The season ended 2 weeks ago, since then we have had 3 Play Off finals and a Champions League final at Wembley. Last night hosted the last game of the season at FA HQ, a friendly for England against Ireland. Interestingly enough, i was present at the last time England played Ireland at Wembley 22 years ago ! Doubly interesting, apparently i pushed past Louis from One Direction as we made our way up to our concourse.
Roy picked a strong enough team, led out by our current petulant footballer of the month, Mr Ashley Cole, celebrating his first home game since he broke the 100 cap barrier. No Stevie in the middle, replaced by Carrick and Sturridge came in for the benched Wellbeck.
The atmosphere was several times better than usual, as the FA relaxed their ticketing policy and allowed 26,000 of Irelands finest in the see the game. This makes a game feel like a real game and should be applauded. Apparently the same will be done for the Scotland game later in the year. This is great news but should be tempered against the possibility of trouble, more of that later.
Ireland went for it from the beginning, and England tried to contain , with Rooney busting himself but getting little support. The Irish support smelt blood and willed their team on with louder and louder choruses of the Fields of Athenry. They were rewarded after 13 minutes when Shane Long beat both central defenders to the jump and dropped the header into the far corner beating Joe Hart all up. As part of the jubilation, this happened.
I can imagine if it had come from the home stand, the press would have a different take on the “exuberance”. Anyway, England woke up and started to support the front 2, and payed that off when 10 minutes later Sturridge made a great run and pass that ended with Lampard getting his 29th England goal. Can Frank get another 20, in the 3/4 years he has left. Why not ?
At half time as these things do, it all goes wrong. 3 subs for England (4 if you include Sturridge limping off after the equalizer). Fair play to Trappatoni, who made a sub every 10 minutes just to annoy everyone. Crap 2nd half. So 1-1, same as it ever is with ENG-ROI.
Nobody learned anything tonight, and neither will they in Brazil. Absolute waste of time.
Having met superstars on the way there, life was slightly different on the way back. First off, i met West Ham Glen on Wembley way. WHG is a mate of mine but more importantly Aussie John who I have covered around these parts previously. I asked him where John was (they are massive England buddies). He has no idea as AJ had left some time before.
Anyway, i get on the tube. As usual, its packed and we head off to Kings X. 10 minutes in I get a slap around the head. I spin around and am met with a giggling Aussie John. We also met someone I knew on the Fast Track back to Kent.
One Direction bloke 1
And that ladies and gents, was the better game tonight.
On a more serious note before i leave, myself and John were discussing how many away fans were in with the home crowd. Now this shouldn’t be an issue, but sadly it is. I saw no problems, but John saw a few in his area. On his way out he bumped into a senior England FA security bod. When asked what they were doing about it, he said and i quote “nothing to do with me !” What sort of answer is that ? Its everything to do with you, and that sort of behaviour will come to bite them on the arse when Scotland roll into town. I hope I’m wrong but experience tells otherwise. But hey, why work when you can blame everyone else.