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reader comments regarding the England team or international football. Send
your remarks to
Online and we'll try to put them up soon after we get them. Please tell us your name, city or town and country.
Younger readers are welcome to contribute.
Nigel Sloan, Grimsby,
Canada, 11 October 2004, on Beckham as captain:
Is Becks fit to captain the boys any longer? Despite his
timely and sublime goals the red
mist descends when pretty boy takes a knock or two.
His behaviour in the '98 Argentina match just might be put down to youth.
His behaviour on Saturday though, cannot be so easily explained away.
He was body checked by a frustrated fourth rate Welsh clogger.
His rib(s) was cracked. But
in that atmosphere and environment (not
to mention pay bracket) what does he expect? Becks should have matured by now.
England cannot afford his self destructive "leadership" if it hopes to
mount a serious bit in Germany two years hence.
To whom should the armband go?
PY: We debated this by
e-mail during and right after the match with one of our website colleagues,
Chris Goodwin, who asked whether Beckham might have planned it to wipe clean
his yellow card slate since it would only cost him a suspension for the next
match against one of the group's alleged minnows, Azerbaijan.
Originally our response was that if he planned it to clear his yellow card
slate, it was only because he himself didn't want the bother of going to Azerbaijan and
that it would have been preferable from the team's standpoint that he serve his
two-cards-in-the-competition suspension in one of the
following two matches against Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan, both at home,
rather than in the Azerbaijan away match. And, in any event, the way in which he went about it was
risky; he took the chance of a red card expulsion against Wales. Then
it turned out he was injured and might have missed the Azerbaijan away match
anyway, which would mean it was a smart move to serve the suspension in that
match, giving him a clean slate the rest of the way. But we have doubts that it was planned, and you are right, it doesn't leave Beckham
looking like a captain capable of leading the team. Whether he is captain
or not, Beckham's impetuosity may cost England dearly again one day, as it did
against Argentina at World Cup 1998.
Gianluca Ottone, Savigliano, Italy, 8
October 2004, on England’s strip:
I couldn't agree more with you, Colin Wood, about your
comment on the England current strip (by Umbro). I want back the plain white shirt, the red numbers (!!!) and
the yellow one for keepers and not all that rubbish of sky blue, navy blue with
red flashes, etc.
And to finish, I don't want the gold star (leave it to
France, Italy, Brasil ...England don't need a star to remember the 1966 triumph)
and the writing "England" on the Three Lions. Thank you
Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, U.K., 6 October 2004, on England’s strip:
I totally agree with Phil Jones' comments (19th
September 2004) on the current England kit. Every two years
we wait to see what travesty Umbro come up with in their interpretation of our
national team's colours. Why do Umbro have "ENGLAND" over
the three lions??? Anybody in the
world who watches football knows the three lions crest IS England, no
explanation necessary. And who at Umbro thought of the ridiculous gold
star? We all know we won the World Cup in '66 and we're long overdue for another
title but we don't need to advertise the fact.
As Peter Young said, "it's all change for change
sake" (or in Umbro's case: money's sake).
I love our traditional strip from the 60's and early 70's: Plain
white shirts with the three lions over the heart and a red number (no name) on
the back, plain navy blue shorts, plain white socks. Pure and simple evoking
the golden years of Mr R.F.C. Moore et al. Obviously this format is not
sophisticated enough for the Umbro designers but maybe they should look at the
demand TOFFS experience for their replica retro shirts.
I'm probably going over old ground but the two things
that spoil my enjoyment of watching my country play football is our
disastrous kit designs and our failure to hang onto an early lead..
PY: We would allow Umbro to change only two
things--the fabric from which the strip is made to take account of technological
advances and the strip's fit--loose or tight, long or short--to suit the fashion
of the day.
Ottone, Savigliano, Italy, 4 October 2004, on supporting England from Italy:
I know maybe, for you and your readers my situation is
a bit strange, but I'm Italian and a true supporter of England national team
since I was a kid. I'm a lover of English football at every level (from
the top flight to non league) in particular the English football of the 60's and 70's. I'm probably one of the
most important collectors of English football memorabilia outside England
(stadium postcards, badges, rosettes, programmes, magazines, books, yearbooks)
and I like also the English way of life, the traditions, culture, history and
I've visited a lot of places throughout your country. I've found your site
very, very interesting in particular for the shirts section ... congratulations.
