The last twenty years saw a dramatic increase in literature focussing on football and everything surrounding the game; so much so that one might come to think there have alreadey been enough books published on the matter. Almost, if not every, aspect of the game has been highlighted to a different extent that it is fait to speak the market has reached a point of saturation. At some point most of these works will mention the importance of sport and football in particular for English identity and self regard and somewhere there will be a chapter on the fiercest rivals. This is where Germany comes into the frame. Honigstein’s account however looks at the English game form an outsider, that is, a German perspective, which makes it an interesting read as the comparisons go much further than the usual rivalries on the pitch.
Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page
The myth is dead. That was the title of one newspaper article from Germany the morning after the England match at the World Cup claiming that the myth of Wembley has finally been buried. Other papers wrote similar headlines. That implies that there has been a myth about the so-called “Wembley Tor” or the third goal as the English would put it in the first place. It is doubtful that there has been such a myth. According to my dictionary a myth is a traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon and typically involving supernatural beings or events. As this would elevate all players from England participating in the final of 1966 to the status to that of half gods, this concept needs further explanation. Certainly Moore, Hurst, Charlton, Banks and co are not considered to be gods or half gods. Also the time is not too distant and many people in the British Isles still can remember what they did and where they were on that day. Rather to declare it a myth is more a way to deal with the fact that England actually won anything and nothing ever since. It is a way to deal with reality, an Ersatzreligion. A second explanation is that of false belief or idea. Now that is a little bit closer to the truth, the false belief being that England post 1966 believe(d?) that they are the best in the world.
I think the writer was right, the myth is dead.