Dan Boyle: There’ll Always Be An Engerland


From top: UK Prime Minister Theresa May as England football manager Gareth Southgate in yesterday’s The Sun after comparing her Brexit task to his team’s World Cup ambitions;  Dan Boyle

Whatever about the emotional wrench of supporting an England team during the World Cup, it was an easier leap to accept that with Gareth Southgate as its manager.

The country has as manager of its national team, someone who is decent and likeable, and with whose personality the idea of liking the Sassenach becomes more bearable.

England sees itself in a period redistributive karma at the moment. Its football team is, last night’s semi-final defeat notwithstanding, enjoying its greatest period of success since 1966 (apparently they won something then).

Meanwhile the flames of Brexit continue to engulf the country.

For decades the English football team has been the torch bearer for the irrational exuberance Brexit has come to represent.

England thought itself entitled to win tournaments. Failure was usually put down to cheating foreigners, and/or a World set against the plucky Brits.

The more obvious failings were ignored. The exaggerated ability of players. The inability to blend conflicting egos into a team. The ongoing fantasy that to be the best in the World, required style more than substance.

These fantasies became embedded through a rotten British media that equated sporting endeavour with jingoism. A media whose elevation of the obscure and the bizarre were portrayed as equal elements to the football.

An example of this was the promotion of the WAG culture. The better the ‘bird’ you scored, the better you were perceived as a footballer.

Tired of the fifty years of hurt, the British media turned to Brexit to restore its nostalgia fix. Instead of Britain ruling the waves, we now had cheerleaders for Britain waiving the rules.

A new cast of cosseted foot in the mouth ballers were unveiled – Johnson, Gove, Rees Mogg. While their sexual exploits weren’t being recorded, they were achieving orgasmic delight, with miles of newsprint and mounds of airwaves being expended on their behalf.

Logic, consistency, informed consent were unimportant to this debate. What mattered was that the right boxes were being ticked – sovereignty, getting our country back, control of immigration.

Nor did it matter how this was to be achieved, or what would be the impact from the resultant changes. Two years after the result of the Brexit referendum, and less than nine months away from when leaving the EU is meant to happen, the absurdities of Brexit are continuing to stockpile.

Meanwhile, away from the glare of the spotlight, the English World Cup campaign exceeded expectations. Some encumbrances have been removed. Largely, though, it seems to have been the introduction of real values, inspired by Southgate, that have benefited the team.

Diligence and determination had a far greater effect than the entitlement of old. We should be applauding the endeavour and the absence of hubris.

In the meantime Brexit Britain implodes. David Davis is taking time out to learn about the intricacies. Boris Johnson has left to spend more time with his ego. Others will follow.

Only one man can save England now, and it isn’t the Sam Allardyce-like figure of Jeremy Corbyn.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Top pic montage: The Sun

61 thoughts on “Dan Boyle: There’ll Always Be An Engerland

  1. dav

    It will be very interesting to see how “The City” will turn on the tories who lose them money. Will we expect an avalanche of sex scandals hitting the media shortly. Like the last days of John Major’s government

    1. fez

      He’s made them all money, shorting sterling! Only people who lose out are the joe soaps on the street

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Given his success with the England team, I can see him providing better leadership than any tory.

  2. Scundered

    The amount of bigoted views and assumptions in that piece is embarrassing. Thought we had all moved on from those days. Let it go.

  3. Cian

    “Only one man can save England now, and it isn’t the Sam Allardyce-like figure of Jeremy Corbyn.”

    So who can save England now? Is it the Batman?

  4. Alan McGee

    It’s best to stop reading here:
    “last night’s semi-final defeat notwithstanding, enjoying its greatest period of success since 1966 (apparently they won something then)”
    England came 3rd in the 68 Euros and the 1998 Euros AND they reached the semi finals of Italia 90.
    Furthermore they are currently ranked 12th in FIFA standings whereas they were ranked 4th in 1997.
    Check your facts! Utter hogwash from Mr. Boyle.

    1. Dan Boyle

      The Euros is a lesser competition than the World Cup. 1990 is equal to not exceeding England’s success in 2018. And they still haven’t won anything since 1966. I take no pleasure in that.

      1. Alan McGee

        Still wrong Dan. “1990 is equal to not exceeding England’s success in 2018”.
        They were fourth in 1990. The third place playoff will be decided on Saturday.

        You could say the pinnacle of their success was the 1966 world cup win. What is factually incorrect is to say England is “enjoying its greatest period of success since 1966”. Your prowess on the football pitch must be something to behold if you see 3rd place at the Euros as some kind of “lesser” achievement.

