I'm 56, so when I was at school at the age of 6 I had a sense that England had won the world cup and then I grew up with the impression that England were a great footballing nation. I remember I used to play football at school and there were kids that were a lot better than me, but I liked playing football. Then once or twice a through ball came through to me and it was me and the goalie and two occasions I put the ball wide or straight at the goalie. This wasn't school football, this was playground football and got an incredible amount of abuse thrown at me and I felt absolutely mortified and embarrassed and it acted as the death knell of my enthusiasm for the game. Despite that I went on to watch football and each year the Euro's and the world cup came around I sat there expecting 1966 style greatness. It never happened. By the time I was in my 40's I saw the pattern and gave up, but each time being English and liking sport, I dragged in again and was let down again.
In recent years I've kept an eye on the progress of this team and noted what Leicester did this year in the premier league, going some way to prove that money isn't always the driving force in the way that the transfer market would suggest. The fact that Wayne Rooney and the geezer that has been hit with the ugly stick.... Kane? are paid £35,000 per week or more is obscene given what they do. Then to be wearing an England shirt and miss the goal or 5 yard passes in the way that they did tonight makes a mockery of the fact that they are supposed to be professional footballers, not only that but footballers from what is allegedly one of the greatest leagues in football. It wasn't like these mistakes were made once or twice, but again and again and again.
I'm guessing they'll get back in their flash cars tonight and within a matter of days they'll be in Florida Keys sunning themselves having a holiday ready to moan about having to come back and train in 4 or 5 weeks time at £35,000 a week? Meanwhile Hodgson bails out without having to explain himself having been paid God knows how many millions to let the whole country down. The pundits in the ITV studio - his mates, they're all in this together remember, make the point that it looked a bit shoddy and disorganised - why? What's Hodgson been saying, where was the plan, why did they play so badly -is it that complicated? What happened to kicking the ball into a space 22' wide 9' high - they couldn't do it, yet the Icelandic blokes who are sold as amateurs did it and did so with so much more passion.
Hodgson, in his final words as he wormed his way quickly out of his role alluded to what I believe is to be true... "Before I got the job, I'd heard that players didn't turn up for England or they'd pull out, the lads didn't".
So where did that come from? Or is that as I believe the reality - Had they all sat in the changing rooms before the match saying "For F**C sakes if we go through, that means I'm only going to get 2 weeks holiday this year.. I'll be glad when this is all over"?
The pundits made the excuse that it was the pressure - well of course they would, they're football players as well!
I wonder what would happen if the players were selected from the first division sides - players that earn less, players with the hunger to make their mark, players with normal ego's... Players akin to the Icelandic team?
I'll try and stick to cricket in future, their wages are more realistic in line with what they do, and they're winners not losers.