In an effort to propel the England football team into the later stages of the World Cup in Russia, the FA and Gareth Southgate are asking travelling fans to remain quiet during games to allow players to concentrate.
The request marks a departure from previous tournaments where encouragement of the team by the fans was seen as beneficial. The FA have also taken the rather extreme measure of not commissioning or endorsing a song for fans and players to identify with.
England manager Gareth Southgate explains, ‘In every World Cup tournament we have an army of travelling fans, singing and shouting encouragement, willing the team on with every ounce of body and soul, and we haven’t come anywhere near winning since 1966. It doesn’t take a genius to see where the problem lies.’
‘I was on the bench in 2002 where the fans were doing the conga around the stadium, even though we won 3-0 all I could think of was: would I be missed if I joined the back of the line? Now, there’s drummers and trumpeters blasting away, the players can’t hear themselves think and they can’t hear my instructions unless I raise my voice a little.
‘I’m doing my bit, I’m taking the other team managers in our group to Nando’s when we get there, to ask them to ensure their fans are quiet and respectful too. I don’t think that’s out of order, they’ll be paying for their own drinks.’