The King is dead – long live the King!
Well, that’s how it feels to me just now as one of the best World Cups I can recall comes to an end – and I’ve lived through 15 of them, even though I remain totally oblivious to events in Chile in 1962. I was only four after all.
Andy, Gary and Will have all accurately expressed the nation’s feelings on Gareth Southgate and his young, well-disciplined and essentially grounded squad who “left their egos at the coat-check”. Thumbs up from just about all of us I think.
I still don’t believe I will see England in two World Cup Finals in my lifetime but these boys gave it everything they could, restored some national pride and took me back to that wonderful day in 1966 when half a dozen of us were sitting around Eddie Scott’s supersonic TV in Chadwell Heath, all cross-legged on the floor while our parents and their friends were mashing it up behind us with Watneys Red Barrel and Snowballs a-flowing.
Whether we like it or not, the carnival is over.
So, on to long live the King. This World Cup will certainly linger on in our collective memory but the real stuff began about two hours after I finish writing this. The first friendly of the German tour and Daniel Farke has said the serious stuff starts now. No time to dwell any further on England, our collective attention must (and doubtless will) turn to our beloved Canaries. [For the record, City came back from two goals down to beat SC Paderborn 3-2 – Ed].
The big talking point at the end of last season was the striker issue, as in when will we sign one. Well, we’ve acquired two and to my mind, that means El Sulkio, aka Nelson Oliveira, is on his velocipede out of Carrow Road. I don’t buy into all this late return from standby duty, I really don’t.
The fact he hasn’t joined Brendan Sheeran on Coach Trip logically confirms this. If someone comes in with anything over £2million Stuart Webber should take it for a player once quoted as saying he was so grateful to be here on a permanent deal and then, erm, we all know what happened next.
Just like most supporters, I approach the coming season with a sense of optimism. On paper at least our signings look astute. We have managed to unload the unwanted Steven Naismith to the Jambos, although financially we are still paying through our snout because he remains on our books, not those of the Edinburgh club, which contributes only a small percentage of his wages.
Russell Martin remains because I can’t imagine there being much demand for him from elsewhere. However, we can all associate him with some truly great times and I can’t get the old Calvins in a twist over the situation. He was rehired on a Webber contract so he won’t be costing the earth.
Matt Jarvis? I don’t know what to say because I have no idea of the poor devil’s actual medical status. Instinct tells me there should be a way of cancelling his contract but if it were that easy they would have done it by now, I guess.
So we’ve only got three overpaid unwanteds left and some very interesting people already recruited.
If we have to begin the season with Remi Matthews, Michael McGovern and young Aston Oxborough as the goalkeepers we’ll have to live with it. Theoklitos anyone?
Plus Webber has surely got one final loan iron in the fire. We’ll have to wait and see on that one.
This Maddison-less, Murphy-devoided squad doesn’t look too bad to me: at least on paper. I am genuinely looking forward to seeing how they gel on the pitch and from what I’m told from Celtic mates, Kenny McLean could prove to be an inspired signing.
Plus as a Brucie bonus, the new kit looks great. I buy a new shirt every other season but this time I’m going to break my own rule and get them both. The training tops look well cool too.
So, we’re all mentally back from Moscow with plenty to focus on. I’ve said in MFW articles before that I’m not expecting top six this season – and I’m still not – but just now it’s well done Webber from me. Of course, that’s before I’ve seen the rejuvenated squad in action.
Just in passing: if any of our players or fans on tour go to a local restaurant and order a salad it’s likely to be mainly radichio heaped with super-strong mayo. Not to my taste but it may be to yours.
Vive la Revolution!