England’s national underperformance

We have a seat on the UN Security Council and troops in conflicts around the world; and yet this year we didn’t even qualify for the European Championships

There is a famous story of how, in 1945, Gen de Gaulle was taken by the Soviet foreign minister Molotov to see the ruins of Stalingrad, where thousands of Russians had given their lives to halt the Nazi advance. It remained a hellish scene. The French general stood in silence, seemingly overcome. “Quel peuple,” he finally pronounced.
Molotov looked at him inquiringly. “A great people – the Germans,” said de Gaulle, in what must rank as one of the most tactless remarks in history. For some reason, that verdict floated into my head the other night as I sat up to watch the final of the European Championships.

As at Stalingrad, the Germans were very much the runners-up. In fact, they received a bit of a pasting, this time at the hands of the Spanish. What struck me as remarkable, though – as it struck de Gaulle – was the mere fact that they were there. There were the Germans, yet again, plugging away valiantly in yet another cup final. At the risk of provoking English football fans to paroxysms of Molotov-like irritation, it is time for a cold-eyed look at the footballing records of our two great nations.


As we never tire of pointing out, we invented football. It is our national game. Our Premier League is incomparably rich and powerful, its key players showered with Bugatti Veyrons and vast ranches in Cheshire. When we are trying to think of someone fitting to wish Nelson Mandela a happy birthday, we produce the lovely Victoria Beckham, who is now principally known for being the wife of an English footballer. We are one of the most populous countries in Europe – and yet the strange thing is that we have never once won the European Championship.

The best we have ever done is to reach the semis in 1968 and 1996. The Germans, on the other hand, have been in the final of the European Championship six times, and they have won it three times.

When it comes to our respective World Cup records, the contrast is even more unsettling. Again, the Germans have been in the final seven times, and three times they have hoisted the trophy; but the really telling indicator of our relative competitiveness is surely this: we have made it to the World Cup semi-finals twice, once in 1966, when we went on to win.

The Germans have been in the semi-finals an amazing nine times, and such is their general level of determination, organisation and all-round grit that they haven’t lost a penalty shoot-out in a major championship since 1976.
I say all this not so much in praise of Teutonic football, but in bafflement at our comparative under-performance. Here we are, a swaggering nation of some 61 million souls. We have a seat on the UN Security Council and troops in conflicts around the world; and yet this year we didn’t even qualify for the European Championships, not because we were beaten by the Germans, but because we were beaten by Croatia – and let me remind you that when I first joined this newspaper, Croatia didn’t even exist.

What is wrong with us? And can anything be done? Not long ago I heard the sports minister, a nice guy called Gerry Sutcliffe, advance what I at first took to be a plausible explanation. England’s national performance, he argued, was being undermined by the very success of our Premier League. On any given weekend, half the players in a top-level English club fixture are imported from abroad; and since our most famous clubs rely so heavily on these foreign aces, home-grown talent is not being properly developed.

That, at any rate, was the gist of what he said, and I numbly accepted Sutcliffe’s case until I tried it out on my 13-year-old football correspondent. “That argument,” said the 13-year-old, “is completely invalid.” He pointed out that the Spanish league is full of foreign players, and yet Spain won the European championship; and a moment’s reflection will show that Sutcliffe is talking total bilge.

If anything, the presence of these international wizards should be an inspiration to our players. It should spur them on. It should fill them with new tricks and a patriotic desire to show these metic superstars the native skills of England.

England may suffer from the Wimbledon syndrome – a fantastic tournament featuring mainly foreign players – but it is obviously ludicrous to imagine that we can ginger up our local talent by shielding it from international competition.

No, my friends, the fault is in ourselves, and if we want to do better at sport, we should stop blaming foreigners, and we should now launch a merciless Kulturkampf against every feature of modern Britain that is inimical to our competitive success. We should summon up our courage and tell our ballooning children to put down their beastly PlayStations and go and play outside. We should encourage them to walk or cycle to school. We should stop the sale of school playing fields. We should finally abandon the ethic of “all must have prizes”.

It wasn’t so long ago that I went to a sports day at an inner-London primary school and was genuinely asked to watch races in which no one was allowed to win. Well, no wonder, frankly, that most of our medal hopes in Beijing are pinned on sports that involve sitting down – riding, rowing, cycling, sailing – but not running around or jumping.

And before you tell me that we need more “investment” in coaching and elite academies, let me tell you that the first priority is to end the crazed obsession with paedophiles that means anyone who wants to help with grassroots sports coaching must go through an enormous Criminal Records Bureau procedure, and submit to 6in-thick files dictating exactly how the children can be exhorted to do better without hurting their feelings.

