How Much is the England National Team Valued?

After defeating the most successful footballing nation, Brazil, at Wembley you would expect the country to be in a state of jubilation.

However the reality is the country are as peaceful as ever. The decorum that surrounds the footballing environment in relation to the result may be due to the fact the game was only a friendly.

International friendly matches have grown to become something that fans, as much as managers, perhaps don’t enjoy so much.

Managers are always reluctant to let their players leave for international duty when it is only a meaningless friendly in case they return injured.

For the fans though the games are becoming more and more tedious, as can be seen on the pitch, as you may see for a large spell during the game the ball being passed around between two centre halves without achieving much apart from a rise on the possession statistics.

Is the atmosphere just like this on friendly nights at Wembley though? The answer would be no.

Since the demolition of the Old Wembley, “the home of football” and the return to North London the side, and the crowd have never appeared overly comfortable.

Such is the way in modern football that fans will car more about the fortunes of their own clubs over that of the national side.

During major tournaments they will want the side to progress and achieve what they once did in 1966 but apart from these tournament the support for the national side is deflated to say the least.

Would this be do to the polarisation of the national side playing all their matches at Wembley.

Of course it is now out of the question for the national side to travel around and play games all over the country, as they did whilst the new Wembley stadium was being built but would it not increase support.

If every part of the country got to see the national side it may help bring the expectancy on the side back to reality also as more people would see the side play as a team instead of rating each player individually and assuming they will make a decent team.

The FA would not allow the side to travel playing games in the North in stadia like Old Trafford, Anfield and St. James’ Park. Nor would they want them playing in the Midlands or South in Villa Park, Nottingham Forest ‘s County Ground or even St. Mary’s.

This may be a move that would be beneficial for the country though. If this were to happen it may prove to FIFA and UEFA that England have great facilities in terms of stadia and would be able to host a major tournament.

This may not be the reason the governing bodies have not awarded these tournament to the country but it surely it would have it harder for them to decline a thorough bid.

It would prove that although England may have older stadia and not brand new purpose built stadia that what we have is historic and has character to it. We have the new stadia such as the Emirates, the Etihad and the Stadium of Light all of which aren’t too old and class as modern, all are also in different regions of the country.

But with us having these old stadia, unlike countries who have hosted tournaments in recent times and perhaps even with the new Wembley and the others modern stadia in England, our old grounds souls offer history and character to a tournament.

Of course England would still play matches at Wembley but by playing in other regions of the country allows fans to from all over the country to watch not just those who live in the capital or are financially able to afford the journey.

This would not be a new idea for the national side as it was done during the rebuilding process of the new Wembley and is also something that happens on the continent with Germany, Holland, Italy and Spain all playing across a variety of venues.

Both Spain and Italy have played games in recent times in what are now lower league sides grounds and there are most certainly adequate stadia in the lower leagues of English football also.

In terms of attendance figures though, their is the possible argument that some of these grounds may not have the capacity to host England internationals also but if there were to be a game against the like of Andorra again or San Marino or other minnow then the demand may not be there and in fact it may make for a better, more intense spectacle for the game to be hosted in a more compact venue.

The sense of patriotism would return to the English game in terms of support for the national team instead of just every other summer if the side are able to qualify, also it would have been a great way for the FA to celebrate 150 years of governing the game by allowing the whole country to see the side play.

As for the impact at Wembley perhaps the players would step their performances up and not be so cagey as the players in squad may know it is their only or last chance to play at Wembley if not every game was played there. Players would not take caps for granted, that is if the romance surrounding Wembley still exists either.


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