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Newcastle United fans comments ahead of England v Italy – On England, Euro 2020 and football coming home?

3 days ago

Ahead of England v Italy on Sunday night we made a last gasp request to a number of Newcastle United fans.

Asking a number of regular / irregular contributors to The Mag, what they thought about the national side, tonight’s game, selections / tactics, club v country, these England players and their manager, Euro 2020 as a tournament.

Basically an open invitation to contribute some words ahead of this England v Italy final, whatever they wanted to say that was remotely relevant.

So here we have it – many thanks for all who responded to the call and good luck to England tonight!

Davey Hat-Trick:

When I was nine years of age, England won the World Cup.

It’s a cliché…but that England team united the entire country. People in my family who usually showed no interest in the beautiful game found themselves falling in love with Bobby Moore, the Charlton brothers, Nobby Stiles et al.

I see the same thing with this England team. The wags have gone, the show ponies can’t get in the squad, and we have a team that the whole nation can identify with. Regardless of age, gender, sexual persuasion, race, religion or club allegiance, England is with you.

Sport – and football in particular – can do that in ways that ways that just doesn’t happen in other walks of life. Which explains why so many politicians, columnists and Twitter bores – after sanctioning the booing of the team by their own fans four weeks ago – are suddenly pretending they were in your corner all along.

Long after Alzheimers means I can’t recall what I had for breakfast or what my nurse is called, I will be able to recite the names of the boys of ’66. Win tonight – I know you can – and a generation of kids will be able to do the same for the rest of their lives. Good luck boys – immortality awaits.

Chris Charlton:

Come on England.

Because of Mike Cashley I’d forgotten what it was like to be inspired again by football. All credit to the squad, and especially how they are led. Not just a bunch of overpaid robots, but people: fans themselves, with opinions (including politics) and they are expressing themselves both on and off the pitch with real credit. Come on England. Come on the toon. off Ashley. off Boris.

Jamie Smith:

I am buzzing for tonight’s final and fully behind a fine England team. After a fairly average group stage the knockouts have been memorable in the extreme – a refreshing release from the grind that following NUFC has become these days.

Many times in recent years I’ve felt a disconnect from the England team. It’s been a regular frustration to see people meander around anonymously as our country exits a major tournament with a whimper, then see the same players turn up at St James’ and run the game.

This lot seem different though, after a year where the likes of Jordan Henderson and the amazing Marcus Rashford have used their profile to help the people that need it most, the dignified way they’ve refused to buckle to the bullies of society over the gesture of taking the knee has set the tone for a tournament of feel good moments from a team that, for me, represents the great things about this country.

Of course, it would be brilliant to have some Newcastle players involved, but the state of our club in recent times (and Wilson’s injury!), means this is not really a thing any more. As an Englishman, I am more than happy to back a side of players from other clubs that carry themselves so well, you can’t help but will them on. Amazing job by Southgate since taking over, so grateful to that dodgy undercover retired who usurped Fat Sam to usher in this era. It’s Coming Home!!

Travis Bickle:

It’ll be nice to be engaged in a football match again.

Having been obsessed all of my life, for the last couple of years I’ve become very disenchanted. My obsession has always been NUFC – with England a distant second. But since Rafa left – well I’ve left that as well. With no crowds either, last season I didn’t watch a single match on TV – the whole affair has seemed completely pointless, and pretty distasteful. So it has been nice to get the old juices flowing again.

I don’t like the ‘taking the knee’ nonsense mind and I wish they’d stop that. I come to football to get away from politics. But, like many people, I’ll just ignore it and hope in due course it goes away.

I’m glad we’re playing Italy – no shame in losing to them if we do. 1-0 to Italy I’m afraid.

Simon Ritter:


Before the first match of the 2020 Euros (why were they not renumbered the 2021 Euros, btw?) I scrolled through Oddschecker, looking for quick ways for a fool and his money to be parted. True to form, I put £5 on England losing each of their three group games. That went well, didn’t it!

And another £5 on them finishing last of four in that same group. I partly blame Bob Dylan, that very occasional St James Park performer, who many years ago convinced me “the first one now shall later be last”. Sadly for my bank account, the times haven’t been a-changing quite as much as he predicted.

Just in case you’re assuming I dislike the England Men’s National Team (which seems to be the woke name for the lads previously known as Ingerlund) another £5 was donated to those generous chaps at Sky Bet (other online rip-offs are available) with my wager that the Stockport Iniesta aka Philip Foden aka Iceland’s biggest fan would be the tournament’s top scorer. Seemed a perfectly logical punt at the time. He had scored loads for that outfit from Middle Eastlands in the previous few months, was almost the first name on Young Gareth’s teamsheet, had won the Fifa Golden Ball at the under-17 World Cup. No challenge seemed too tough, no mountain too high.

There was only one red flag: the Gazza-style blond rinse. But even that seemed a minor blip when Foden came within inches of scoring a spectacular goal against Croatia, curling a superb shot against the upright. Only a matter of time . . . Then Gareth Sans-Waistcoat lost patience with an underperforming, overhyped, bog-standard midfielder and hauled him off. Foden was equally underwhelming against the Scots and has barely been mentioned since. Now he’s allegedly injured, though I suspect his pride has taken the heaviest blow. That young lady in Iceland must be wondering why she bothered . . .

As for tonight, the decent thing would be to lump a fortune on those honourable, transparently decent, sporting paragons known as Italy to lift the trophy? That would increase Ingerlund’s chances exponentially. By 11pm BST at the latest, you’ll all know whether I did.

David Punton:

There is something about the current England set up that has kinda trumped the club v country debate.

This group, since 2018, have been a breath of fresh air. I think I’ve even forgiven Harry Kane for taking out Lejeune on the opening day of the season when Rafa was still at Newcastle.

I’ve seen gripes that Southgate doesn’t come to look at NUFC players enough, and maybe, just maybe that’s true of a few. Certainly Karl Darlow was close to being in the England frame before Bruce put Martin Dubravka back in.

I’d say fair play to Gareth Southgate. He’s done an amazing job, regardless of what happens in the final. He may not have done much as a manager at club level but you simply can’t deny his track record in the international scene. He’s been the perfect fit; he knows how players tick and he’s a decent man too, if not quite the statesmen that Sir Bobby Robson or Sir Alf Ramsey were.

I would love nothing more than to see England win this tournament. It’s historic.

I’d also love to see a reborn Newcastle United.

That’s the beauty of football, you can want both of those things.


I am sticking to what I recently said in my most recent article, that I will willingly show my jacksy in Fenwick’s window if Southgate’s England turn over Mancini’s Azzurri. I am still quite sure that shoppers on Northumberland Street have nothing to fear as we build up to the game.

When Southgate fluffed his lines at Euro ’96 he cashed in on his misfortune by making a pizza advert, that I think will come back and bite him on his own jacksy.

Seriously though, England got lucky in the semi against Denmark, and they could have already shot their bolt.

The one big advantage for Italy I see, and it is big…is the difference in stature and class between the two goalkeepers, Donnarruma and Pickford.

Add the fact that Italy are lightning quick on the counter and England can be ponderous at the back and I can see Italy running out winners in normal time, possibly by two goals.

The tournament hasn’t really captured my imagination as I am too concerned with what is going on at Newcastle United.


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