We either unleash a full-hearted attack on the nannying, mollycoddling, Harriet Harperson hopelessness of our times, or else too many of our children will grow up fat, unhappy, or violent; we will never win Wimbledon, and football will remain a game in which, in Gary Lineker’s immortal words, 22 men run around for 90 minutes and then the Germans win.

[Ed: This article by Boris Johnson first appeared in the Daily Telegraph 01 July 2008]

107 thoughts on “England’s national underperformance”

  1. German people are renowned for their Prussian discipline and attention to detail, whereas British people are more renowned for individuality and eccentricity. In such a boring game as football, the German characteristics are bound to win out, because our more intelligent players lose concentration out of boredom. I’ve seen it happen time and time again, a foreign player gets the ball off us, as our man is doing his hair or chatting, then the other side scores and once again, we are out. This country should realise that the fact that we lose is a cause for congratulation rather than otherwise, it is a tribute to our innate national intelligence.

  2. Angela, this is utter tosh. The German stereotype of the mindlessly obedient Prussian doesn’t stand up to the merest scrutiny. I studied history at college, and learned how the Prussians reorganised their armies in the 19th Century so that the whole system depended on devolving responsibility down to the level of the individual, low ranking squaddie. When you look at how the German army works, it is a model of new age, business-think, individuality. It really is quite astonishing to have your preconceptions shattered in the way mine were in looking at the modern German military ethos (Auftragstaktik – check it out on Wikipedia).

    So don’t fall back on stereotypes, Angela. German players are not mindless Prussian robots while English players are handicapped by being, somehow, too smart, too individual, too talented. If anything, it’s the other way around.

  3. Boris, England’s population is not “61 million souls” – it’s about 50 million. I’m afraid (as many English do)you’re mixing up England with the United Kingdom which DOES have about 61 million. No wonder the Scots get so angry with us – we just treat them as part of Greater England!

  4. Får jag säga nånting på svenska? Vi har vart med! We didn’t win, but we were in!!!
    Jag gillar Boris.

  5. John dear, I was only joking.

    There is a germ of truth in what I wrote though. To me, the England football team always seems to be made up of eccentric, talented individuals, who are not quite a team. Maybe they don’t play together enough so do not get the chance to develope a strong team spirit. Look at our rugby team when they won the World Cup, you got the feeling they would have died for each other. Martin Johnson to me is beyond legend, he is a Colossus. WHAT A MAN. Jonny Wilkinson!!! A genius! In that series he made such a supreme effort, he gave his heart, soul, he risked his body, he gave everything. The whole team were phenomenal.

    It was the same with our cricket team, when we won the Ashes. I will never forget Ashley Giles’ burning eyes when he had to stay in batting in the last Test. He threw up before he went out to play, he was so nervous, and he was so fired up.

    Also, look what type of team Brian Ashton developed, when we got to the final of the last World Cup. Several of them were past their best, but they forged a white hot team spirit, so the Australian game and the French game were just magic. They should show DVDs of those games as motivational tools. We just creamed Australia through sheer stubborn guts and determination not to lose, because of the taunts the team had endured before the match, from Australia and from our lovely media and the Australian team were a very good team. It didn’t matter England lost in the Final, to me they are all legends.

    Football is enjoyable at times, but is there the depth of emotion there, I can’t see it.

    Recently I read that if you were in the Russian army and a cannonball was coming your way, and you ducked, so it hit someone else, you were courtmartialed. CAN YOU IMAGINE? ps. I just add this last bit because you said you read history.

  6. Hey: what a multilingual lot are we! Seems that “Europe” is alive in some form even if the daftness of the Lisbon thing is far from accepted. (Just for the sake of our over-Pond people: the best of Europe really does like you and is happy to talk to fellow humans. If there are any Asians out there working in English, similarly: delighted to meet you and please respond.)

  7. “Congestion extension threatened”

    This consultation sounds rather spineless.

    One suspects the congestion charge wouldn’t have happened at all under Johnson. He lacks the spine to take on the inevitable enemies.

  8. He wouldn’t rip people off, he has too much respect to ever do that!
    Unlike Labour, all these scatterbrains ever do is ripping us all off.

