Tag: England

Jack Wilshere In ‘Is Twenty-One Years Old’ Shock

It often seems as if, whenever a professional footballer opens his mouth in public, there is one phrase, varyingly attributed to Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln and others, that springs immediately to mind: it is better to remain silent and be considered a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove any doubt. This week’s outrage du jour concerns the Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, who has had a busy few days, first being caught smoking a cigarette outside a nightclub in London and then offering his opinions on who should and who shouldn’t be allowed to play for the England national team. Since there’s an England match at the end of this week, a predictable mass hysteria has descended upon a player who has previously been reasonably well protected from the worst excesses of the media, but this week Wilshere has likely learnt a couple of harsh lessons about the nature of the glare of the media spotlight. Getting caught en fumant might be looked upon as a youthful mistake, as might the compoundment of this mortal sin by apparently fibbing about what was going on at the time. In our current climate with regard to smoking, Wilshere might scarcely have been more greatly castigated had he been photographed with underage prostitute sitting on his knee whilst holding a crack pipe in his hand, but this is neither here nor...

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England Shoot Blanks In Kiev

Repeat the mantra after me. It’s a results-based business. It’s a results-based business. Roy Hodgson must be thanking his lucky stars that this is the case this evening after England misplaced, mistimed and misadventured their way to a goalless draw in Kiev this evening, a result that does leave their qualification for next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil – although how much reassurance this may offer England supporters who watch this match through the gaps between their fingers may come to depend upon whether a factory reset can be applied to this rag tag assortment of journeymen and ne’er-do-wells in order to get them to learn the basics of the game all over again within the next couple of months. It’s not about a sense of inflated expectation, this, by the way. You have to be pushing fifty years old in order to remember an England team that came some way towards being world class – and, before any angries of Tunbridge Wells start licking ther lips and sharpening their pencils, England were the fourth best team at the worst World Cup finals of all in 1990 and went through distinct phases of riding their luck on home ground in the European Championships six years later – so there aren’t many of us under a certain age who have had any just cause to get ideas above our...

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From Diamond To Swoosh: England Sever Their Umbro Ties

We’ve been here before, of course. The news that the Football Association has decided to jettison Umbro as the manufacturers of the England national teams kit in favour of the brand that owns it, Nike, has been a long time coming and should be no great surprise to many seasoned kit-watchers. Although much has been of the tradition and apparent permanence of this particular contract, this is not even the first time that Umbro has been replaced as the England kit manufacturer since football shirts started to become adorned with manufacturers logos in the middle of the 1970s. Umbro have flirted with – and entered into a more committed relationship with – the England national team since the early 1950s. They took on the job from a little known company called St Blair in 1954 before losing the contract to Bukta in 1961. That they should have won it back for the start of the 1965/66 season may well, however, be the single biggest contributing factor behind why they have kept the contract for most of the previous three decades. The simple, elegant designs used by the England team between 1965 and 1974 are considered by some to be a high point in the history of the design of football kits, but when the national team failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup finals, a clean sweep at...

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England At Euro 2012: A “Neutral” Speaks

Eamon Dunphy got it right. The “outspoken” pundit for Irish state television (RTE) said on Saturday night that “England won’t score, they have no creative players…it’ll go to penalties and Italy will go through.” It was a stroke of luck for Dunphy, who rather slurred his way through a short interview on RTE Radio, as he “was preparing for the Spain v France game.” As interviewer Joanne Cantwell semi-gleefully noted, “you did tip Holland to win it, Eamon.” Indeed, Eamon said a lot. It’s almost his job to be controversial for whatever reason – a story that requires another article which I’ll spare you. And he was particularly disparaging towards the English media’s assessment of Roy Hodgson’s team. “I’ve been in stitches reading the English papers today,” he said. “They love Roy Hodgson. They think they’re going to win it.” And, on this narrow point at least, he sort of had a point. English media pundits have been desperate to keep a tin lid on their normally bullish consideration of England’s chances at international finals for which they’ve qualified. And, up to a point, they did. But past that point, a day or so after the scruffy 1-0 win over Ukraine, the instances of “we can win this you know” and variants thereof began to grow. The BBC’s Jonathan Pearce even managed to shoe-horn “there’s a growing belief that...

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