The Fan: My Dream Is to See Harry Maguire Play for Britannia at Neasden Stadium

By Davies, Hunter | New Statesman (1996), September 8, 2017 | Go to article overview

The Fan: My Dream Is to See Harry Maguire Play for Britannia at Neasden Stadium


Davies, Hunter, New Statesman (1996)


I have been so looking forward to seeing Harry Maguire play for England. He was a surprise choice for the squad for the Malta and Slovakia games, but had a poorly knee and didn't make either.

The thing about following England is that you have to cling to anything, any little novelty, self-induced fantasy, hoping they might turn out half decent and end those long decades of disappointment and depression.

Playing for England, pulling on that shirt, seems to turn even reasonable club players into feckless footballers with no ideas or imagination. Is it the name England that does it, freezing their brains and their bodies? In which case, the solution is obvious. From now on, they must call themselves Britannia, not England. Think of all the new commercial deals the FA would instantly be able to sell. Not to mention shirts.

By the same milk token, for the rest of this season Spurs should no longer play at Wembley. That is clearly causing problems in their little minds. From now on, it must be renamed Neasden Stadium.

Footballers are simple souls. Most will never twig that Britannia was once England and Neasden Stadium formerly Wembley. It will put a bounce in their step, release their souls.

Back to Harry Maguire. First of all I like his name, as if he might be one of Flashman's friends. I like the fact he has spent much of his career in the lower divisions, struggling in League One with Sheffield United, eventually reaching the Prem with Hull--and a lot of fun that must have been, as they got relegated last season.

This summer he moved to Leicester, for a piddling 17 million [pounds sterling]. After just three games, he was hailed as our new salvation, the hope for England in these sad times. Gareth Southgate heard the calls, sensed our beating hearts, and bingo, up Maguire's name popped in the England squad, even though most football fans outside Sheffield, Hull or Leicester will not have heard of him. There were even those heralding him as a future captain of England--despite never having played for them. …

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