  9. Boris, dear heart, forgive me if I lose the will to live when considering football. But just because we invented it and it’s our national game should I cover my disinterest? “We should summon up our courage and tell our ballooning children to put down their beastly PlayStations and go and play outside” – well yes, I agree with your point. But on a recent camping trip I was woken up at 7:30am on a sunday morning by a father forcing his son to play football. I have a nice new dent in the bonnet of my car, thank you. On another camping trip yet another father forced his poor child to play football, kicking the ball against our modest abode, until the child sat down and burst into tears. Does it have to be football? Kicking a weighty leather toy with no thought or consideration simply because it’s our national game? There are, in fact, many football clubs around for children to attend. They cost money and you have to get the children there and back on time. But the danger on the streets, if the children were to walk, is not mostly from peadophiles, you are correct, it is from other children. And in this climate of ‘human rights’ (what are human rights? and why?) children know that adults can no longer intervene when they see bullying. Even the police can’t.

    Is it true that the last three stabbings in London have been by black youths stabbing innocent white boys? But no mainstream media source has written about that. Why? Is political correctness only to protect people of colour?

    There is effectively no authority over children in this country. Without discipline and respect for authority no man can excel, at anything.

  10. Of course that should have read no-one can excel [without discipline and respect].

    (Raincoaster’s about so I’ve re-checked my grammar – you learn so much from contributors on the BJ blog 🙂

  11. Well, if I must…and I must…

    “uninterested.”

    Also, nobody should sleep past six a.m. when they’re camping. It’s just morally wrong. Also, what are you doing camping in that poor kid’s playground? If you can shoot a gun off and anyone else can hear it, you’re not camping, you’re picnicing and you fell asleep, that’s all.

  12. It’s easy to say that in Canada, here you don’t have to shoot a gun off, if you carry a chair leg you get shot for disturbing the peace and being a threat to society.

  13. We take sport far too seriously. People should learn to just enjoy it. Some chance.

    Take today. A 14-year-old English girl, Laura Robson, has won the Wimbledon junior event. Our first win in 24 years. The BBC actually stopped broadcasting the men’s doubles to cover the momentous event. The poor girl will now be built up into a Victoria Beckham. Tremendous hopes and expectations will be invested in Lara. And when, under the enormous pressure of it all, this Lara Croft takes to drugs like Amy Winehouse, there’ll be a collective howl of rage, and she’ll be torn to pieces. And then the hunt will be on for the nextcermonial victim.

    Diego Maradona learned his football kicking a ball against a wall. Nobody expected anything of him. And he just enjoyed doing it. But then, mind you,…

  14. “On another camping trip yet another father forced his poor child to play football, kicking the ball against our modest abode, until the child sat down and burst into tears.” – Jaq

    That’s it. That’s what’s wrong. Too serious. Far too serious. Force kids to play football, and they’ll only learn to hate it with a vengeance.

    Now if we were to make playing football illegal in public places, it’d probably enjoy a big comeback…

  15. Boris, if you prove to be a … or if we think you mean it, when you say, that your former deputy remains an inspiring figure to you, despite what he’s done, or even exactle for what he’s done… Boris!!! I sincerely hope not!

  16. it was clear that Boris Johnson was no leader of men, but I’m surprised what a shambles it’s been so far. A nanny-state alcohol ban, a spineless big car tax review, now this.

  17. Not a leader, a2sdf3? You have no name and yet are on his site on a Sunday afternoon that has the GP, post-rowing-parties, Wimbledon, ironing, garden-shed painting, going down the pub, talking to the children as options? Self-defeating argument from you, I think.

  18. And I appreciate him for banning the drink. My journeys have improved dramatically already! I used to get someone chatting me up and be hard to get rid of at least 6/10 journeys, now it’s maybe 2 at the highest. And to all those who thought Boris is a clown – I want the whole circus, including the ring master!!!

  19. The song is meant to refer to this whole next 4 years, nothing else. Completely innocent, I don’t fancy you.

  20. Okay, ban football. Enforce dawn rising. Shoot all witnesses. That should solve the sport-parent problem, the sloth problem, AND the overpopulation problem.

    So far, so good.

  21. I think we have a manifesto.

    PS: good seats at the mens singles finals yesterday, Boris. Sorry, yes, focus. I won’t consider the Labour leader then, I’d be inclined to shout ‘new balls please’.

  22. Dawn it is great that you love the Conservatives, but won’t you please rethink your remarks regarding the Mayor’s comment on Ray Lewis? Ray Lewis’s academy has been very successful and he was one of the few people to provide some answers to one of the worst problems London has to face at the moment. Mr. Lewis had first hand experience of the environment that fosters these problems and he has devoted a large part of his life in helping kids. It is an absolute tragedy for those kids that they will be denied his help as Deputy Mayor, and to me, Ray Lewis will always be an inspirational figure.

