Euros 2018 Nottingham – Day 2 ‘Herding Cows’


Three seemingly unconnected things happened around the 1870s. Food refrigeration techniques for food were vastly improved. Transatlantic boat crossings became faster and safer with the advent of steamships. And, crucially, barbed wire was invented in the USA.

Three games happened. Two wins. Switzerland. Won 6-4. Belgium. Won 5-3.

And crucially one bad loss. England. Lost 8-1.

Barbed wire meant that American farmers could fence off their lands and protect their crops from animals. Suddenly, American food production soared. Faster steamships and better refrigeration meant that this food could now be exported from the US and American produce was much cheaper than that of Western Europe. This caused a crisis in European agriculture which forced huge numbers of people off the land into the major European cities which became overcrowded and struggled to cope. This led to a further massive exodus of emigration from Western Europe to the land of hope and glory in the US which was the foundation of the development of the US as a modern global superpower during the 20th century and into the 21st century… which finally led to Trump.

Ok, forget the last bit. The questions you’re always asking as a team is what elements you need to all come together to take that next step in standard. What’s your barbed wire? You have to constantly be searching for it, working on every little element of your own game and your team dynamic. We need something.

It was an interesting day for me. The first time I’ve fully felt the pressure to be a play-maker in a team, to be the one coming up with the scores when we needed. Our two wins, we made much harder work of the games than we should have. No lack of effort which is the first cog you’d look for in any team. Lots of lack of composure.

In the England game, I was so nervous before, feeling lethargic, low in energy, the usual stuff. I just ignore all that at this stage. In the game, I did the things I’m good at well. Communicating, defending, being in their faces, driving us up the pitch. Where I failed was in the newer role of unlocking their defence. I wasn’t able to get enough composure myself working at that speed, under that much pressure. Those skills weren’t ingrained enough. That’s the great challenge for me for the rest of this tournament. Can I do that against France and Wales?

Here is a man who would understand barbed wire. article-0-07645D66000005DC-16_468x345

A friend described John ‘The Bull’ Hayes on the rugby field, his body language was like he walking around his field on his farm herding his cows.

Our last match against Belgium was on the big screen today and watching it back the experience of watching it is so different from being in it. It was interesting looking at my own body language. I’m walking around like I own the gaff, like an arrogant ****. I was laughing at myself.

A few scores from that game…

Our full game is here in the last forty minutes. of this the ten hours or so.

On live again today at 4.30 vs Wales.


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