July 30th 1966 was the last time that England were in the final of a major football competition. It happened to be the year that I was born, which means I’ve lived every single one of those 55 years of hurt.
It lead me to think back on what I remember of England down the years.
My first recollection of any tournament was the 1974 World Cup in West Germany as it was then. England though didn’t qualify, although Scotland did funnily enough. In fact England’s contribution came from referee Jack Taylor who officiated the final between the hosts West Germany and Holland. He awarded two penalties in first 30 minutes, the first of these penalty kicks, awarded after just a minute of play, was the first penalty kick ever awarded in a World Cup final.
Again in 1978 in Argentina, England didn’t qualify. My memories of that World Cup were the ticker tape celebrations inside the stadiums.
It was Spain in 1982 that I can remember quite clearly. Bryan Robson scored a goal for England in just 27 seconds. England didn’t lose a game but still went out as FIFA applied a very strange system with group stages after the original group stages. Too confusing to write about! Actually the main thing I remember about 1982 was Gerry Armstrong scoring and knocking out the hosts Spain. Gerry has since become a very good friend whose knowledge of football is second to none.
In 1986 I was working at Butlins and I used to grab any opportunity I could to watch a game. 86 was famous for the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal from Diego Maradona. Which still irks with most to this day.
The 1990 World Cup was the one that got away. It was the beginning of Gazza era and the penalty misses of Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle against Germany in the semi-finals.
In 1994 England were struggling to qualify. The only hope for England on the last day was for the Netherlands to lose in Poland and for England to score seven goals against San Marino in Bologna. England did manage to score seven (despite conceding one after only eight seconds!), but the Netherlands won 3-1 and took the runners-up spot. The Manager Graham Taylor resigned in the following week.
1996 was the first Euros I really remember. It was a home tournament and the vibe was similar to as it is today. Gazza in his pomp and Terry Venables managing the team very much like Gareth Southgate is now. Of course Gareth was a player in that team and I’m sure that has been really helpful for him at this tournament. Unfortunately Gareth missed the all important penalty in the semi-final against Germany. But did send himself up on the Pizza Hut ads after which was good to see.
The 1998 World Cup in France was memorable for that amazing goal from Michael Owen against Argentina only to be surpassed by David Beckham getting sent off for kicking out at Diego Simeone. England again lost on penalties.
The 2002 qualifying campaign gave David Beckham the chance to redeem himself and he did with a last minute wonder free kick against Greece to qualify. He also got revenge on Argentina with a penalty goal to defeat them 1-0 in their group game. But it was heartache again in the quarter finals when Ronaldinho managed to lob David Seaman from near the halfway line and Brazil ran out 2-1 winners.
Germany 2006 was famous for the Ronaldo wink after Wayne Rooney was sent-off for England in the quarter finals. Again we went on to lose on penalties.
2010 in South Africa was famous for the Frank Lampard ‘goal’ that never was. His shot landed at least 2 metres over the line and yet as there was no goal line technology the game unbelievably continued and England lost 4-1.
2016 was famous for us losing to Iceland, which was probably one of the worst defeats that I can remember.
2018 in Russia was the first tournament in Gareth Southgate’s reign and one of the most successful. We made it to the semi finals but ran out of steam to lose 2-1 to Croatia.
So onto this tournament and what an amazing Feel good factor it has brought to the country. Well not just the country, I can tell you all the expats I know are loving the journey.
So What have Italy got that is better than us? Or to quote a famous line from Monty Python ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’
Well their National Anthem is one of the best in the World and certainly rouses their supporters.
As my Wife and many other ladies have mentioned their players are better looking than ours!
But to quote the band New Order,
You’ve got to hold and give
But do it at the right time
You can be slow or fast
But you must get to the line
They’ll always hit you and hurt you
Defend and attack
There’s only one way to beat them
Get ’round the back
Catch me if you can
‘Cause I’m the England man
And what you’re looking at
Is the master plan
We ain’t no hooligans
This ain’t a football song
Three lions on my chest
I know we can’t go wrong!
Dare I say it, keep the faith, it’s coming home!
Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
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