  23. It is the mayor who said that Ray remains an inspiring figure to him.
    […] I haven’t accused HIM of any wrongdoing!
    I still ♥ the Conservatives, that’s because they’re MY party, I’m in the party.

  24. As long as we don’t have you in the Conservatives, I’m fine. […] Can you ever get a ♥?

  25. Dawn – that is indeed a serious allegation against Ray. I wonder do you have a link to the story?

  26. Hang on – I heard that as well.
    But quite frankly, anyone in the mayors position would have tried to keep him, because something the mayor had to prove was that previous allegations were untrue.
    And no, nobody in that department is a magistrate.
    […]
    That puts any employer in a difficult position, and therefore it was the best thing that could be done for the man to leave, thereby admitting to his crimes (I take it as a confession any ways, as a prosecutor to be) and trust me, in a case where I’d prosecute, he’d barely last a minute.
    But it is wrong to accuse the mayor, who really couldn’t have known, even despite letters, because people can write anything in letters.

  27. Det är inget nytt att alla möjliga folk ska prata så mycket skitt om dom som jag tycker om, jag vill få träffa dej i jävla mörket din elaka jävel och, och ta bort dina… och ditt… och din… och skicka dej till hospitalet var du får dö ändå.
    Såna som det här länket skulle vara bevis för det som har blivit sagt, här, kolla själv! Kopiera och klistra in i ett nytt fönster. Och glöm inte att jag verkligen tycker om Boris!

    http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=148&a=801533&rss=148

  28. Jag vill inte ha att flera medarbetare är såna otrevliga, för att det är allt för otrevligt för Boris.

  29. Jag vet något mer än jag vill berätta just nu. Vi har inget i våra tidningarna ännu.

  30. Like a dog being in love with a cat… that’s Ray being in that office. And then he said something very interesting: “I cannot allow to let whatever I have been into, upto, in the past get in the way of this x (jag kommer inte ihåg dissa ord) mayoral team. And what is that? X-actly. A confession. The defendant is found guilty.

  31. Dawn – thank you but that was a techno music vid. Slightly confused..

    Alida – I don’t know the language you use and don’t understand the relevance of dogs and cats and as I don’t know the story don’t know the police station concerned but not to worry, I’ll Google for information. Thank you.

    Back to banning football etc. – solving the sport-parent problem, the sloth problem, AND the overpopulation problem.

  32. I mean, he’s even calling him “Snowdrop” and keeps kissing pictures of him… BORIS!!!

  33. My boyfriend is in love with him. And I fncy Cameron, not Boris. I fancy David Cameron in No. 10, that’s what I fancy, and George Osborne in 11, and let’s get rid of Labour. Angela, both will do. *joke*
    Then it’s a Labourite that goes, not one of us lovely Tories. We will be campaigning at Earlsfield St. (handing out leaflets) on 14 July 7AM – 9AM. Anyone who’s intrestedis welcome. Anything for the Tories. I’m a member of the Tory Party, associate member of the CCA and I’ll be going to the Conservative barbecue on 17 July, and to the Party Conference in Birmingham this year so I can see David Cameron. I ♥ the Conservatives thanks to David’s policies.

  34. Whenever someone says that they experience my… “things” I’d like to find out… if we.. I think I won’t attend the campaign on monday after all. Not after I realised that actually someone says about themselves what happened to me last night. It is Roy who loves Boris, my boyfriend, now how many other boyfriends with a weakness for Boris are there out there???

  35. I fancy the mayor, I don’t care what everyone else thinks, I like his voice and his hair.

  36. What I fancy is getting a decent government in power, who will represent us well abroad and make fair decisions at home. I literally feel ill at some of the unfairness of the decisions of Gordon Brown (how he favours Scotland, not the fault of the Scottish people bless them, but it is the fault of our present PM, also the 10 p tax thing. Harriet Harman should not be anywhere near Parliament: David Milliband is not brave, when that poor teacher, Gillian was sentenced to prison for the “teddy” incident, his feeble response was, she might as well serve her sentence…. What does such weak kneed government do for our reputation abroad, it is a disgrace!

    Apart from their looks, Alida and Dawn, I am sure you admire their minds, David Cameron is a fantastic debater and he does not shirk from speaking out on the tough issues, he had good ideas… Boris Johnson has compassion and tolerance and vision, so GET EVERYONE YOU KNOW TO VOTE FOR THEM WHEN THE TIME COMES.

