Talking Sport: England stars compete with soggy bottoms

Trevor Watson
Trevor Watson

Talk about Nervous Nellies. All the fears are back about England’s footie heroes just because they didn’t set Wembley alight in a friendly against Norway.

Alarm bells were ringing because Wazza Rooney and the boys met the might of Switzerland this week in a Euro qualifier.

You have to wonder how many Swiss stars would be even considered by England, after all one of their best players during a respectable World Cup showing in Brazil was a bloke who couldn’t get in the Fulham side.

The others in this group are Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and, once again, mighty San Marino, who would struggle in a Sunday league.

Some of the English strikers will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of a career-boosting hat-trick or two in those matches.

Yet, somebody on radio muttered: “Slovenia could be tricky.” For heaven’s sake.

Much was made of an attendance of only 40,181 at Wembley for the Norway fixture and the TV viewing figures were well below those for The Great British Bake Off which was shown at the same time.

I’ve no doubt that if the ‘Bake Off’ had been at Wembley, more would have turned up to see Mary Berry and that plump, bearded Liverpool bloke in midfield than Jack Wilshere and his mates.

Be fair. The baking is more competitive than a friendly footie game and some recent events suggest there’s more aggression among the contestants.

England will stroll into the Euro finals and then we’ll all be back with the Glory, Glory, Glory stuff and flags stuck out of windows and cars.

The other night I bumped into Jack Austin, that no-nonsense winger with several clubs, not least Bramley and Dewsbury.

One of my best days in rugby league was watching Jack and the other Bramley heroes, who had Arthur Keegan as player-coach, beating Widnes, at Widnes, in the final of the Floodlit Trophy and it was no fluke - on the way they beat Wakefield, Cas and St Helens.

Jack said people keep stressing to him how much better the game is today.

He added: “I tell them if players like Neil Fox, Alan Davies, Alex Murphy and Vince Karalius were training six days a week they’d slaughter you.”

Well done to the cricket lads of Hopton Mills A, who have won the Central Yorkshire League’s Division 4 title.

A couple of weeks ago they were set to finish third.

All it needs now is for the first team to win their final match and stay in the Premier Division.

The build-up to next year’s RU World Cup in this country has begun in style with bags of publicity already.

Two group games are at Elland Road, Italy v Canada and the Scots against the USA. Tickets are on offer at £85, £65, £35 and £20 with kids at £15.

This might raise eyebrows but there’s every chance they’ll sell out, even if Mary Berry isn’t there.