PY: England Football
Online welcomes support for England from anywhere. Your mention of your
memorabilia collection gives us the chance to remind readers that if they are
able to fill in gaps in our information from their own memorabilia, we will be
grateful. The collective resources of our readers surely dwarf ours, and
readers who contribute will get credit on the website if they wish plus the
satisfaction of knowing they have helped make the England team history available
to all who have computer access.
Nigel Sloan, Grimsby,
Canada, 23 September 2004, on Brian Clough:
Here's an imponderable for the regulars.
Would Cloughie have made the great England manager so many people say he
would have? I suspect he'd have
fallen somewhere between bad and brilliant, say the Sir Bobby Robson level.
One thing he would have achieved was the competitive edge within the
camp. Sadly something completely
lost on Sven, Becks, Owen and the boys in Club England.
Answers on a postcard to the usual address.
A fiver to the first three correct entries received by 31 June 2017.
Rest In Peace Cloughie.
PY: It's a safe bet he'd
have been in controversy throughout his England tenure, which might not have
lasted long unless the results were superb. We would like to think he
could have pulled it off. But dealing with the F.A. and the clubs might
have driven him off the far end. He did not put up with nonsense, did
he? Yes, rest in peace, Cloughie; you earned it.
Phil Jones, Leigh,
Lancashire, England, 19 September 2004, on England’s strip:
Just been redirected to your superb site. Rest
assured it's now in my favourites!
Your uniforms section is of particular interest to me
& I was in full agreement when I read your comments on Umbro & the
F.A. between them degrading the shirt. A gold star indeed, they must
be wetting themselves on the streets of Montevideo! And an idea for Post
Office stamps. A big arrow with "This is the Queen" inside a
cartoon bubble! Thirdly, I know certain players have been completely
anonymous in their performances lately but do we really have to have their
names on the back of their jerseys in every game? Tournaments ok but
friendlies & qualifiers? There's just no need.
I dread to think what abomination we're going to be
faced with in March when the new home strip comes out. I've started being
more selective about buying shirts. I only get ones I actually like now
& then I'll only buy them once they're flogged off for half price before the
new one comes out, e.g., getting the current home shirt just before the Poland
game for £20. They can keep the current away shirt, it's awful!
Keep up the good work.
PY: We presume your very
apt postage stamp concept is directed at putting "England" at the top
of the three-lions
crest or on the shirt itself, as if further identification were needed.
When you have to churn out a new strip every year, what you get is change for
change's sake, nearly always a bad thing. It's all about money, of course,
and, sadly, what they are feeding on is the fervent desire of England's youngest
fans to own and wear the latest England strip. They simply must have
it. Our own preference is for the strip worn during the 1960s and early
1970s, plain white or plain red, unadorned by anything but the three-lions
crest. We would be happy were England to wear those classic shirts always.
Ian Forrester, Ealing,
London, 17 September 2004, on David James:
Thank the Lord: James has been dropped.
Much as it pains me to say “I told you so”, I told
you so. I refer to the comments I
made on 23rd and 24th June following David James’ errors in the game against
France. I find it highly irksome that it took another two James howlers for
Eriksson and Clemence, whose judgment has been so lauded in this forum by the
editors, to finally drop David James.
I quote: “James has been consistent enough to preserve
his place in the England team, and he is No. 1 in the opinion of the only man
that counts, Sven-Göran Eriksson, who takes goalkeeping advice from Ray
Clemence, although we suppose you question their judgment, too.” Frankly, yes,
until Robinson’s appointment last night, I did. And it would seem that they
have come around to doubting their own previous judgment too.
A goalkeeper needs one quality above all others,
consistency. James has never been consistent in his entire career. “Armchair
critics” and football pundits agree that James is prone to making mistakes; he
has “one in his locker”. This is the one thing that goalkeepers must not do
regularly, yet, as England fans, we have been incessantly subjected to the
miserable sight of James (draw a deep breath) fumbling crosses into oncoming
attackers; allowing shots that he should have easily saved to squirm under him;
coming out when he should have stayed on his line, leaving our goal dangerously
empty; getting no where near free kicks that another keeper may have pushed past
the post (need I continue?) TIME AND AGAIN for England, City and, previously,
Liverpool. And this in spite of the fact that “James religiously reviews
videotapes of his performances, and since he’s a pretty bright fellow and a
pretty experienced goalkeeper as well, we doubt he misses much”. Apart from
the ball when heading to our goal.
