There is a sense of something special happening, it only happens once in a lifetime. England can this evening win the European Championship for the very first time.
An event that will bring 30 million people together including everyone in Huddersfield.
Over the past few years this great nation of ours, this tiny island has gone to hell and back, it’s torn itself apart. Political tension, riots, terror attacks and we’ve had to deal with a global pandemic in which hundreds of thousands of people have died.
Football is a great healer and whilst it can’t put everything right it can help to bond different communities together. So it doesn’t matter your age, gender, ethnicity or whether you are disabled or able-bodied.
We, as a collective, have a chance to witness history being made for OUR country. It’s a chance to move on from being a divided nation.
Look down the years at tournaments gone by. In 1990 there was a real divide in the nation but Gazza’s tears brought us together.
Euro 96, a home competition, put pride in England and, although we should have won, there was a sense of something better to come on the pitch. That didn’t happen but as the current England boss Gareth Southgate has said, this current crop of players aren’t burdened by history, they like to write their own.
We’ve had 55 years of hurt, but we never stop believing. That is the truth about English football fans, we fight for our clubs and country to the bitter end.
So when Harry Maguire, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane etc pull on the shirt they need to be aware that if they win this thing they will become, in the words of the late great Sir Bobby Robson, “immortal, legends forever.”
So what does England mean to me? It means tea, scones and cream, fish and chips, beans and a Full English. It means visiting our great cities of Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle.
It’s the Queen, the Royal Family, the local Huddersfield community. It’s the sense of pride in our country when we do something well on the world stage. It’s pints in a pub with mates, it’s going to work, it’s the Yorkshire moors, it’s Stonehenge, it’s Scarborough, Margate, Bristol and Cornwall. It’s the bustling London Underground and the Three Lions on our chest.
Historically, as an island, we’ve been invaded for over 1,000 years but now we welcome in people from around the world who want to make their home here. We are one of the biggest multi-cultural nations on the earth.
And one thing that can help to sum us up, and bring us together, is our football. It’s a drug, it’s our national game, Sunday will be a once in a generation moment. Watch it, drink it in, cry and laugh with friends and family. We deserve to win as a nation. We gave football to the world and Southgate is bringing it home.
I predict a 2-0 England win. COME ON ENGLAND!