about racism that F365 actually intended to make.
Why Sterling is the one in the crosshairs isn’t something I’ve got an answer for but I’ve no reason to think that it couldn’t just as easily be Jack Wilshere or Jamie Vardy. In fact I’d guess that if Wilshere had had an amazing season and was going to the world cup as a potential hero or Vardy was going in as our main striker, there’s a very good chance they’d be target no1 instead.
Please correct me if I’m wrong but the way I see it is this. The points made in Mediawatch were trying to demonstrate that the fictional narrative published by the Sun was trying to play to the perceived prejudices of their readers. Guns, drugs, bling are all stuff associated with black people you see. That this was so easy to do and that it can be so easily camouflaged was exactly F365’s point (and ironically should say something to us all about the dangers of group identity) . Again please correct me if I’m wrong and you genuinely believe that Sterling is only being ‘targeted’ because he’s black.
TLDR: the point is that they aren’t writing because he’s black, but the way they are writing is because he is.
Take the top man
With all the news about other clubs (read Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, etc.) trying to poach Spurs personnel (read Pochettino, Alderweireld, Eriksen, etc.), and clubs historically having had a tough time getting a deal through with Spurs (read Spurs always getting top dollar), I always wonder why hasn’t someone just poached the man himself. For example, Manchester United could do a lot better with Daniel Levy in charge than they are doing so now with Ed Woodward.
I don’t usually write in but after going through the previous mailbox and seeing the rampant over-analyzing of the match, it only makes me believe that you English fans should really take a break, and don’t get overtly pessimistic or optimistic after one inconsequential friendly.
People turn pundit so very quickly, but oddly enough they would be the first one to agree that British players are getting overrated. Criticism should always be welcomed, but the general public reacts to the outcome of each match in extreme measure.
England were good, if not better, and to anyone lamenting the fact that a proper footballing nation (Nigeria) with proper football players changed their formation after the half time – thats why teams have managers.
So, my English friends, stop pretending that just because your striker nets in a goal after taking 15 odd shots in a match you deserve to win or excel in every match your team plays. Just relax, crack open a cold one and enjoy the exciting games of football waiting for us.
Just read the article about Panenka penalty kicks in Planet Football. Good piece but I was expecting the most unforgettable (for me) Panenka penalty ever and it wasn’t there.
Everyone remembers the game. Uruguay-Ghana: quarterfinals of the World Cup 2010. Uruguay hadn’t played in a semifinal for 79 years. No african team has played in a semifinal ever.
1-1 after 90 minutes. Two great goals, Sulley Muntari with a rocket, Diego Forlan with a great free-kick. The Ghanian goalie could have done better for the goal but he had had some amazing saves. Striker Sebastian “el Loco” (the Madman) Abreu replaced Edison Cavani at roughly the 76th minute.
You know what happened in the 120th minute: Luis Suarez saved a goal with his hand and was sent off, Gyan took the penalty and hit the crossbar, roll on the penalty shootout.
Two Ghanian players missed, one Uruguayan. Fifth and decisive penalty of the craziest match you’ve ever seen, who’s going to take the penalty if not El Loco?
This is a striker who had played in Mexico for roughly 10 years, in different teams (he is still active at 41 and holds the record for the highest number of teams played for by a professional footballer). Everyone in Mexico knew he was going to chip it. He literally seemed to chip every. single. penalty. in his clubs (he missed tonnes of them naturally). I remember thinking “surely he wouldn’t?”
If only the Ghanian goalkeeper, bless him, watched the Liga MX.
rd (from Mexico, of course)
Nigeria: A Spurs-free zone
There are several reasons for us (Nigerians) to boo Alli: He chose not to play for us, we watch the Premier League week in week out and we wonder what all the fuss is about and lastly we have lots of Chelsea and Arsenal fans here in Nigeria and I doubt there are any Spurs fans. I for one have never met one. Take your pick.
Azeez (England to exit in the round of 16) Nigeria