• Craig Malpass

Going Home

We have a choice in the stories we tell ourselves.

It may seem like 'just a game' to some but I witnessed many different immediate reactions after England's defeat to Croatia - the most visceral of which felt heavy on my heart. 

There was a lot of gratitude for the experience - like me there were some applauding at the final whistle. However there was also a lot of anger, frustration and a need felt to offer my smile and congratulations to the young Croatia-supporting family that were getting a but of aggressive 'banter' on the bus home.

The reaction to disappointed fans could be: Same old England.


We're useless. We never really played a difficult team anyway.


Bunch over overpaid w*****s.


You could take your TV and throw it out in the street as my friend Hannah witnessed (photo below)

Now. Gareth Southgate himself said the players got to rewrite their own stories.

Remember the shootout? Rewrite they did. And tonight, in my view, they did not go out with a whimper like teams of old. 

So, to those fans that react in that way - and I mean consistently, as a frustrated initial reaction, especially fuelled by a few Guinnesses (under which this article is written) is always expected - I invite you to see how that reflects in your own life? 

How many times when times get tough and a little disappointing do you say the equivalent of 'Same old England!'. I do. All the time. But when I catch myself I know I'm only focusing on the negative. There's another way.

When I don't quite meet the mark, it could be I say 'I'm useless. I never did anything to shout about'. Or it could be I have an opportunity to look at all the positive things I did; a chance to not compare myself to others but see the challenges and victories I've faced, however small, relative to other successes and disappointments in my own life. I might see I've done really well.

When I consider myself to be overpaid...well, actually that doesn't happen, sadly. But if I'm not happy with the quality of work that I've done then I want to be damn sure I figure out why I'm not happy with it so I know what I can do better and then I can win the World Cup...I mean...achieve to a level I am proud to say I did my best to get to. Sorry, it is still a little fresh after all!!!

It's fine to hurt. To lick wounds. But let's not dismiss so much just because we've experienced disappointment. I find we do that far too much as individuals in this nation. We have the sports team and, indeed, politicians we deserve. Sport may feel like play, but how we react in any area of our lives can affect another. If we want our national sports team to represent us and our hopes and dreams, then we surely need to live by example.

Who knows when, but when its time ... #itscominghome. In the meantime, let's feel at home with ourselves and be proud for what we've achieved and take joy from the experience. And let's wear a damn fine waistcoat whilst we do it!

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