Welcome to The Stiles Council. It’s a blog about England’s national football team – and variations thereof – from a fresh perspective.
For some time now the England team has been a subject of extremes. When the major international tournaments roll around the media is full of bombast and hyperbole about forthcoming glories, but when things aren’t going England’s way it’s all doom and gloom.
The trajectory of English football in general – explosions in salaries, increased ticket prices and the out-of-control power wielded by the Premier League and its players – has damaged both the reputation of the national team and the experience of following it as a supporter.
When I was growing up, supporting England was fun. School trips to the old Wembley became some of my favourite teenage memories and the general atmosphere around whatever it is that ‘England’ represents didn’t seem to carry the baggage it does today.
Because I’m in a shrinking minority that believes in international football’s values and importance, I want to enjoy following England again. That’s why this website exists (along with the fact that the first blog I had was an England one); I hope you enjoy it, and maybe even come along for the ride.
Aren’t you forgetting something?
I don’t really cover the England women’s team. I’m not some meathead who doesn’t recognise women’s football or doesn’t enjoy it, but fundamentally this site is about the men’s national team. It will cover the under-21s by extension, but the women’s game isn’t a strong area of knowledge for me and therefore it would be disingenuous to discuss it just because it’s an England team.
As it happens, I think the authorities could do worse than separating the women’s game from the men’s game in terms of its perception as a sport. They should be targeting different audiences and behaving differently as a result. I wrote about that at length after the 2011 Women’s World Cup.
Don’t I know you?
Probably not. I do not write about recruitment in college gridiron, nor was I a writer on Blue’s Clues or a bit-part actor in The Love Letter.
I did, however, create twofootedtackle.com, a football blog that covered all aspects of the game between January 2008 and the end of 2011. The site was a success and opened doors all over the place, but the challenge dried up. The Stiles Council is my new challenge, a clean slate that allows me to (a) stop repeating myself and (b) get more enthusiastic about the subjects I’m covering.
TSC is part of TFT Media, but you don’t need to concern yourself with that.