FOL­LOW­ING ENG­LAND

Forget the foot­ball...

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - CONTENTS -

all, make sen­si­ble de­ci­sions about team style, for­ma­tions and se­lec­tion. His three-match qual­i­fy­ing au­di­tion has not moved Eng­land for­ward.

Why bother with Wem­b­ley? I had not watched Eng­land at ‘the home of foot­ball’ for 20 years be­fore the 2-0 win against Malta. It was the most de­press­ing match I have ever been to in 45 years.

A dis­jointed Eng­land team played be­fore the most list­less crowd in a sta­dium with­out one ounce of at­mos­phere. No stand­ing up, no singing and def­i­nitely no in­tim­i­dat­ing crowd.

Even in the Eng­land ‘home’ end, we had nu­mer­ous tourist fans tak­ing selfie af­ter selfie. Mex­i­can waves have no place in English foot­ball, too.

The Scot­land match was slightly bet­ter. Is it me or has Wem­b­ley been de­signed so you can’t hear sup­port­ers singing at the op­po­site end of the ground?

The free t-shirts given away by the FA came in for good use, be­ing twirled above sup­port­ers’ heads!

It’s time for an Eng­land fan rev­o­lu­tion at home, too. Make it stand­ing room only in the home end. Bring back the fun sup­port­ing el­e­ment. Let’s look to cre­ate an Eng­land style. No Ice­landic clap­ping but maybe in­tro­duce the Derby County bounce? So what’s the point of fol­low­ing Eng­land? Well, it all comes down to ig­nor­ing the foot­ball. It’s about tak­ing plea­sure in ev­ery- thing else. Meet­ing up with friends, trav­el­ling to the games, singing in pubs the night be­fore­hand. Add in vis­it­ing new lo­ca­tions like Ljubl­jana and Bratislava (where are these places?) and you have two long week­ends a year to have fun. The away games make it the rea­son why fol­low­ing Eng­land is still worth­while. As sup­port­ers we may not be able to rep­re­sent Eng­land on the pitch but we can do so off it in Europe away from home. This brings up some in­ter­est­ing cul­ture clashes. In Bratislava we had the lovely con­trast be­tween clog-wear­ing lo­cals in tra­di­tional peas­ant out­fits tap danc­ing their way round the main square, whilst Eng­land fans stood round the cor­ner singing their own form of tra­di­tional folk song. Four nights in a for­eign coun­try with new sights, new foods and friends makes you re­alise the foot­ball is in­ci­den­tal. We’ve come to ac­cept that what hap­pens on the pitch is largely point­less. It would be safe to say as fans that we have ac­cepted that the play­ers, the man­age­ment and the foot­ball world it­self are now so far re­moved from real life that what hap­pens on the pitch gen­er­ally doesn’t mat­ter that much. We know the man­ager and the play­ers are ob­scenely over­paid and are likely to un­der­per­form for years to come. The point of fol­low­ing Eng­land is clear. Ig­nore the foot­ball and sim­ply have fun as if Jamie Vardy is hav­ing a party!

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