They seemed to produce stuff of a quality that the Golden Generation hasn’t recently. P.S. The Wembley pitch looked pretty bad, didn’t it?
This was Revie’s great moment of hope, of course, later squandered.
One of my frustrations watching England over the last 25 years – not just the Golden Generation – has been their tendency to sit back, slow down, defend far too deeply. The reasons for it are psychological and deep-rooted, which is why it keeps replicating itself down generations (the 1990 World Cup was infuriatingly full of this kind of thing, and it lost the 1996 Euro semi to boot).
This video shows what can happen when England cut loose. It’s why, were I England manager, I’d be sorely tempted to tell my players to do either one of two things: win 5-0, or lose 5-0 – go all-out for attack and entertainment and devil take qualification etc.
Because when the pressure’s off, England really can play. And that tends to happen when playing teams we don’t expect to beat – Argentina, Italy, Holland, etc.; it’s when we do expect to win that the fear creeps in and puts lead into the players’ boots. (2002 and Brazil might seem like an exception, but only to idiots who want Owen and Beckham to play through injury as if they aren’t injured, and who reckon losing several pounds in weight playing in bestial heat in the first half can be overcome by some kind of ranting speech).
James, Your blog is fast becoming my favourite.
Nice to see Malcolm McDonald. Saw him only a few times. The first at Margate v Luton in 1971 in a friendly. He signed for Newcastle the next day
My earliest memory of McDonald is, sadly, that FA Cup Final he played for Arsenal. Carrying injury, and not his finest hour.
Against Ipswich. I was there!
Just back from various places and catching up, James. Yes, to all above. And how good Channon looked! He was one of my favourite players of the time, the gangly build, the speed and the natural swerve. There was always hope with Channon, and a kind of galloping grace too.
And wouldn’t Beckenbauer have been sent straight off today?