clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Roker Ramble: England 2016 - One Team To Rule Them All?

New, comments

England’s track record with major tournaments is... spotty, let's say. Another way of putting it is bloody horrific considering this country is supposedly "the home of football".

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

As per common knowledge we have one major tournament win under our belt - the 1966 World Cup.

That having occurred fifty years ago there are, understandably, fewer and fewer fans that can say they remember that day and the no-doubt raucous jubilation of such a conquest for our nations footballing pride. I most certainly am not one of them; my father was a much younger man stationed with the British Armed Forces in Dusseldorf, Germany.

When probed on the subject he recalls, with a wry grin, sitting in a little village pub with thirty squaddies watching the match on mute with a radio tuned in to the English commentary.

"Whatever you do lads," they had been warned by their superior, "if we win, do NOT go out on the town and celebrate. Stay in Barracks. We are in Germany, after all." So, who’s up for disobeying orders?

They could all be found riding jeeps through the nearby villages and laughing manically at the misfortune of the poor inhabitants of those little rural pubs. That said, he recalls with fondness the humility of the German people. They were buying the lads drinks, shaking their hands, congratulating them.

All that sounds quite the opposite from what you might expect these days; all the rage and stress of a disparate world surrounding us, hard times at work, hard times out of work, hard times everywhere really - unleashed, unchecked, from the terraces of our stadiums. It's one of the few things that keep us in line as a somewhat bestial species - that sense of kinship and brotherhood with every man around you flying the same banner, that primitive need for combat and competition given form in the beautiful game. Or, if you're a Russian, taking form in wide-scale ethnic cleansing of some kind from the looks of it.

It has been said often, mostly by West Ham fans, that due to the trio of Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst contributing so heavily to England’s world cup campaign that "West Ham won the World Cup."

I won't go in to the ridiculousness of that statement too much. Let them have that little bit of glory, I say, and most that I've spoken to don't use it as anything more than a throwaway comment. Obviously there are more than three players on a pitch and if we had had only those three players on the pitch we would have not only been disqualified but, allowed to play, would have been rightly humiliated with a ridiculous treble figure scoreline and blah blah and so on and so forth. So we can safely rule out that, despite Geoff Hurst’s wondrous hat-trick (still a record for the only hat trick in a World Cup final), the Cup doesn't belong in Newham.

Now we flash forward those sixty years and we're at the Euros. Five of our players picked regularly are Tottenham Hotspur players. Dele Alli is a firecracker of a liability and he will see a red before this tournament ends, I'd put money on that, not to mention his gangly efforts of controlling the ball in Crouch-esque style lead to us losing possession as soon as he moves anywhere near the penalty area. Harry Kane is a shooter, quite simply. He isn't an aerial presence and his talent pretty much begins and ends with looking at the goal and putting his foot through the ball, which is still an admirable and desired skill, I must say. I also find his face hard to look at without wanting to slap it in to a less gormless position, but that's neither here nor there.

I could go on and on and on about the poor quality of the current England crop, listing each and every players faults and most importantly their recent form, but I'm sure we've all been exasperated by such articles since the final squad was announced. I can say for certain that I've uttered the words "Defoe would have scored that" at least four times in three games, which interestingly enough would have been goals that would have secured two more victories. Sour grapes? No, just common sense that Roy Hodgson and the Football Association seem to have been lacking for some years now. Wilshere!? I mean COME ON PEOPLE!

But this isn't so much about my opinion as it is yours. If somehow we manage to progress to the final and each Spurs player selected to take part manages the full ninety minutes (which Hodgson seems to enjoy the thought of) AND, I'm laughing here, we somehow WIN this tournament, will the gratitude for the win fall solely at Roy Hodgson and his Spurs warriors? Certainly it will vindicate Hodgson's selection and he'll be on off on his holidays with a new England contract, draining money from grassroots football on a man that I believe would not deserve the honour of winning this tournament.

So to summarise - if we win the Euros, will everyone be laying the laurels on the heads of the Tottenham Hotspur players, even if Danny Rose can't take on a Slovakian full-back or Eric Dier sends the ball to the gods from thirty yards out instead of, you know, passing the ball to a team mate?

One thing is certain - a new chant would be born on the terraces of White Hart Lane and the West Ham derby will be a teeth-clenching, white-knuckled barrage with the added addition of "We won the Euros" vs "We won the World Cup." I firmly believe neither would be a true statement, regardless of how Euro 2016 pans out.