Well, we never said when it’s coming home. There is nothing like football to disappoint you, as York City supporters have found out in recent years, but England certainly offered plenty of hope, especially after the fairly routine 2-0 victory in the Quarter-Finals over Sweden. I never realised how much hidden hatred people had for the lovely Swedes. From “Flat pack your bags, your going home”, “No Ikea what they were doing” to “that’s for all the times I bought furniture that didn’t come with an allen key”. It was also amazing to see so many non-football fans take an interest in England’s progress in the World Cup. I loved the naivety when some people thought the chant of “It’s coming home” was because if you win the tournament it means you host it next time. It’s not Eurovision!
Of course Croatia, despite two previous exhausting fixtures that went through extra time and penalties, put paid to those already deciding how best to tackle France in the final, in a typical English fashion of looking too far ahead. Despite the cynics pointing to the easier route England took to get to the Semis, it was without doubt the best tournament for England for some time, with Maguire, Stones and Trippier for me being among the best players in the whole competition. One person commented the key player of the tournament was the bloke who filmed Sam Allardyce that led to his sacking, arguing that Crouch and Carroll would have been up front and we might not have done as well.
There were many other highlights throughout the World Cup; some cracking fixtures such as France 4-3 Argentina, Belgium 3-2 Japan and one of the early games; Spain 3-3 Portugal. Much as I don’t care for the inflated ego of Cristiano Ronaldo, the way he looks after himself and lives the life of an athlete is definitely an inspiration to others. Whereas Wayne Rooney, some two years younger than modest Ron, is about to play in the American retirement league a year after drunkenly playing a piano in his England tracksuit at someone’s wedding.
So I guess it’s time to start thinking about the real football, given August sees York City’s second campaign in the National League North begin; the club’s last at Bootham Crescent. It shows how far they have fallen to see Chorley away on the opening day (4th August) as a tough opener but given they have been in the play-offs the last two seasons, perhaps the respect wasn’t given last season to sides like Chorley which probably accounted for why the Minstermen didn’t even reach the play offs themselves last time out. Hopefully by the time of reading York City have had some morale boosting friendly results as I am writing this a day after Barnsley beat them 7-1 and could have hit double figures. Home games against Stockport County (Tuesday, 7th), Alfreton (Saturday 11th), Curzon Ashton (Saturday 18th) and Blyth Spartans (Monday 27th) completes a busy first month in NLN where hopefully Martin Gray has the team firing on all cylinders.
Do you remember Spellbound from Britain’s Got Talent a few year ago? The children from that were all training as acrobatic gymnasts. Local 13 year old York girl Naomi from Manor CE Academy, along with her partners Sofia and Freya, recently beat 16 other trios from all over the country to win gold at the Saltney Classic acrobatic gymnastics competition in Wales. That gold medal comes from lots of hard work, disappointment at other competitions where lack of a straight leg or pointed toe can make all the difference, and the sometimes subjective marking by judges.
Naomi trains 12 hours every week at Leeds Gymnastics Club, home to Olympic medallist Nile Wilson. Training for Naomi includes learning dance routines, building muscle strength, repeatedly practising balances and tumbles, not to mention frequent bumps and bruises. Naomi’s next challenge will see her working towards competing at international level in the 11-16 category.
We wish her all the very best!