From this day forth I sincerely hope that all James does
just that, watch videotapes of England, without ever participating again. I wish
Robinson the best of luck in his fledgling England career, confident in the
belief that, at the very least, he will do a better job than James did. The
editors concluded my dressing down with the comment “We prefer Eriksson's
judgment over yours, at least on this.” Well now it seems our opinions on this
matter are finally aligned. So much the better for English football.
We can tell how pained you are, Ian.
Your message shrieks with pain! But
we suppose you are entitled to gloat since James did have a night of horror so
soon after you expressed your fervent hope he would be replaced. We’ve been wrong before, and no doubt we’ll be wrong
again. But we (and that’s an
editorial “we” since only one person is responsible for the editor’s
views) believed James was the best of a fairly mediocre lot, although he is
getting on. We shall see how
Robinson fares when he faces a real test. We
dearly hope it is much better than James did, if only for the team’s sake, but
we have our doubts since he does not have James’ capability of making the very
Nikki Hardman, Edgbaston, England, 13 September 2004, on Harold Payne Hardman:
This is the first time I've been on your site and as the
original footie chick I think it's great. However
as the great granddaughter of the above mentioned player I'd just like to point
out that you killed him off a little too soon.
He actually died on 9th June 1965 at the ripe old age of 83.
But apart from that the site is amazing .
P.S. Your misprint would mean that Manchester United had
a dead chairman sitting in the stands for a few years!
PY: Apologies, Nikki, for
inflicting this indignity on your illustrious great grandfather, who, among many other accomplishments, was an Olympic Games gold medal winner as a
member of Great Britain's 1908 team. It must have been a
typographical error because our sources give the same date you
do. Thank you for the correction, which has now been made. We hope other readers will write
in to correct the other mistakes which undoubtedly have crept on to a site
containing so much detailed information.
Nigel Sloan, Grimsby,
Canada, 13 September 2004, on the abandoned 1995 match against the Republic of
Oh dear, oh dear, looks like the old Celtic inferiority
complex is rearing its ugly head again. Even
in the face of fact and reasoned argument there's always a few who want to have
a go at England. A nice pint of
Murphy's Bigot's Stout for Gavin. Put
it on my slate.
Up the Irish!
Cork, Ireland, 10 September 2004, on the abandoned 1995 match against the
Republic of Ireland:
guys have a nice site there! However,
one bone of contention. You note
that as there was no mention of the 1-0 score between Ireland and England in
‘95 at Lansdowne Road when those disturbances broke out, that you wouldn't
record one either. However, if you
look on both the FAI and English FA sites, they in fact do list the result. And
as you said, caps were awarded.
it be great if anytime the result wasn’t going our way, we could simply throw
a tantrum, and have the whole match abandoned! A little akin to taking the ball
home if you don’t like how things are going in the playground.
Food for thought.
Last week we had a message from an English reader (now posted
immediately below) telling us we were wrong to include the match in our official
match list because the Football Association (F.A.) does not list it in its match list.
We just can't win.
F.A. has been inconsistent in the way it treats the match, as pointed out in
essay on England's disputed official matches. More recently, it designated
the first European Championship 2004 qualifier
against Turkey as England's 800th official match, and it could only do that by
disregarding the 1995 Republic of Ireland match.
The 1995 match is not included in the F.A. website's
listing of England's record against the Republic of Ireland, which has 13
matches played between the two sides when the total would be 14 were the 1995
abandonment included. Point us to
the place you say the F.A. website lists the match; it’s not there.
The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) website does include the match in its
compilation of the Republic's record against England and counts it as an Ireland
position has been this: The match
must be included in England's official
match list because caps were awarded. The
awarding of caps is inconsistent, in our view, with unofficial status.
