On Monday 12th July 2021, we woke up a proud nation. You didn’t lift the European trophy but you lifted our spirits and showed us how you don’t need silverware to be a winner.
Since the World Cup in Russia and throughout this tournament, we have witnessed a special bond between brothers that transfers on and off the pitch. This connection to each other, to football, to a goal greater than an England win is what sport is founded on. It’s the hope of bringing joy and achievement to a nation who have come so close, but never quite got the whole ball across the line again.
As a team, you have shown growth, patience, discipline and progress in the right direction. As individuals you will have had moments that will stay with you forever, like missing a penalty in perhaps the biggest game of your career so far or not taking a chance when the opportunity presented itself. Whilst utterly heartbreaking, these moments are what make you. The true disappointment would be not taking these moments and using them to fuel your fire. To bring you back taller, faster or stronger. To leave you the same as you were when you started this journey.
For us fans, we cry and dry our tears, we take down our flags and store them for 2 years until the next time. For many of you players, you will have went to war as boys and returned home as men. You will feel what it’s like to have millions of people banking their dreams on you, wishing, praying that this one, this one is the one. You feel the weight of expectation, the potential for scrutiny battling with the potential for heroism.
Through all of that emotion, such highs and such lows, we stand together edging closer and closer toward realising a dream that children will label as a staple of their childhood and see grown adults teaching those same children what it means to wear three lions on your shirt.
You should be proud of what you have achieved, the character you have shown and the optimism you instilled in us. After a long period of isolation and change, you gave us a reason to join together in song and dance and rejoice in a familiar feeling of a shared desire to win.
We win and lose as a country. Your successes are our successes and your heartbreak is our heartbreak. Pick each other up and let’s go again.
When we are united in this way, football will always be home.
Yours, England fans (excl. the racist ones🖕) x
Join the movement
Written by: Natasha Bains