Well done Gareth Southgate. He did not leave on the highest level but did manage to create a a team worthy of the countries support. He stood up for players taking the knee, and stood firmly against the vile racist abuse that the 3 palyers received after missing penalties against Italy. So for this and the hope, we thank you. You have set the bar high for a follower – anything less than a final win in the World Cup will be seen as abject failure!

I do wonder what happened to the attacking brio that ws manifested by sterling (shame his finishing was not better!). was it the Walker throw in that ended our dreams in frustration? Who will pick up the mantle – apparently the wage is crap, only £5million! However is the press examination of every aspect of their lives worth it? Although as Kate pointed out – it is sort of part-time!

So the front runners are Tuchel, Potter and Howe. Personally I would go for Tuchel as England need the added technical nous that he could bring. Potter was turned down by Leicester and needs to rebuild, whilst Howe maybe priced out as he will be on big money from the Saudi owners of Newcastle (but how secure is his job?). He has done well at Newcastle without setting the world on fire – and that is what the supporters demand! Others like Pochettino and Klopp are probably just fantasy picks?

The potential is there for any new manager, as long as he can maintain the team spirit that Southgate promulgated – Saka, Bellingham, Guehi, Kona, Palmer are a fine start, Rice and Foden will surely come good again. Kane looks to have played his last whilst there are many others who performed well and deserve another chance, and several new players yet to be seen. I am not advocating playing a 16 year old like Yumal did for Spain – but are we too slow at bringing players through? I seem to remember a very young (16 year old) Rooney scoring a scorcher against Arsenal his first league goal? With all the psychologists available I am sure they can work out who is ready for the big game!

And now for the transfer game! Clubs need to sell homegrown players as this balances the books better – e.g. Gray to Chelsea. Personally I think it sad that players are not allowed to show loyalty to their home clubs! And I know they have massive wages but also for young players it must be difficult moving across the country?

Argentina beat Columbia in Copa America, and Canada 4th? Maybe the world will need to realise that the USA league is developing players (and the Canadian League!). I cannot forsee a time when Saudi attracts young upcoming starts like Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal, or Rodri or Pedri or Gavi. Why would they leave the adulation and support to go to a country with a completely different culture!


What a change we have in the new government. No more scandal of MP’s perverted weekends surfacing in the media, no more harebrained schemes like Rwanda or the Folkstone Harbour debacle, or PPI scandals. Just a few crap stories eminating from the seats opposite with idiots being put in the HoL, Johnson dressing like a dosser for a wedding and Farage going to the USA to avoid Clacton!

We are hearing only good news – or at least policies designed to make things better. Ed Milliband has got off to a flyer with plans for solar and wind generation. We await sensible initiatives regarding, housing, prisons and a host of other complicated issues. But we await them with hope that there will be a solution rather than backhanders for the tory faithful. Temporary visas for asylum applicants would negate the need for small boat crossings and allow them to work in the meantime? For this to be politically acceptable to the racist fringe in Parliament there would need to be an agreement with France on the return of failed applicants – or other destinations agreed!

Then the football – the best team in the tournament won! there will be much discussion of the future for Gareth Southgate – I would not be surprised if he says that enough, is enough. I do not blame the media here – every football fan in the country will have had a voice in saying how he could have done better! History will be kind to him. Yes it is possible that he could have set up the teams in a freer and more attacking style – but the press would have virtually lynched him if that had gone wrong! the players for the future are there, but managing an international team is much more difficult than training a league side 24/7. If Gareth goes, and I believe it should be his decision alone as he has brought the England side so far, there will be much speculation of who would/could take his place. Eddie Howe at Newcastle has done well/OK, and there wll be other English names put forward, but the one which sparked my interest was Klopp – we have had foreign managers before and Klopp did a fantastic job at Liverpool. Of the England squad it might be time to say farewell and bon voyage to Harry Kane? But basically a great squad who would match Spain 3/4 times? I think we can say that we are better than France, Germany, Italy, Portugal? So definitely the ability to mix it withnthe best!


Too much hype! The useless naked nationalism seeps out of the putrid sores of their election defeat! Why? Is it a group therapy thing? “If I am seen waving the flag and singing allegency to some toffee nosed twat I will be accepted as a patriot and good person by other twats like me”? I guess it is the fear of being alone, the desire for uniforms (formal and informal), the need to belong maybe a primeval instinct when rejection by the community meant death – maybe in some turgid swamps this is still socially true!

My views on the game – well I hope for a good one. If a 16 year old sets the game alight with magic I will be thrilled. As a teacher what an inspiration he is – he also made a point of refering to his roots as a poor child of immigrants. Also if he combines with Williams, who has a magnificent haircut (not that that is relevant but!) to send the game to a different level I will be happy. Jude and Bukayo and many others in the England squad also deserve support.

Whatever the result we will see the RWP claiming it as a victory or, if a defeat, placing the blame firmly on Labour! For fucks sake just get a grip – it is just a game!


