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Crowd control

It’s an ironic issue that English football – having moaned the absence of crowds – is now presented with a tricky problem by their return.

The problem is “taking the knee”.

Gareth Southgate has consulted the England  players who are in favour.

Fans are not and even – at Middlesbrough’s stadium – resorted to booing during it.

The commentators tend to say that the issue is getting rid of racism but the reality is that the Black Lives Matters movement goes further than that and the politicisation turns a number of supporters  right off.

I also wonder if England’s abject performance in the Test yesterday might have been influenced by Ollie Robinson being left out to dry.

Of course his tweets were offensive but made many years ago and surely those that advocate tolerance cannot  find it within themselves to close the matter after Robinson’s profuse apology to his teammates and the public.

We also could have done with him yesterday not least for the valuable knock he might have delivered.

England’s batting collapses so regularly that they need a Chris Woakes or Robinson to shorten the tail, no disrespect to top run scorer Mark Wood but he is not selected  for his batting.

Root came across as weak, too quick to pay lip service to the critics and not public enough in support of Robinson.

Again, the crowd indicated its displeasure and in this case humour with the Barmy Army’s Rendition of “Here is to you, Ollie Robinson …”

About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts