Not only do the players not care about international football anymore, but it seems that neither do the public. In a recent poll on the Wembley Stadium website where 57,869 votes were cast, the 2007 Muse concert was announced Wembley’s Greatest Event.
Maybe they forgot that the 1966 World Cup final between England and Germany was held at Wembley? Well… no they didn’t. The biggest ever England international match was in fact 5th in the poll. Just 5th? In my eyes that is genuinely disgraceful.
In fact Michael Jackson, Queen and Take That’s tours were also ranked ahead of the 1966 World Cup Final. Even though I was not even alive the last time we have won the World Cup, for anyone to say that beating Germany in a home World Cup final isn’t the greatest event to ever take place at Wembley Stadium is just utterly wrong.
Is there a big demise in support for the national team? I am inclined to think so. It was only this time last year where our national side got stuffed by the Germans, albeit in extraordinary circumstances. Since then whenever there is an international match I see next to no support for the national side.
Why is there a demise? I honestly don’t think I can speak for everyone on this matter since I support England every time we play, however I do believe one of the reasons is the lack of success. The demands put onto the players can take its toll. Every year we see examples of people demanding instant success. Instant success is the burden that new Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas is holding on his shoulders and like every other Chelsea manager, if he does not win anything he will be out.
Maybe it is due to the old cliché, club > country. It is possibly one of the worst phrases ever and one that I don’t agree with. They should both be on a par because as a football fan living in England you should be supporting both your club and country equally. You should be supporting England no matter the circumstance.
As for the row between club and country for players, I don’t see why there is a row. Only around 40% of the players in the Premiership are actually eligible to play for the England national side. They should be able to select whoever they want and the player selected should want to play for England especially because the pool of players is not that great. I concede that I never agree on the selections though, but I am not the manager.
Anyway what caused this demise? I put it down to when England failed to qualify for Euro 2008. Putting that into an international context, I suppose that would be the equivalent of River Plate being relegated? Ok not that bad then, there was no rioting. It was still a dark moment internationally and I honestly believe that the public have not recovered from it and I doubt the majority of people ever will.
How can England gain back the support that has been lost? It is simple. Get to the final of a tournament. As soon as that happens everyone becomes England fans again. A lot of football fans are fickle. Well at least I think they are. You just have to look at the support that Chelsea gained after Abramovich took over. Half of the Fulham fans defected to Chelsea. It’s good when you’re winning right? Even my Arsenal supporting friend defected to Chelsea!
Even on a European scale national pride is dead. Just as in 2009 when Manchester United played vs Barcelona in the champions league final, it was clear to see that the whole country was once again against us winning. I think this Sir Alex Ferguson quote sums it all up:
“It was a fantastic feat and the whole country was behind them when Celtic won in 1967, everybody was behind them that night – even Rangers fans.”
“It’s a different story here. We’re in a country with a lot of tribalism. Liverpool fans, United fans, fans from the north, south, east and west. There’s a lot of tribalism.”
“You’re not going to get unanimous support.”
And he is totally on the money. He couldn’t have summed it up any better really. Will the pride in all things English in football ever return? At least for the near future, I think not. Feel free to comment below.