However, since the match was abandoned at 27 minutes and not played to
its conclusion, no official result was reached and the match must be recorded
simply as an abandonment. The match was
not an England loss; an abandonment does not produce a result. That's what
an abandonment is--the stopping of a match without conclusion or result. We
thus do not include the match or the Ireland goal in our England team record
computations. We would have
followed the same course had England been ahead at the time of abandonment.
doubt the English hooligans threw the tantrum, as you call it, with the idea of preventing an
England loss. We do not doubt that
some fans of the Republic of Ireland and apparently the FAI are so desperate for wins against England
that they would claim that a 1-0 lead at 27 minutes is the equivalent of
a victory. We are not, however, interested here in what motivates
English hooligans or Ireland fans or the FAI. Our sole interest is in accuracy.
you apparently question our motives in recording the match as an abandonment
rather than an Ireland
victory, we note that the scoreline at the time of the abandonment gets far more
attention on our website than it would otherwise because it is mentioned in
an asterisked footnote wherever we list England's team record.
It is also mentioned in Terry Venables' managerial record and David Platt's
captaincy record, and it will be mentioned
in the records of every England player who appeared that day when we get around
to posting them. You
cannot fairly accuse us of ignoring the fact that the Republic were ahead 1-0 at the
time of abandonment. It must be
mentioned at least a dozen times on our site already with another dozen mentions
If the F.A. and the FAI ever reach
an agreement that the match should stand as a 1-0 victory for Ireland, we will
be glad to amend our records. That
was what happened with the abandoned match against Argentina in 1953;
the two associations involved agreed the match should stand as a scoreless draw
despite the abandonment. But short
of such an agreement, we intend to treat the match as we have done so far, as an
official match in which no result was reached because of abandonment.
If the F.A. ever makes a considered statement that the match was
not an official international, we will remove it from our match list.
As far as we know, it has not yet done so. Furthermore, we think it ludicrous to award caps for
appearances in a match that is not official, and we therefore hope the F.A. does
not do so.
(30 October 2009): In the past couple of years, the Football
Association has rectified its decision regarding the abandoned match
against the Republic of Ireland. It now recognises this match
in the same light as the abandoned Argentina match of 1953, that is,
an abandoned scoreless draw. We now reflect this in all our
records. And as of 14 October 2009, England will have played
880 official FA recognised matches, not 879.
Kemp, Chelmsford, Essex, U.K., 2 September 2004, on the abandoned 1995
match against the Republic of Ireland:
I've just been looking at your superb website once again and noticed that you
have given the abandoned game v Republic of Ireland in 1995 a match number.
Although caps were given, the match has been deemed unofficial. Shouldn't this
game be in your unofficial match category as it puts the numbers out of sync for
games after this one. E.g., you have the Liechtenstein game as England's
800th whereas shouldn't it be the Turkey game at Sunderland which was England's
800th game? I also think the programme for the game gave reference to this as
well. I look forward to your response.
Keep up the good work.
PY: We address the disputed official matches, including the abandoned Republic of
Ireland match, in
essay posted on the website. The decision to list it as an official
match was taken after some consideration We
recognise the solution we reached--after some thought--is not satisfactory to
reasons for including it are mentioned in the essay. We think it is utterly inconsistent to award caps for the
match and yet maintain the match is not official.
(Originally, the F.A. decided not to award caps for the match, but it
later reversed itself.) Furthermore,
although we do not rely on it because we differ from FIFA's retroactive
desanctification and sanctification of other England matches, FIFA also now
regards this abandoned match as official.
the match was abandoned and no result was reached, we do not, however, include
the match in our team record computations. That means our last match
number exceeds by one the number of results recorded in our team record computations. Life is complicated. Hooligans even make things
difficult for record-keepers.
have never seen what we would consider an official F.A. statement flatly saying
this abandoned match is unofficial. Some
F.A. materials list the match; others do not.
The latest F.A. official history in book form listed it in one place and
omitted it in another. If you or anyone else out there have a considered
FA statement saying the match is unofficial, please point us to it.
In the meantime, we list it.
believe the F.A. may have under consideration the whole question of official
versus unofficial matches in the wake of the FIFA decision on what constitutes
an official match. At least the
F.A. has not yet responded to that decision.
