Euro 2020…Football is back, Euphoria at a cost?
Where do we begin?
I’ll start by drowning in the glory of what was a fantastic football tournament, needless to say we all needed this particular competition more than we actually knew…
Yes, Football had re-emerged from a quite frankly obscure moment in time as we were all banished to our bedrooms by a Government or two, and yes football returned in a kind of dispirited version of what it represents for all of us…
it returned in screen mode.
Could anyone really and truly allude to what football and supporting your team truly meant behind the camera lens…for me its a big NO.
Yes Yes, “Football belongs to the fans” and this much used anecdote which was sprouted and flourished by the likes of Lineker and Wright over the past (i almost said few months) year or two has become a main stay.
A new interpretation of what really matters amongst the “glitz and glamour” that is Modern Football.
Like we didn’t know…
From the view of my screen I watched as player after player reeled away towards an empty stanchion…with empty seats…in empty celebration…with an empty heart.
Certainly, Football had managed to become a bore. Verdant football supporters left to close the plastic lid of their laptop and dream of the post match sanctuary that is…a public house.
In the not so distant future a band of brothers emerged from the green and pleasant hills of England, clad head to toe in Versace and riding upon rainbow coloured inflatable unicorns. The public threw roses at their feet and adored their new found exuberance as they headed into battle…this is a true story kids.
England were back at a major tournament, pubs were open, face masks were off and we all caught hold of Southgate Fever. No, this fever did not require a vaccine, just a penalty shootout that managed to sober up a whole nation in a matter of seconds. A nation thrown back into the old ways, the old feelings, the misery of not lifting a major trophy for a mere 55 years.
Go on, admit it, we could all vision Harry Kane marching that trophy around Wembley to the tune of “Sweet Caroline”…go on, admit it…good times never felt so good.
A midfield trio of Vertatti, Barella, Jorginho was just too good. Possession stats alone proved the Italians dominance in the midfield. Couple this with a vastly experienced Chiellini rallying his Legions with the “Barritus”…Azzurri were a team living up to its impressive record of not losing a football match in 33 games.
Still…we all donned the Three Lions “Its Coming Home” spectacles and prophesied to each other that history was in the making. Our young, hungry, professional England squad had a new vigour, a new look, a new confidence and we all dreamt big with rainbow coloured inflatable unicorns in the sky.
With 1966 spinning in the memory and Baddiel and Skinner ringing through our ears all roads led to Wembley Way…the Mecca of English Football…more rainbows…jubilation and a quitissential pint of English Ale…???
What followed was at very best a quagmire of a disturbed and out of control country. To this day im still not sure what i witnessed and how it is possible to sum it up in words.
Underneath the Pearl white arch of what is one of World footballs most iconic stadiums, carnage ensued. Grown balding men scampered around the concourse of Wembley Stadium, ticketless, delirious and in a kind of slow desperate, perspiring rage to gain free access to the final. They weren’t the only ones, Youth, Women, Cats and Dogs. Everyone was at it in what was a bizarre and malicious tactic of constantly bombarding every possible disabled entrance.
Yes you’ve got it…this mob targeted a weakness created to allow easier access to the stadium for supporters with disabilities. Dangerous stampedes and complete disregard for quite frankly anything continued throughout the match. Not to mention the stench and deluge of litter left behind resembling a B-Rated Zombie Apocalypse Movie.
Wembley Way will never be the same. soiled.
So the sun finally set on England’s Euro adventure and the Wembley Arch blazed the Green, White and Red of the Azzurri. The Italians triumphant and our Young Lions left to lick their wounds.
The worlds public watched on as disgraceful and disgusting keyboard warriors sprouted the most vile racist attack on Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jordan Sancho. There is no place in the World for any level of racism but for this young squad to be attacked in this way was inconceivable and profoundly unacceptable.
The Good, The Bad and the Downright Ugly almost certainly left what is a much celebrated and loved England team with…Three Lions in the Dirt.