The jewels remain still gleaming, for now. Which England will we get? Which Billy will we get?

11 Jul

Could today be THE big one? The one we’ve all been waiting for? And for clarity, I don’t mean if we find out whether the Birmingham City transfer embargo story is confirmed. Likewise, what the next instalment of Peter Gilhams’s Brentford tour diary contains (the most recent edition is up, here). Of course, there’s nothing but talk of the World Cup and whether England can reach a first final since West Ham fans claim to have won the tournament back in 1966. In their way, Croatia. Already there, a France team who played out a quite thrilling semi-final with Belgium last night before running out 1-0 winners.

This is going to be something very special. Pub tables are booked and plans made for the evening. It’s 6.30am and already I’m hearing nothing but football as the lead story on the radio whilst the music is being interspersed with snippets of commentary. Roll With It – Jonathan Pearce remix? If you were listening to Matt Dyson and Dave Berry on Absolute radio early doors then that’s what you got. The phrase ‘Football’s coming home’ is everywhere. But will it? 

Well, whatever happens , let’s not forget Croatia have just as much right to be there as England. Will believe they have just as great an opportunity of taking on France in the final. If nothing else, they deserve huge praise just for having the balls to pose for ‘that’ page in the Panini sticker book. Presumably, the result of having lost some form of bet. Please, tell me this is the result of having lost some form of bet….  

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Croatia – first class action in the sticker book.

Then there’s the so-called ‘Curse of ITV’. With England having recorded only a second ever ‘Light channel’ World Cup win since 1998 following victory over Colombia in the second round, is that jinx broken? Or could the spectre of Glenn Hoddle still lean over Gareth Southgate’s team like some nonsense spouting harbinger of doom?

No chance. England are too strong. The mood too positive. The ‘lucky’ table in the pub already secured. England reaching the final is as likely as Billy The Bee appearing in front of a TV camera at some point during tonight’s proceedings. Hopefully face set to ‘ecstatic grin’ rather than’ groan of despair.’  One can’t knock his enthusiasm and passion for both football and England. His magnetic attraction to TV cameras. Those facial gymnastics are an incredible thing – does he have to practice in the bathroom mirror?

In all seriousness, how great to see a familiar Brentford face out there so often. Spreading good cheer and positivity. Helping us tick off our World Cup bingo cards each game. With Denmark’s Henrik Dalsgaard of Brentford having finally departed the tournament after his own magnificent run, great work Billy on keeping us in the public eye.

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Which Billy will we get tonight?

Yet getting back to tonight’s game, the positivity aside will fatigue play a part in England’s favour? Whether physical or mental? Croatia have seen their last two games go all the way to extra time and then penalties. Whilst the prize at stake is a huge one, could they already be on the back foot? The margins between winning and losing are going to be infinitesimally small tonight and this may be one factor to England’s advantage.

Then again, we all expected Saturday against Sweden to be cagey yet once Harry Maguire opened the scoring the game really was one-way traffic. Even when the opposition did get in on goal, there was Jordan Pickford to keep them at bay.

I guess that all this goes to say is whilst I’m backing England, ultimately nobody can make an accurate prediction. In a tournament that has seen the likes of Germany and Argentina humbled, Spain go down in the second round and Brazil in the quarters – take nothing for granted. No one team has a divine right to win it. No one team can guarantee getting there. Obvious, perhaps, but this really is wide open. Whomever doesn’t lift that trophy will never have had a better chance to do so,  

For now, the jewels remain still gleaming. As somebody almost sang. England are alive. But so are France and Croatia. The only thing you can say for sure is that at the end of the day (Clive), a tournament that has done nothing but captivate and surprise is sure to still have a few tricks up her sleeve. And I cannot wait to find out what they are.

Roll on 7(seven) pm.

Nick Bruzon

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3 Responses to “The jewels remain still gleaming, for now. Which England will we get? Which Billy will we get?”

  1. David Carney. July 11, 2018 at 8:09 am #

    I thought your blog was focussed on Brentford FC and all that is good in that respect. If I want to read about the England football team there is a multitude of sources, most of them incredibly biased, just as your comments are. Football is the World Game and the current Brentford players represent that, from St Kitts and Nevis, the ‘Home Countries’, five or six European Countries, Iceland, Algeria, Nigeria and others. Why therefore the focus on England? Sure it would be nice to see England repeat the unexpected win of 1966, but if……and only if they are the better team in their next two matches.
    Following Brentford is quite different to following England because even if Brentford are not the better team on the day it is always disappointing (and it hurts) when Brentford do not win.
    So, how about getting back to good old fashioned bias for Brentford and forget about what most people will forget about either this evening or Sunday evening.
    After all, Tribalism is alive and well following Brentford but it is Patriotism that is alive and well following England (assuming you are English), which is very transient and rarely galvanises in the same way that Tribalism does.
    So, come on, get over your Patriotism and get on with the real event of supporting Brentford get promotion tis year – after all, in football nothing else matters to Brentford supporters.
    Having said that, I will be up at 4:00am tomorrow morning in Melbourne hoping like hell for an England win.

  2. Jason Stubbs July 11, 2018 at 8:35 am #

    Jules Rimet hopefully gleaming back in blighty next week

  3. Rob July 11, 2018 at 9:00 am #

    Billy is turning out to be ine hell of an ambassador to BFC. Ok he might be out there to enjoy himself but the coverage he’s getting in the media both home and abroad is only doing us a great service. CoYB’s….and E’s!

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