I wasn’t old enough to comprehend Italia 90 and Euro 96. But Gazza’s tears that image is Iconic. Southgate’s missed penalty. Pictures paint a thousand words. But to me these were just stories; anecdotes of England’s “golden days” something up until the last 3 or 4 weeks I NEVER thought i’d ever experience.
Going into the tournament I was one of those; unsure over what type of appointment Gareth Southgate would be; clamouring & hoping he takes some of our young talent “just be brave Gareth” ….. “be fearless” just go for it. He’s a good lad our Gareth.
In terms of our performance “we’ll be lucky to get out the groups” ….. “we’ll get knocked out in the round of 16”
I speak for everyone when I say this is a tough thing to swallow because they made us believe. Big grown men & women belting out renditions of “football’s coming home” “on & on” and many other classics but they did so much more….
They inspired so many young kids who have this as there first proper football memory. People that have no interest in the sport; “It’s only football” …. “it’s just a game” no it’s not. Its THE GAME and way more than just football this world cup in particular. Was just Bewildering. The drama, the results the subplots. It had everything.
This time it was different; this wasn’t 2002 & Ronaldinho lobbing Seaman.
It wasn’t 2006 and Ronaldo’s infamous wink.
This wasn’t the utter disbelief & rage of Lampard’s goal that was clearly a goal; but wasn’t a goal of 2010.
And it most certainly wasn’t 2014 when we were all disconnected, disinterested and just embarrassed by the event’s that took place.
Gareth as a coach has shown immense bravery and belief in himself; his staff and his players. Draw out a plan. Keep your messages relevant & clear above all belief in what you set out no matter what.
The coming generation will want to be the Jordan Pickford’s , Harry Maguire’s & Kieran Tripper’s of tomorrow and that’s something to smile about.
This team & Gareth did something that people past failed to do and something that needed to be done. Understand the current generation and reconnect with it.
It hurts. & the scenes if we went all the way and won the World cup you couldn’t help but imagine but all I can say to the manager & the team is thank you.
For THAT last minute win
For THAT win against Panama
For THAT Pickford save
For THAT penalty shootout
More importantly there will come a time I’ll tell my children about the summer of 2018
All the above will be mentioned. I’ll tell them how it was unified, one big party every time a game was on…. the heatwave we had. Only difference is by then with a sense of confidence & normality we’ll be able to say……
Football’s coming home.