Morning folks, we all good today?

This will probably be my last post for a few days, as I’m off to Glastonbury with The Management today so will probably not get around to compiling any ramblings until next Tuesday. We were supposed to be going yesterday – hence not penning anything, but sadly the wife’s Grandma – a beautiful lady who was one week away from her 95th birthday – passed away. She led a wonderful life, was a wonderful person and so yesterday The Management and I spent the day in consolation but also in celebration of one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. We weren’t sure whether to even head there this weekend, but Frances was a strong, wonderful Northumbrian and she’d have told us not to fuss about her, so we’re going to go, light a candle in the chapel at Glastonbury and find time to think about all the joy she gave in our lives as much as we can today, tomorrow and for the rest of our days.

On the football front there’s a little bit to talk about, although Arsenal have confirmed receipt of a Danish ‘keeper Lucas Nygaard  to the academy yesterday. It’s interesting because I don’t recall us doing interviews and videos with academy prospects, so perhaps this is a new approach, or perhaps it speaks to the fact that everything is so quiet right now. Or perhaps it has more to do with the fact that by the looks of things, until Karl Hein signs this new deal that we’re expecting, we technically have only two goalkeepers at the whole club in Raya and Ramsdale. And Ramsdale is expected to leave the club this summer too.

But as I’ve mentioned earlier in the week, the window doesn’t officially open until 30th June which is on Sunday, so perhaps we’ll start to see the wheels in motion from Monday.

As for the Euro’s, it’s now on a two day ‘rest period before the Round of 16 kicks in and at this point in international tournaments I always kind of feel a little sadder. For me the group stages are the best bit, because you basically get two weeks’ of relentless football matches on all the time. Now as the teams start to think out, you get more ‘in between’ days and less of the volume of matches you can just whack on at any stage. The draw is now settled and whilst most people in England are surprised and pleased at how the draw has fallen favourably with England, I liked this article on Football365 flippantly and somewhat ‘tongue-in-cheekily’ saying that “It is frankly ridiculous that other England managers have not adopted this obviously sensible policy. They are damn fools.”.

It’s true though. Southgate has – during his tenure – basically been handed lucky draws throughout and as a result when he eventually gets the ol’ tin tack he’ll most likely go down as one of the most successful England managers of all time. Under him they got to the semi final of the World Cup in 2018, finished runners up in the Euro’s in 2020 and got to the quarter finals of the World Cup in 2022 losing to the eventual finalists and tournament favourites France. On paper it all looks pretty respectable.

But in 2022 they had an easy group with the US, Iran and Wales and in 2020 they had Scotland, Croatia and the Czech Republic. England under Southgate have made a habit of being flat-track bullies until they’ve come up against any kind of opponent who has anything about them. He must have a bucketload of rabbits feet, four leaf clovers, ladybugs and horseshoes over every door he ever walks through, because that kind of fortunate don’t come often to those in the England job.

And it’s hard not to look at this tournament as being anything else. England play Slovakia in the Round of 16 and if they win that they’ll play Switzerland or an Italy side looking as ropey as they are. Then if they progress there they’ll be up against Austria, Turkey, Romania or the Netherlands before eventually meeting one of the big clubs in the final. The tough side of the draw has Germany, Spain, France and Portugal in it. England could only meet one and it’d be in the final. Southgate is a lucky man, but luck will only get you so far and it still wouldn’t surprise me to see England out before the final, Southgate still doesn’t know his best team after having months to work out different options.

But such is life. Let’s see how this all shakes out. Maybe he can bumble his way straight to the final and if that happens then fair play to him. All I know is that although I think he’s a bit of a fraud of a manager, the potential to see the nation happy, Saka happy, as well as Rice and Ramsdale too, would bring joy to me for sure.

And on that note I’ll call it a day for today. Have yourselves a good one and I’ll be back at some stage in the next four days or so.

Laters people.