Dear Gareth

Gareth Southgate, England manager
Photo from wikimedia commons

Dear Gareth,

I’m not a fanatical football fan, I got into it fairly heavily during Euro 1996 and afterwards, then gradually lost interest again, partly because of all the money to be honest and then other things just took over.

But every time a big competition comes round you find yourself getting interested again, and your hopes are raised, only to be dashed in fairly short order. But all that has changed since your appointment as England manager. Who would have dreamed five, ten years’ ago that an England team would reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018 and the finals of the Euros in 2021?

A new aura

But it’s not only on the pitch that things have changed. There’s a new aura surrounding the England football team. You’ve brought a spirit of integrity and humility, professionalism and passion that we didn’t even realise was missing until it was there. You’ve demonstrated that you can be proud of your country yet respect other nationalities at the same time, that being patriotic does not have to involve hate and hostility.

You’ve shown that leadership is about honesty and accountability and leading by example, not gimmicky slogans, fancy words and contrived photo opportunities. You’ve under promised and over delivered. You’ve stuck to your principles in the face of criticism even from your own fans and the government.

Something to be proud of

And the lads on your team are the living proof that your approach works, both on the pitch and off it. They’re a unit who play for each other and the country, yet demonstrate by their example that there are more important things in life than football. It doesn’t matter that you lost the final. After the disgrace of Brexit and the misery of the pandemic you finally gave us something to cheer about and a legitimate reason to be proud of our country.

I hear your contract is up for renewal. Please sign it!

Yours sincerely,

A fan

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