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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Delusional England Supporters need to STFU

It was as predictable, as it is laughable. The usual chorus of indignation from England supporters after the 3 Lions crashed out at the hands of a sterling performance from the Azurri on Sunday brought forth an all too expected torrent of tirades from the boo boys. He's too negative, his style is too old fashioned, he's this, & he's that blah, blah, blah.

The truth many, if not most, England don't wish to hear is that Roy Hodgson did a damn good job with what he had to work with, which wasn't that much. Only taking over 2 months prior to the Euros, Woy of the Wovers had to contend with a slew of injuries to key players like Lampard & Barry & the continuing saga of the John Terry racism scandal & whether or not Rio Ferdinand should have been taken to the tournament, & lest we forget, the reality that the 3 Lions' top player, Rooney, was unavailable for the 1st 2 games of the Euros. He also had little time to help his squad adapt to a new coaching staff &  tactics & methods which for most, were completely unfamiliar with. A tough task, but Hodgson pulled it off, far better than most sensible people believe.

Now i'm not going to sit here & say that Roy was perfect. I do agree with his critics that he got a good deal wrong in the quarterfinal vs Italy. They were waaaaay too cautious to the point of negative for 90, showing not even the slightest bit of offensive ambition & come extra time, England were clearly trying to play for penalties, which certainly made me laugh given their notorious history in shootouts. Then there was the choice of subs. Jordan Henderson on for Scotty Parker was, umm, bizarre, to be as nice as I possibly can. Sunday was a match to forget to be sure.

Keep in mind, though, that it was just 1 game, albeit the most crucial one. In the first 3, however, Hodgson did well. Grinding out a draw against a far more gifted French side was a result most watchers of England would have been quite satisfied with before kickoff. It gave the confidence to go on & put in a tremendous display of determination & fighting spirit, coming from behind to score 2 late goals against Sweden & nick a victory late was one of the best England performances I saw in years. The old England would have folded like a cheap card table & give up, but not Woy's Boys. A workmanlike win in the last game against host Ukraine, took England to the top of the group with 7 points. How many seriously thought that was possible beforehand? All in all it was  a tournament performance worthy of a passing grade & a chance to be given a chance to implement his vision.

While he was not the ideal manager for Liverpool when he came on board, Woy is the right man for the England job at this juncture. England need a major overhaul, not just of the national team, but of how soccer operates in the birthplace of the sport. Simply put, England just aren't that good a side. If their level of talent was equal to their supporters' levels of arrogance & hubris, England would have won the Euros, scoring 4 or 5 every game. Now it looked early on as if England fans finally woke up to the state of the 3 Lions, but by the end of the group stage they were back to familiar habits, believing their boys were the equal of Spain, Germany &  all the other world powers. They most certainly are not. The 2 aforementioned countries are stacked with talent. It is more than realistic that both could field 2 teams better than England, & in Spain's case I believe they could put out a 3rd that is their equal. English clubs are horrible at developing their young players, & need a serious rethink as to how they develop the promising young talent so that, one day, they can stand toe to toes with the Spains & Germany of the world. As it stands, England would get played off the park by them & a number of other countrie, the future is rather bleak without meaningful reforms, which Roy has experience in doing, if he is given a fair chance to do so.

Now some of you will say that as a Liverpool fan, where do I get off defending Hodgson, seeing as how his time at Anfield was a spectacular failure? In my opinion, the deck was stacked against him from the get go & was doomed to failure. He came to the club at a time of great turmoil, as the foundations of it were crumbling under the incompetent stewardship of Hicks & Gillette. The fact the Woy was seen as "their man" was bad enough, but he also had the misfortune of filling the shoes of Rafa, beloved by the Kop to this day. Add in the negative vibe around LFC & the fact he had zero money to spend & was forced to sell players in order to buy & rely on free transfers & no wonder it didn't work out. If anyone thinks for a minute that, if he had access to the sums of cash King Kenny spent during his 2nd spell as manager, he would have bought the likes of Paul Konchesky & Christian Poulsen, then you are quite mistaken.

Bottom line, England fans, it's time to wake up & grow up. You're not the big deal you all seem to think you are. You are not a formidable, all conquering world power, just a middling European nation that has the tendancy to punch above it's weight. It's time to stifle the narcissism & accept the fact that a lot of hard work lies ahead & by not being a constant pain in the arse for the manager & the FA will make that task much easier & be done in an expedited fashion. So for once in our soccer supporting live, shut the f*ck up.

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