        You also ignore the FIFA standings which placed them at 4th in 1997 and currently 12th. The sport’s global governing body would place their greatest period of success since 1966 somewhere in 1996-97. But you’re a politician, you don’t deal in facts

        1. Dan Boyle

          And if they do win it does nothing to nothing to negate the argument I’m making. It still as good as anything they’ve done since 1966

          1. Alan mc gee

            it completely negates your argument as you set out with a false premise. England is NOT currently enjoying their greatest period of success. Fact.
            so what ever pondering or musing you draw from that false supposition is therefore flawed at best or simply, baldly incorrect.
            you’re wrong Mr Boyle. you’re wrong inside out and back to front. but of course you can’t admit that.
            Goodnight to you sir.

          2. Frilly Keane

            ah knock it off Alan

            Dan is the last lad around here t’be talking about sawker

            go torment Bertie

          3. Alan mc gee

            knock what off? holding someone accountable for a falsehood and furthermore refusing to accept demonstrable facts. I will not.
            Nor should you.

  5. OddJobBob

    You lost me at “Sassenach”

    If you are going to be pretentious and mix languages you need to spell correctly or it just looks dumb.

    1. Dan Boyle

      Sassenach is the English spelling from the Scots Gaelic. Congratulations on getting that far.

      1. OddJobBob

        Don’t pretend you didn’t get it wrong, the Irish spelling is Sassanach, Your explanation is implausible.

  6. A Person

    I’m with Dan on this one. Humility is what this English team this far (that and a lucky draw). But their political masters are leading up the wrong path. Boris, who invited a photographer to picture his resignation letter, Rees Mogg (who looks like Hitler) has not a clue about anything other than Engerland, Farage, who told countless lies during the Brexit campaign. Read the Daily Mail online and the comments from the deluded readers. Thankfully May has stood up to the gobsheens in her party. I think history will be kind to her.

  7. Ollie Cromwell

    Dan,of course,is passing on his judgement gained after a successful career in politics.
    Oh,wait a minute …

      1. Ollie Cromwell

        I wasn’t talking about Mickey Mouse local politics deciding on who is going to be a traffic warden.
        You couldn’t even get elected to the European Parliament,that notorious backwater of third-rate benchwarmers.
        Anyway,perhaps you might share with us the sexual exploits of Gove and JRM that seem to be exciting you so much.
        Or at least a passable analysis about Southgate’s change to a 3-5-2 formation last year.

        1. Nigel

          If the English team was half as good at moving goal posts as you are they’d have that cup in the bag.

        2. Wellness

          There is a strong whiff of self-loathing emanating from ” I wish I was squired by dear old Muggsy” Ollie Crowell.

  8. scottser

    Ive read a few articles conflating brexit with englands world cup but it doesnt stack up, its too lazy.
    If there is comment worth making it is that the uk had the strongest bid for wc2018 and were screwed by concacaf, russia and qatar who supported esch others bids. No surprise that 2026 will be held in the states. This is going to be the story of the uk under brexit – perpetually taken for mugs, vulnerable to the more unscrupulous. Billynomates.

    1. damien

      I see you are no fan of the UK
      Mind you I just wonder how countries survive outside the EU

      1. Being British, Can I First Just Apologise For ...

        Norway does fine. But then, people like Norwegians.

  9. Being British, Can I First Just Apologise For ...

    Yes, there will always be an Engerland. But not at the World Cup 2018 final.

    Ironically, the EU is the only reason that Brits can go on holiday to Lanzarote and not get food poisoning from the fish and chips there.

    1. damien

      Funny Spain was always a destination for Brits on package holidays since the 1970s before the Lisbon treaty or the removal of borders

  10. Being British, Can I First Just Apologise For ...

    There’s always be an England, but not at the World Cup 2018 final.

    Ironically, the EU is the only reason Brits can go on holiday to Lanzarote and not get food poisoning from their fish and chips there…

  11. Trouble

    “Only one man can save England now, and it isn’t the Sam Allardyce-like figure of Jeremy Corbyn.”

  12. ollie

    Theresa May is trying to implement the impossible becsue its the will of the people.
    Your government Dan ignored the will of the Irish people and called a second vote on Lisbon.
    Worst Green Party in government, ever. At least you are consistent, heckling from the sidelines
    Cue retort “heckling, pot kettle, blah blah”

  13. Dan Boyle

    Hey Ollie, you took your time to get here. You must be tired. There are usually a gal of dozen other items on your check list. You’re slipping,

  14. Being British, Can I First Just Apologise For ...

    Best fans in the world, man and boy, etc… (contd. page 94):

    Angry football fan hurls beer over reporter after England’s World Cup loss to Croatia


    If you live by the sword of “alright, but not great”, then you die by it.

    Final comment says it all:

    “What a bunch of f…:

      1. realPolithicks

        “You,sir,are a numpty of the highest order.”

        You calling someone else a “numpty” is very amusing indeed.

        1. Automatic Joke Generator

          Stop slagging Ollie, Polly.
          Hes been trying to leave his house to have a ‘social’ life since 7pm yesterday.

          Pay attention, please.

  15. Cú Chulainn

    Ffs Dan, you’ve lost the plot completely.. get a grip man.. you can’t have sport with a fool..

Comments are closed.