    You can do your bit to get them into power, and you better believe that. It is NOT TRUE THAT IT DOESN[T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE WHO YOU VOTE FOR AND THEY ARE ALL THE SAME. THIS IS A LIE. Every vote counts. Chat up your neighbours and the people you work with and make sure they intend to vote for them! If their pictures are over your beds and you give them a big kiss every night, that is OK!

  37. I don’t kiss the mayor at night, thanks a lot.
    I chat up everyone I can to get them to vote Cameron whenever they get the chance to.
    I will as well. Just have to pass a life-in-the-uk-test, Anyone care to help me so I can help the Tories more effectively?? I have to be a citizen of the UK to be abe to vote in the general election, so whenever that is, I just have to know the answers to all the question on the test, and that wy I get the citizenship, and that way I can have my maiden name on my passport, and even vote Conservative in the general election(s).
    I’ve been having dinner with the mayor and Mrs. Thtcher on 11 June 2008, and I think it was great seeing the mayor so close up.
    I never said “they’re all the same, that’s Dawn’s words, not mine. I am a true Conservative and always have been.
    At least in Denmark, where I could always vote, but we’ve got so called proportional reresentation. The number of seats a party gets depends on their number of votes, unlike here, where the winner takes it al. First past the post they call it.
    Very different. But at least I understand that very difference. I just named it alright. I enjoy one thing most, and that is politics.

  38. And besides – my campaigning team can count on me on monday… which cannot be said about everyone…

  39. Alida I didn’t mean to offend you, I was only joking about the picture! Also I didn’t mean you, when I said people say they are all the same… that is what people say who don’t vote. that is why I usually put JOKE when I have made a joke, it is hard to tell from the printed word when people are joking, and I would never want to cause offence.

  40. No, it doesn’t say JOKE there. And I’m a Tory, I wanna vote Conservative, if I get a chance. I’m not just gonna resign my membership when the going gets tough. And what makes me fancy Boris is his whole attitude. But kissing him… nope, I think that’s not necessary. I’d just shake his hand like in June. I wish I could have showed him a magic trick…

  41. Please, give me all the questions that are being asked on the Life In The UK test, so I can pass the test and apply for citizenship, and then I can actully vote, as we vikings lack the right to vote Conservativ w/o being British.

  42. Alida if this helps, they have the lists of questions in any Waterstones bookshop, they usually keep them by the tills.

  43. I mean the questions I will have t answer when I take the Life in the UK test. That’s a serious assessment that can allow me to apply for citizenship in the UK, have my maiden name on the passport, vote for my Tories, you see, are you sure that are the questions they have in Waterstones? Because there’s one in Clapham Junction, I could go there by bike… bt I wanna know if that’s what I can expect.

  44. Aaah, before I just forget – I go a lovely bike the other day, for just £40! That was a bargain, as the bike is in perfect condition and even a pump came with it. And the pump came with the attachment, and now I’ve finally got a bike in Britain, the one in Sweden is old, and not worth taking over… I’m so glad I got my bike! And… it’s a PINK one!! I ♥ pink. So, beware of pink speeding bikes, mayor!

  45. Alida, why don’t you ring up Waterstones to check they have the right forms? I know they have the test for citizenship forms by all tills in all branches of Waterstones, but I am not sure that these are ones you want. if they aren’t, Waterstones could probably advise where to get the correct ones.

  46. Because Cameron said there are special test centres where the test are taken on their computers and they let you know whether or not you’ve passed.

  47. Cheers, but I’ve also lived here since 2006 and enjoy talking to people. But the Tories let me down today. I’m taking part in a station campaign on monday, I need to say this cause it’s really, really hurting me, the CCA said we vikings cannot stand for council elections!!!!! Why is that, I mean it good, I wanna help making improvement, prove the Tories are great, we’re campaigning to see how local residents and people using the station think it can be improved… the handicap access needs to be looked at, the whole station appearance needs to improve and I wanna be more involved in all possible local things, us Tories to improve facilities, see how we can help people and now the Tories won’t let me because I’m the wrong nationality!
    I’m sobbing, all evening I’ve just been sobbing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *sigh*

  48. I’ll leave the CCA again, I’ll leave the party, leave the campaign and take my life.- Congratulations, Tories. You win.

  49. I won’t say why I choose.. I say it’s because of my dad. I think that’s fair enough, I don’t need to make their success in hurting me even more obvious. No need. But at least I won’t have to remember being hurt when I’m gone.