Then other stuff! So England have ground their way through – nothing particularly wrong with that! However if yhoping for pizzazz and panache, tink again. Bellingham scored a saver in the last minute to take it into extra time, and there are approximately 5 million fans who will say where Southgate has got it wrong! For those old enough, England did not get off to a great start in 1966! But I guess the demand for greater entertainment is higher now? Spain looked to be what England fans wanted to see – attacking football with excitement provided by a schoolboy on one wing and a 21 year old on the other. 31 shots on goal and 4 scored. OK against a low ranked team – but still done!

Italy out and Germany looking good, France with huge potential. Personally I would not write off the Alpine countries yet. Switzerland are well organised as are Austria. The Euro’s have thrown up surprises in the past!


The international gap looms again and I have not related on the season so far. First my teams. Sunderland flatter to deceive with good spells followed by a crushing defeat – playoffs if they are lucky as Leicester, Leeds and Ipswich seem to have te top sown up with Southampton snapping at their heels – it looks like 3 or these 4 should be promoted. Bristol City are doing the normal mid table thing and now have a new manager. Plymouth, as expected are struggling just above the drop zone. Bristol Rovers, also with a new manager are also mid table. Forest Green look like heading out of the league unless there is a turn around in their form. Chelmsford City also blow hot and cold with too many draws (lacking a striker??).

In the Premier it again looks like Manchester City will sweep all before them. possibly moving 3 points clear of arsenal if they beat Chelsea this evening. Spurs and Liverpool look good for next 2 places. ManUtd keep winning (badly) so cannot be dismissed. The other team in the mix for top 6 is Aston Villa who are on a role. Brighton and Brentford look to have exceeded their predictions until recently.

Elsewhere – harry Keen is breaking all scoring records in the Bundesliga whilst Jude Bellingham is starring for Real Madrid. Ajax have moved off the foot of the Eredivisie with 2 wins and a draw in their last 3 games.


The FA Cup throws up some romantic stories at times before the state funded behemoths of Manchester City and Newcastle United enter in the 3rd round.

This week Cray Valley Paper Mills of the Isthmian League – South East Division enter the draw for the 2nd Round of the Emirates FA Cup. The Paper Mills closed in 1981 but the club, founded in 1919 eventually found a new ground which they lease from Dulwich Council in Eltham. The ground, which will host 1946 FA Cup Winners Charlton Athletic, has a capacity of 1200 with a stand of 100. Cove are 117 places below Charlton in league terms.

This cup run should guarantee their finacial situation for a while!


A World Cup Final – well done the ladies. Some great games, goals and fouls! Just as it should be! It will be a while before the fan base fully develops due to the inherent sexism of our society. I would guess that 80-90% of fans at the Premier League this weekend were men? Men, many of whom will stop off at the pub before or after the game, and expect dinner when they get home to be put on the table and small children tired after an entertaining afternoon at the park or whatever! The women’s game will not get that following of women so will rely on the support of men?

I hope this is not too pessimistic of me? The quality is good and will improve with greater support and finance. How long before we see the Woman’s FACup at Wembley.

PS. This blog was initiated by Debs! I hope it is not seen as sexist


Sunny – I was up early and watered the greenhouse and made ginger cookies before going to the shop to do the papers.

Football – Arsenal lose 1-0 at Forest despite having 82% possession. So ManC win the league for the 5th time in 6 and 3 in a row.. I know I should begridge the way that their money has bought them success – but their football is so majestic and beautiful! Guardiola really must go down as one of the best managers of all time (other contenders are Herbert Chapman, Alex Ferguson and maybe Brian Clough. PSG have shown that money and buying the best palyers does not = runaway success! Maybe Newcastle will go to buy Mbappe for next season? Who can challenge ManC next season? They do not have an aging squad like Liverpool last season, or one in need of major implants like ManU, Arsenal may be able to strngthen a young squad, Spurs and Chelsea are in a bit of disarray! AVilla have the funding behind them to make a proper impact after a good end to rthe season.

If Luton beat Sheffield Wednesday in the play off final they will have a huge bill for refurbishment of Kennilworth Road to pay that will restrict their expenditure on players. Odds on favorites to go down next season if they make it up. Next season could see all 3 relegated teams looking like favorites for promotion, although Everton might face restrictions on recruitment? How will Plymouth get on in the Championship?

Politics – Sein Fein win in NI council elections with socialist policies. When will NI leave the UK? Will it be before Scotland? Even Wales – heavily populated by the English may leave? Could London become a city state for a while (before its inherent corruption brings it down. Will England then become a pariah state? Are there enough English people who are not racists or fascists?


Wow! We did not see that coming! Newcastle and Spurs losing means Liverpool are back in with a chance for a top 4 finish. At the bottom there is only 6 points between the bottom 9. All in all it is a surprising season. Newcastle did better than expected but have faltered of late, Brighton continue their good form and Brentford have exceeded expectations. Everton are the flops but not surprising as they have sold their best players after years of poor purchases. Fulham have also done well whilst WHU have slumped (they made no new purchases in the summer).


I love the way they play on the pitch and their manager. However if they have breeched the rules they should be demoted and not fined monopoly money! Other clubs must be treated similarly – Chelsea seem to have some dodgy practices, and I suspect others are also feeding their shredders! Is this an opportunity to demand that all clubs pass 10% of equity to a fan base and have a supporter based person on the board. No club should ever be in the position of having a single person in charge, or a foreign government.