Friday, 29 June 2012
A Note on English football values
We joke a good deal about England, but England v Sweden was one of the most exciting games of the tournament. By the end England had scored 5 goals in 3 games which is not bad. Goals let in 3. England lost on penalties in the quarter final. This isn't incompetence, it isn't doom, it's something of a pleasant surprise all things considered.
I make glib jokes about the team, millions of us do, then I get bored by the glib jokes and feel somewhat sick of my own. Each national culture produces its own brand of excitement and the team that represents it is bound to reflect it some degree.
The key values for English national teams have not been guile, grace, art, strategy - they have been courage, heart, commitment and solidity. The fiercest criticisms have been directed at what is perceived as lack of these. That's what we get. We don't like ego so we don't get genius. We don't like apparent lack of effort so we don't get variety of pace.
Individual players and managers alter the balance this way or that but the centre of gravity is what it is. English sports values are essentially military values. Most English sport is trench warfare.