Posted: 7/9/2018


      So sang the 4,000 or so England fans at full time in Samara Arena as The Three Lions took care of the Swedes 2-0 and go on to Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium forMatch 62,  the second semi-final on Wednesday against Croatia..a very good opponent indeed.

      I was in Lyon at Stade de Gerland in 1998 when the Croats crushed  Germany in a quarter final encounter and came of age on the world stage for the first time, only to lose in the semi-final to France a few days later in Paris.

       I was at Wembley on that memorable afternoon in 1966 when Geoff Hurst blasted the ball into the West Germany net in a 4-2 extra time victory that changed the lives of those red shirted young heroes forever. I leaned over and touched the Jules Rimet trophy as Bobby Moore descended the 42 steps from the Royal Box after wiping his palms on his red jersey before receiving the trophy from Queen Elizabeth ll in her buttercup yellow coat. After that I waited a few minutes then vaulted over the red velvet royal box to find the middle three padded seats on the front row had white cardborad signs with black lettering,

      Sir Stanley Rous (President of FIFA), H.M. Queen, and Prince Philip.  I NICKED the H. M. QUEEN sign as a souvenir !!!

     . In 1990 in the Stadio Delle Alpi in Turin I suffered with fellow fans and players. After 1-1 (Andreas Brehme and Gary Lineker)  it went to penalties and the Germans won 4-3 with Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle missing, and Paul Gascoigne crying his eyes out. My friend Jose Ramiz Wright from Brazil was in the middle and I left on an overnight sleeper train from Torino Porto Nuova for Stazione Termini in Rome for the final, West Germany v Argentina.

       In 1996 I watched as The Germans knocked out England once again at the EURO semi-final at the old Wembley and Gareth Southgate missed his kick from the spot.

        Last Tuesday evening at Spartak Stadium in Moscow I enjoyed, or ENDURED, the penalty kick victory of England over Colombia, outnumbered maybe 20 to 1 by the South American fans.  On Saturday I was in the Grey Bar across from Cathedral Square in Vilnius, Lithuania where the locals had celebrated their 100th anniversary as a nation with songs and fireworks.( Drinking a Somersby pear cider and glued to the big screen in this Old Town favourite of mine. 

         Evidently it was England's 983rd international match as Gareth's troops took care of Sweden 2-0... maybe half a dozen other people watching. Most were at outside tables drinking and eating and couldn't have cared less.

        "Gareth You're The One, You Still Turn Me On. Football's Coming Home Again. MAYBE, JUST MAYBE.

       He seems connected to the fans and realizes how much they have paid to be out in Russia this summer. Sven-Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello never did connect with them.  Marcus Rashford " We're just normal people". I remember having a conversation once with the great Sir Matt Busby at The Cliff, the Manchester United training ground. "Ron" he said." The players are just normal people-with extraordinary talent."

     COME ON YOU REDS !!! (Actually I think FIFA has said England will play in All White on Wednesday.)