I gave up watching the national team a long time ago, save for that first week or so at a major finals before they are headed to the airport and home.
So, therefore I didn’t watch last night but it sounded truly diabolical with fans resorting to throwing paper airplanes at each other. Only Kane and Rashford showing any kind of hope for next year’s finals. Hope and those two alone will not get us very far.
In modern football and with the benefit of a far more variegated Europe we have to be grateful for the tinier nations because I can still remember when we didn’t qualify for tournaments. That used to be desperate. In my formative year England missing from the 1974 and 1978 World Cups didn’t sully my enjoyment, probably because watching live the world’s best players was such a rare joy.
We missed out on the 1984 Euros, Alan Simonsen putting the nail in that coffin. Then there was that fateful night in San Marino when we actually went behind to a TV salesman’s goal, and Graham Taylor’s side failed to qualify for USA ’94. The wally with the brolly holds the not very distinguished title of being the last England manager to fail to qualify for a tournament, Euro 2008.
So we should at least be grateful that England can take their place in Russia as we have an interest and I for one hope that Wales, Scotland and Josh Magennis’ Northern Ireland can get there too.