Thursday night’s pre-Euro England friendly versus Portugal is bound to provoke a 50th anniversary revisiting of England’s best match of the ’66 World Cup. No, not the much feted final, rather many would argue it was the semi against Portugal. Eventual Golden Boot winner, awarded to the tournament’s top goal-scorer, Eusébio, was in his superlative pomp with the 82nd minute penalty he scored pushing England all the way. Never mind though, the contribution of Bobby Charlton to England’s campaign has tended to be overshadowed by Geoff Hurst’s hat-trick in the Final but it was Bobby’s brace that saved England in the semi, the team running out eventual 2-1 winners. Continue reading
We could well be days away from ending the 307 year old union between Scotland, and England and Wales. This penny has finally dropped with establishment politics. They have looked into the abyss and are terrified that irrelevance could be staring right back at them. Characteristically, their attempt to ward of the spectre has been threat and promise. The former has been the gift of Scottish financial institutions this week, pledging to move headquarters down to London in the event of a Yes vote. Particularly amusing was Deutsche Bank’s David Folkert-Landau warning that Scottish independence would be a decision right up there with those that triggered the Depression. No need to pull your punches, David! On promises we’ve had the peculiar resurrection of Gordon Brown. Our political Lazarus dusted off the backbench cobwebs by manfully seizing Better Together by the throat. He threw down proposals for new Scottish powers that were eagerly seized upon by the Westminster parties, even though all three are signed up to further devolution (not that you’d know it thanks to BT’s negativist campaign). Now is not the time for a novice indeed. Continue reading
Tonight England vs Brazil at Wembley marks the start of the FA’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations. Philosophy Football’s Mark Perryman argues that it is the perfect time to lower our expectations of England’s chances.
England vs Brazil, friendly or no friendly, is a tasty international fixture to mark the start of the Football Association’s 150th birthday celebrations. It will be a feast of free-flowing football, and England. Never mind, with the other home opponents lined up so far the Republic of Ireland (last qualified for a World Cup in 2002, at Euro 2012 failed to win a single game) and Scotland (last qualified for any tournament, 1998), England fans should be able to look forward to some home victories to savour. Although what exactly the players, manager and coaches will learn by playing such relatively lowly opposition is anyone’s guess. Continue reading
It has been the contention of some that the Englishness we speak of today is rather bleak and shrill, “based on loss and abandonment”, as Jon Cruddas recently put it. But the nation today will be in the throes of national ecstasy, nearing the closure of the Olympic games with 29 gold medals under our belt and a glorious victory from Mo Farah in the 5000m race. Continue reading
A new organisation – the Hannah Mitchell Foundation – has been formed to campaign for elected regional government for the North. The political shape of the United Kingdom is changing rapidly. The debate over Scottish independence is only the most obvious sign of a major shift, together with last year’s overwhelming vote for more powers to be given to the Welsh Government. In addition to Scotland and Wales, both Northern Ireland and London have substantial devolved powers. Which leaves the English regions. Continue reading