A Scotsman who wants England to do well at the Euros – I’m one of a rare breed

I am one of a rare breed, a Scot who wants England to do well in the Euros. Strictly speaking, I am not 100% Scottish. My mum was a Geordie and when my dad's job moved to Newcastle while I was a student, I was about Newcastle a lot.

I had several student jobs in the North East and fell in love with the place, especially Newcastle United. My son and I had season tickets for many years and made the 350 mile round trip to every home game and quite a few away ones, including Blackburn, where we sat one seat along from Mike Ashley( pre-Keegan debacle). To the point though.

Gareth Southgate is like someone who has been given a Ferrari to drive and proceeds to go down the motorway in the middle lane at 50mph with the hazard warning lights on. He has at his disposal probably the best array of creative and attacking talent England has ever had, yet he uses them like he was still Middlesbrough manager and going to play away at Man City. This England should be scaring the life out of the opposition.

Yes, he has established a good team spirit, devoid of factions, unlike the past. Yes, he is good with the media. Politicians are good with the media, however, this doesn't necessarily mean they can do a good job when it comes to their key task.

Yes, he appeared to do pretty well with younger age groups, but he is with adults now. England needs more than a good Human Resources media man. They need someone who is bolder, not someone whose first thought is we must not lose.

I taught history for 35 years and Southgate[1] reminds of General George McClellan, who when he was the Union commander, was given huge resources of men and equipment by Lincoln. Despite Lincoln's urgings, he would not attack, then when he finally did, it was painfully slowly and with a lack of tactical imagination. He was constantly outwitted by his numerically inferior enemy, who used speed and surprise.

Sound familiar! My biggest worry is that The FA decide they want a young English manager[2] who emphasises fitness, a high press, moving the ball quickly and utilises the flanks, maybe even allowing Kyle Walker over the halfway line. Someone who creates a good team atmosphere, handles the media well, stays calm AND can make good tactical decisions, rather than going a goal up and then acting like a rabbit in the headlights.

Can you think of anyone like that?


  1. ^ Southgate (www.themag.co.uk)
  2. ^ English manager (www.themag.co.uk)