For some reason I thought of the European Championships in Italy in 1980: riots in the park and England going out fecklessly. After a few tournaments which went benignly in terms of violence since 1998, when there was again trouble in Marseilles, I saw the same dismal scenes of cafes trashed, mindless thuggery, excuses about lack of segregation and poor policing. One might have some sympathy if we had not been there before. Even the performance was sterile. I yearned for a Spanish midfield artist who could turn the game with some outrageous piece of skill or a consummate finisher like Thomas Muller. I have long given up on Rooney whom I hoped would not play. His last impressive tournament was 12 years ago in Portugal.
Thank goodness for the Welsh who played with brio, and their fans seemed to enjoy the tournament not besmirch it. Perhaps lucky to win though denied a penalty and I was irritated by the Gallic fervour of pundits Messrs Saunders and Savage I was delighted to see them win. They had in Bale and Ramsay players that a could embellish and turn a match.
Since everyone seems to be declaring their hand on leave or remain I will declare my allegiance to the stay group, not for political reasons as I see the EU institution as flawed nor even economic, thought I have no doubt the Cassandras who predict enormous turbulence are correct but I’m revolted by the underlying assumption that the UK is so impressive that we are better to go alone and a leave campaign which is just now based on immigration. I happened to speak to another remainder Neil Rosen who made the point that his Jewish grandfather from Belarus was made welcome here and his father and 2 brothers attended an East End school with two other sons of immigrants that became the Lords Goodman and Sherman. Neil said he attended a charity event on antisemitism when a notable Jewish businessman and intellect leaver was holding forth on immigration controls quite forgetting his ancestry and the way the UK adopted it . The one group who must hope for a Brexit are those putting on a football tournament in the EU. No doubt they find the English savage not to be a noble beast.