Another win for England, which makes it four wins from four so far in this Euro 2016 Qualifying Campaign.
The run makes it hard to do anything but praise Roy Hodgson and his England squad, however this is a group the Three Lions should be comfortably qualifying from, and when we do eventually qualify we’ll be useless in the tournament, so it might excite you, but it certainly doesn’t excite me.
England will qualify from this group, there is no doubt about it, but because us England fans are drowned in such mediocrity we will literally celebrate anything we can, whether that be a 3-1 victory over Slovenia or the total overreaction to Wayne Rooney’s 100th cap. Rooney has played 100 times for England. So what? I would rather watch Rooney lift up a major international trophy that he has won for his country, rather than one simply showing that he has played 100 times.
He’s scored just one World Cup goal and four European Championship goals. For someone who is supposedly our best player, that is pretty embarrassing. To be fair to Rooney, he came out this week and said he’ll only be an England ‘great’ if we win something, so in other words, he’ll never be an England great. But at least it shows that he hasn’t got his head in the clouds.
Something that has annoyed me over the last couple of years, a persistent pain in the neck. Wembley. I watched Scotland vs Ireland on Friday night and the atmosphere at Celtic Park was electric. I would have loved to have been there. To be a player out on that pitch must have been incredible. Fans motivate players, and that’s the reason why Scotland won the game.
Then I look at last night’s game at Wembley. The pitch was an absolute disgrace, England are forever moaning about some of the pitches they have to play on, which is fine if you have a good pitch yourself, but I’ve seen League Two stadium’s with better surfaces.
If the NFL has to be staged at Wembley, then England should just play elsewhere, which I don’t think would be a bad thing.
To me, Wembley is a stadium for events. Concerts, not football matches. Some people go to Wembley simply for the experience and to take pictures, they don’t go for the football. Others go because it’s ‘a good day out’ – so is Alton Towers.
The atmosphere at the stadium is abysmal and, as a result, the players aren’t getting the support needed to motivate them.
England vs Slovenia was never going to attract 90,000 people, which is part of the reason why I believe that a move away from Wembley would be a good one for England. Not only does Wembley have a diabolical pitch and bad atmosphere, but it’s in the wrong part of the country too. England should be playing somewhere that is easily accessible for fans from all over the place. If you live in the West Midlands, Merseyside, Newcastle or anywhere like that, travel is likely to cost you more than the match ticket. If you travel by train, you’re looking at a large fee for a return ticket. If you go by car, then you’re going to need a lot of petrol. Either way, it’s going to cost a small fortune to go and see such a poor side, so why should fans who live in the north bother to travel to London?
What would be wrong with England using alternate stadiums to play their games? One week you could play at St James’ Park, the next at Anfield, Old Trafford, Goodison Park, the Britannia Stadium, St Mary’s or Stamford Bridge. It would increase attendance and would also reduce the number of empty seats caused by playing in such a large venue. This would motivate the team and, hopefully, allow them to improve. I don’t have any feelings towards the current England squad, but in some ways I do sympathise with them, for the simple reason that they have to play at a stadium that is constantly half empty. I also sympathise with those who have to travel to Wembley to support their national team.
It is easy to see how Wembley is a causal factor in why we’ve been so utterly rubbish for the last five years. Perhaps it’s time for the England team to move elsewhere.
England play Scotland on Tuesday night at Celtic Park. I would be very surprised if we do not perform better on Tuesday. The atmosphere at the stadium will drive and motivate the players – hopefully to a victory.