Readers' letters - July 19

England manager Gareth Southgate  but was the teams performance overrated by the national media?
England manager Gareth Southgate but was the teams performance overrated by the national media?

England football fans – you need to face up to reality

Having just put on my suit of
armour, as a fan of the much tougher sport of rugby league, where players do not writhe on the pitch in agony after the slightest physical contact, and then make a miraculous recovery helped by the magic sponge and the award of a hoped-for free kick, I am writing to ask the FA and all England football supporters to face up to reality in assessing the team’s performance at the World Cup.
While not being a fan of football, I still wished England every success in their quest to return with the cup, last brought to these shores in 1966.
Am I alone in thinking that the national media has blown out of all proportion the coverage and
accolades given to the team and manager in their progress during the competition – and overrated our players’ performance?
By all means support the team, but do not be blinded by patriotic fervour in believing that the team is playing better than it actually is.
To put the team’s performance into a true perspective, they were fortunate to have a comparatively easy group draw with Belgium, Panama, Tunisia – hardly mainstream opponents at World Cup level. To help their progress, having lost to Belgium 1-0 after making eight team changes and finishing second in the group, the fact that the mainstream teams Brazil, Spain, Germany and Argentina were all beaten made our task easier as to facing further “formidable” opposition to the final.
At the knock-out stage, we drew 1-1 with Colombia and won on penalties, thanks to them missing a kick after our initial miss.
Fair enough, we beat Sweden 2-0, again hardly a top flight team, and then lost to Croatia 2-1 in the semi final. To cap it all, we then lost again to Belgium 2-0 in the play-off for the bronze medal.
Hardly the play that football dreams are made of – as when our lads triumphed in 1966 against much tougher opposition.
Cyril Olsen
Address supplied

An oasis of sanity before world went mad

In 2018, we have a US President who sports oompa loompa fake tan, says one thing in an interview and denies it as fake news in the next.
Two years into Brexit negotiations, with no agreement in sight, Nigel Farage is now saying that we will be worse off outside the
EU.
Boris Johnson is making little attempt to conceal his lust for power, stymying Theresa May at every turn, regardless of the cost to the UK.
In opposition, Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies seem unworkable and based on a halcyon view of the 1970s.
In 2015, we had Barack Obama, David Cameron and Ed Miliband.
It may not have seemed so at the time but, looking back, it was an oasis of sanity and reason before the world went mad.
Phil Cray
via email

It’s the worst
of all worlds

It seems to me that the commitment to avoiding a hard border in Ireland means that there can be no control on immigration between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
How do the Irish feel about becoming a major
migration route?
The more you examine our proposals, the more you feel that we have purposely not tried to achieve Brexit, failing to publicly refute any of the EU propaganda and putting forward something which appears to be unacceptable to either side.
Perhaps, a cunning plan by a politician who personally wished to remain.
However, we now seem to have achieved the worst of all worlds, both in our negotiations and the impact upon our political parties.
AF
Address supplied

Protests were hit and miss

Without realising it I think the recent Donald Trump protests around the country, however pathetic and childish, actually added almost certain creditability to President Trump’s powers of motivation.
The man may not be perfect and not one to try and mould himself in the guise of the usual patronising politicians that we have come to expect.
He does ask awkward questions, many of which upset the media and those waiting to be offended.
He may be brash and even crude, who knows?
Never having met the man, I can, just as his critics do, only judge him by what’s written, true or false, then form my own opinion.
But one thing is absolutely certain, no one ignores him and he gets people interested.
Judging by some of the banners displayed, it appeared many people didn’t have a clue on which aspect of Donald Trump they were protesting about.
Just like the silly balloon that refused to fly as intended, it all appeared a bit hit and miss.
Jan Pederson
via email