Saturday, 4 June 2016

Once More Into The Breach

Having decided it was time I threw my weight behind England’s Euro preparations, I went to the Portugal game the other night.  It was my first visit to the new Wembley and I have to say the place has freshened up somewhat since we were one of the last to bring the curtain down on the old place, which in truth was a bit of a dump. I had vowed that I wouldn’t return unless it was wearing a KTFC Wembley [insert year here] cap.  Yeah, I know.  Sometimes, though, you’ve just gotta adjust your expectations, so I approached this as a fact finding trip, ready for when we next march down Wembley Way. To the present stadium or its eventual successor.

Everything about the new Wembley is impressive – it just needs an England team to match.  On the outside concourse stands a statue of Bobby Moore, inscribed “First England captain to lift the World Cup”.  How clever - that won’t need updating the next time we do it!   Judging by the hype and legend each time we’ve since got as far as a semi, sneaking into another final will pretty much guarantee another statue, plus a lifetime of anniversary events like those which are currently unfolding.  Not just the umpteenth reliving of ’66, but fond recollections of ’96 too, in the complete absence of anything more recent. 

Even then, Skinner & Baddiel felt they had enough material to talk about "all those oh so nears, wear you down, through the years”. Guys, maybe it’s time for an album?  Still earlier, England went to Spain singing “This time, more than any other time, this time”, just SIXTEEN years after winning the bloody thing.  That’s like Roy’s boys vowing to recapture the glory days of Kevin Keegan.

Because England are really terrible at this.  Despite almost always, until recent times, setting off with pundits galore predicting we could go all the way, in our entire history we have played in the same number of actual finals as Greece and Belgium.  Even Denmark (DENMARK!) have troubled the trophy engravers as often as we have.  If international football was the Premier League, we’d be Newcastle.  Great stadium, passionate fans, high hopes, won nothing since the sixties.  When was the last time England won a knockout tie against a major team, someone we perhaps weren’t expected to beat?  You know what I think the answer is?  Never.  Not once.  It takes some doing to be that consistently disappointing.

So on that note I’d like to wish the boys all the very best in France.  My prediction: we’ll piss it.

Arise Sir Woy

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