  50. I think the newspapers are recommendable then. “Scandinavian caring girl chooses death after being betrayed by her Tory father.” …end quote.
    He’s deserved that, being the one who got me to like Tories, and convinced me forever that that’s THE party to vote, and to join, and it sounded all nice and juicy, and then they don’t even want support. Flip my dad!

  51. And if we vikings can’t stand for council elections, why do I have Sadiq Khan as my MP???

  52. Tories, Boris!!! Cameron! You should know about this! I’ll let you know, through my attorney.

  53. Alida, I’m sure the party has no objection in principle to a Swede standing as a councillor if he/she is a strong candidate and eligible by law. Is there something you’re not telling us?

  54. Yes. There is this family, a mother with 2 daughters, in a double room,1 bed. The girls go to school. I wish I could help the Tories make some improvements. I have an interest in local government. Local issues, what can we do to make people more comfortable? That’s what I held back. May I stand as a candidate and work with Angela, whom I’ve aready met and spoken to, and we had dinner together on one occasion… that was the 11 of june, and the mayor was there, so he’s a witness!

  55. And I’m not just intenting an anti-labour campaign or so, I’m actually really serious about wanting to help, just like my dad.

  56. Ok, let’s play the ace card then. In Pompey they’ve got organisations that help families by providing with flats until the council can house them permanently. The council ensures the conditions are right. That is what I would aim for here, would I be given a chance. And the other three aces – feel like knowing them as well? Naah – not so fast! First when I know I can trust the Tory Party.

  57. I think I meet Angela on monday, and I’ll ask her again then see what she says. She’s a councillor in my ward.

  58. I’m helping my be♥ed Tories tomorrow, I look forward… really, I really ♥ the Conservatives!!!!!!!!

  59. The campaign never took place, I got no chance of meeting Angela. Flippin’ Conservatives.

  60. Listening to one of the world’s more experienced educators this weekend, I was reminded that enthusiasm is great, enthusiasm with reasoned evidence is better; well-argued (that is, discussed and improved) theory is great, well-argued theory put into practice is both better and useful.

  61. All this preoccupation with football and other sports, makes me sick to my back teeth (sorry denture). Fortunately, I gave up all games when I “grew up”. Gave up trying to beat others (and myself). There’s a lot more to life and living, to waste time with pointless pursuits! Conscript all the venerated sportsmen and guide them towards usefull production disciplines.

  62. Fair comment, Joe. Mind you, these days I never know which ‘country’ I come from as “Britain” does not fit and forms only seem to worry about Welsh and Scottish as alternatives to something unspecified. They don’t have boxes for ‘amorphous pondlife’.

  63. Interesting outlook Boris. My own thoughts on why we never seem to do very well at sports is due to their being no real incentive for our players to try and win. Even if they lose they’re still going to reap their £30,000 a week wages so why would they care?

    Other countries seem to have a greater sense of determination to prove themselves. Years of complacency and encouragement to not be competitive (don’t say there isn’t such encouragement because there is) have led us to be absolutely terrible at anything that isn’t financially beneficial.

    Sad state of affairs really as our teams are definately the best trained.

    England needs to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch. Encourage grass-roots players and make them believe they can achieve, instead of the typical English attitude: “You won’t become a professional footballer, there is too many other people trying.”

    This can only be achieved through funding our youth and giving them a sense of purpose and self-belief rather than a belief that they’re just going to end up working 9-5 in a shop, which is all schools are bothered to teach kids now.

    So, if you wanna see us win a European cup, Boris, I suggest you start demanding our youth are supported and encouraged, rather than being forced down the typical routes which are available to them currently.

  64. “What is wrong with us? And can anything be done?”
    and
    ” England needs to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch”

    what we need is a complete clearout of the British state from England. Basically, the British occupy us and they do not like us.They govern for their own ends for a place called “Britain “and not for us.

    We need not only the independence of self government but the independence of thought that goes with political independence.

  65. Dear Boris Congrtaulations on your appointment as Mayor
    Ref Clay shooting 2012 Your speech at the closing ceromany (you will contain cost for 2012) Woolich barracks has been chosen as the shooting venue a very unsuitable site with many problems costs 18.000.000 to build and 6.000.000 to demolish after the games. No lasting legacy !! Lord Seb Coe .
    Bisly in Surey can be upgraded at a cost of 6.000.000
    or Southern counties shooting ground Nr Weymounth Yahting area for 5.000.000 please inspect this waste of money and resourses. kind regards Paul Oldring

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