England stand on the precipice

One of the best known quotes from the late, great Bill Shankly “”Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.” If you’d asked me that last night straight after England’s abject display I might have agreed. Luckily though I got some perspective today by immersing myself in the history of slavery, apartheid & Mandela in Cape Town’s museums.

So, it may ‘only be a game’ but are there any positives at all to take out of the bore draw with Algeria ?

  • we didn’t lose ? (cue scraping of barrel sound)
  • the stadium was jolly nice, apart from the fact that the architect didn’t seem to have envisaged that more than about 3 people would concurrently want to use the toilets at any one time
  • Carragher was booked again so is now suspended
  • Graham Taylor is not the manager

Us England fans are used to disappointment, we really are. I suspect many of us secretly revel in the old heroic failure routine i.e. “oh, we def would have won the game & in fact the whole tournament if it hadn’t been for:

a) the ref

b) the opposition goalkeeper unsportingly saving our penalties OR

c)  the cheating antics of Johnny Foreigner

However one thing we do demand is 100% effort to the cause, “Once more unto the Breach” and all that. England are not a team of Nicolas Anelka’s. Never have been, never will be.

It is therefore disturbing to point out that there were players out there yesterday (Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard etc.) who not only played poorly but didn’t give 110%. That is unforgiveable.

However, we the England fans, will forgive you if you beat Slovenia on Friday. You have to wear the Three Lions jersey with pride though. Yes there is pressure and expectation. Yes you will be mercilessly pilloried and castigated if you don’t qualify for the next round but rise above that.

If you want some help with the mental side of things, try some visualisation. Imagine what John Terry would like to do with Wayne Bridge’s ex-wife and apply that, in a nice wholesome, family friendly, positive way, to Slovenia.

Fabio. Your defence is Ok. Upson or Dawson for Jamie is fine but let’s sort out the midfield and attack please. START JOE COLE. Drop Heskey. Play Gerrard up front off Rooney and then we can start playing some real football, not all this kick and rush nonsense that Der Kaiser is rightly moaning about.

and so the soap opera moves on to Port Elizabeth. Will it be a Rorke’s Drift (which British history records as a glorious victory but conveniently forgets that the British Army was wiped out the day before at Isandlwana)

OR

will it be an Agincourt where we really did play a good game and gave Nicolas Anelka a thorough drubbing

All the England fans are busily reminding and reassuring each other of Italia ’90 where we had 2 draws initially, won the last group game and amazingly went on to reach the semi-finals, only to lose to one of the immutable Laws of Nature “Germans always win penalty shoot-outs”.

It could happen. This could be the Great Escape Mark II but if it isn’t and if we don’t then Fabio’s subsequent press conference will be about as comfortable as Tony Hayward’s day in front of Congress this week.

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One Comment on “England stand on the precipice”

  1. Davdin Says:

    I really hope England will go through. I mean, Capello is supposed to be bloody good so it’s time for him to show what he can do besides taking the big money he is given.


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