Following England’s 5-1 World Cup qualifying win over Kazakhstan, a lively debate has broken out, as to whether it is appropriate or not, for England fans to boo one of their own.
It’s likely that there is a personal element, in the booing of Cole. Both his on the field, Mike Riley tantrums last season, and his protracted transfer to Chelsea, alienated many in the game. But, like the booing of Frank Lampard, and the negative reaction Steve McClaren’s team received, in the later days of his regime, it’s symptomatic of a dissatisfaction with the England team.
It’s a dissatisfaction that has been brewing, for years. The failure of Sven Goran Eriksson’s and Steve McClaren’s teams, to deliver on the world stage, whilst loaded with ‘star’ players, caused many to become disillusioned and turn their backs on the national team. The booing of Ashley Cole, reflects a sample of the national mood, towards this under performing team. A disconnect between the nation and the team. We care. Do they?
It will take England getting to a World Cup final, to readdress this problem. To create a focus for the nation, that enables them to forgive under performances of the past, and once more believe in the national team.
Fabio Capello, appears to be taking England in the right direction. But, it will only be, when this England team face the critical tests, at business end of the major tournaments, that we will know, if they have finally broken through this stop situation.
Until then, the footballing public will remain sceptical. Too many false dawns, have led to a national mood of disappointment. The booing of Ashley Cole, was merely a symptom of that disaffection.