Thomas, Colchester, Essex, England, 9 September 2004, on Poland 1 England 2,
Paul Robinson replacing David James and Michael Owen:
admit to a small level of smugness with Sven finally making 'that' decision and
dropping David James. On a personal level anyone with an ounce of compassion
must feel for James but unfortunately that is top level sport.
Robinson might make a couple of mistakes during the rest of the qualifying,
well, even that is an improvement on the two a game whilst James was in
for Smith but Defoe showed that passion that we love to see from our
international players. I wish the press would leave Beckham alone- he is still
quality and I am confident he will show this.
far as Owen goes, well, he set up several goals during the Euro's and continues
to find the goalscoring positions- maybe a bit worrying if he gets few games
with R.Madrid, though- To say that he has had his day is ludicrous, though (as
some of the press are saying with the comments that the new- being Rooney and
Defoe- should take over). I think many forget that he is still only 24! Also
with 27 goals in 53 starts and a total of 63 caps he has the potential to
overtake both Bobby.C. and Peter.S. with their respective records.
enough waffle. I will return when I feel I have more advice for Sven to save his
job for him....
PY: Preparing your defence of Robinson in advance, Matt? We hope Robinson has
a better time than James did, but we're rather confident his day of blame will
come sooner or later. He had little to do against Poland, but the one time
he was under any kind of pressure at all, he bobbled the ball, although managing
to recover it before any damage could be done. As noted in the earlier
exchanges on James, the current crop of keepers suffer from comparison with the
superb quality of those who graced England's net until 1990, although even they
had their bad moments. In the absence of that kind of quality, competition
for the spot is a good thing.
for Owen, he is certainly not finished at 24, but, as he himself has admitted,
he has irretrievably lost some of his speed, both in reaction and afoot, because
of repeated injuries, and his off-the-ball game, while bound to improve at Real
Madrid if he gets consistent playing time, is still lacking. Like James,
Owen has no claim to a starting spot for England; his performances will tell the
tale. In the meantime, it's comforting to know we have ability like
Defoe's available; he has the talent, very rare among English forwards of the
past couple of decades, of making room for himself inside a crowded penalty area
even when tightly marked.
free to return any time, whether or not Sven needs your help!
C. Ribbens, Bromley, Kent, England, 8 September 2004, on England on television:
l find it ludicrous that we have to pay to watch our
national game on television. Is
this just greed on behalf of the so called FA?
PY: Since the 1980s the game
has been taken away from all but those who have sufficient discretionary income
to pay inflated ticket prices and exorbitant satellite television fees. We
agree with you that it's absurd that many avid England fans are unable to follow
their national team because they cannot afford to watch England matches on
Thomas, Colchester, England. 4 September 2004, on David James and Gerrard's
substitution after Austria 2 England 2:
well. Should we be surprised? Nope. Will it occur again and again were James to
continue playing? Yes.
refer back to my previous comments [see
2004 - Part 1] where I said we should probably look towards Robinson as the
first choice 'keeper. This is not knee jerk but is required.
bloody game James makes a basic handling error, and every game his defenders
must be suffering from sleep deprivation from their concern of playing in front
of him the next day!
we have a lack of quality, experienced 'keepers but even more reason to give
youth the chance (James having proved that he is too inconsistent for
internationals). At least we could blame any errors on inexperience and not
we still be discussing this up until- and during- the next World Cup? Yes,
because Eriksson, bless him, seems to take too long to make decisions.
Unfortunately in international football the 'real' games are few and far between
and the difference between winning and losing is so much more acute (being 1 or
3 points tonight). James must go now. Bring in Robinson and let him gain the
experience during the qualifiers which, even with a few mistakes, we should
still coast through.
P.S. - Gerrard came off because he indicated that
Wayne Bridge had been knocked on the achilles and they thought it was him! Is
this the managerial equivalent of Andy '2 Yellows' D'Urso blunder? And there was
me thinking that only happened to my Sunday League side....
location not given, 4 September 2004, on Austria 2 England 2:
an absolute let down to-nights game was!!!!!
When do we learn that the object of the game is to WIN.
SVEN, for god`s sake get it right - give us a team that can attack and
win. If you cannot do it then GO!!!