England football fans – face up to reality
Having just put on my suit of armour, as a fan of the much tougher sport of rugby league, where players do not writhe on the pitch in agony after the slightest physical contact and then make a miraculous recovery helped by the magic sponge and the award of a hoped-for free kick, I am writing to ask the FA and all England football supporters to face up to reality in assessing the team’s performance at the World Cup.
While not being a fan of football, I still wished England every success in their quest to return with the cup, last brought to these shores in 1966.
Am I alone in thinking that the national media has blown out of all proportion the coverage and accolades given to the team and manager in their progress during the competition – and overrated our players’ performance?
By all means support the team, but do not be blinded by patriotic fervour in believing that the team is playing better than it actually is.
To put the team’s performance into a true perspective, they were fortunate to have a comparatively easy group draw with Belgium, Panama, Tunisia – hardly mainstream opponents at World Cup level.
To help their progress, having lost to Belgium 1-0 after making eight team changes and finishing second in the group, the fact that the mainstream teams Brazil, Spain, Germany and Argentina were all beaten made our task easier as to facing further “formidable” opposition to the final.
At the knock-out stage, we drew 1-1 with Colombia and won on penalties, thanks to them missing a kick after our initial miss.
Fair enough, we beat Sweden 2-0, again hardly a top flight team, and then lost to Croatia 2-1 in the semi final. To cap it all, we then lost again to Belgium 2-0 in the play-off for the bronze medal.
Hardly the play that football dreams are made of – as when our lads triumphed in 1966 against much tougher opposition.
Pictured: England manager Gareth Southgate – but was the team’s performance overrated by the national media?
Britain will be an outsider
In case anyone has not noticed, the EU has signed a huge trade deal with Japan.
This is a deal that cuts or eliminates tariffs on nearly all goods, covers 600 million people and almost a third of the global economy.
It will remove tariffs on European exports such as cheese and wine.
Japanese carmakers and electronics firms will face fewer barriers in the EU.
While the UK prepares to leave the EU – the world’s second largest economy, containing 500 million people – we will also have to renegotiate about 80 trade agreements that we currently enjoy by being members of the EU.
This includes the agreement with Japan which, if we want to protect thousands of jobs at car companies like Nissan and Honda, the UK will have to replicate.
If we do not, then investment will surely flow to countries in the single market.
Leaving the EU means not only removing ourselves from the largest single market in the world, with the economic benefits which this brings, but we will also have to begin the lengthy negotiations to strike bilateral trade agreements with those very same countries the EU already has links with and which we currently benefit from. Britain will be left in the position of an outsider torn apart by factions trying to make an unworkable policy work.
P ’in the EU’ enwortham
Find out more at museum
I read with interest Bob Winder’s interesting letter, outlining childhood memories of using the Fleetwood to Knott End Ferry service (LP Letters, July 19).
During the later 1940s, the service was conveying up to one and a half million passengers per year.
Fortunately, despite occasional uncertainty, the service is still operating – much as it originated in Victorian days.
Bob referred to Angel Norris’s splendid recently published book about the ferry.
It offers a wonderful in-depth history of the service and many of the ’characters’ associated with it. Copies of the book are available from Fleetwood Museum shop, with the museum displaying a fine scale model of the old Wyresdale and historic archive film of the busy ferry operating.
Vital public safety role
Personally, I don’t support strikes, but having spoken to a family member whose father was a guard on passenger trains in the past, I see this as a vital public safety role, as well as involving the collection of the right tickets from the passengers.
A driver-only train? This is not possible, as the driver has enough to do to keep the train running on time and safely. The same applies to bus drivers while on the move. The train driver simply does not have the time to see to a disabled person up a ramp, put it away and run along the platform or through a crowded train to get to his compartment, with folks stopping him or her to ask when might the next connection for their next train run.
If somebody falls ill or there is a fight, a driver doesn’t have eyes at the back of their head.