WILL England end 50 years of hurt by winning Euro 2016? Probably not if you share the views of the Tameside and Glossop football managers.
Of the nine people in question — taking into account the two-man partnerships at Hurst Cross and Seel Park — only Steve Halford of Ashton United fully believes England will lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy at the Stade de France on July 10.
At the other end of the scale is Mossley’s pessimistic Peter Band who said: “England are England and will let us all down again.”
Liam Watson (Stalybridge Celtic) expects Roy Hodgson’s squad to make it to the last eight, as does Lloyd Morrison (Mossley) who commented: “Their defence just isn’t good enough.” Paul Phillips (Ashton) and Chris Willcock (Glossop) believe England could get as far as the semi-finals — a stage they last reached 20 years ago when the tournament was held in England.
Curzon’s John Flanagan is at least prepared to consider England as possible winners. Aeon Lattie (Droylsden assistant-boss) said: “I have a sneaky feeling England might just manage it based on what Leicester have done this year.”
New Hyde United manager Darren Kelly, would like to think England might do well, but added: “They’ve got the ability to go far, and sport can be very unpredictable, but I can’t really see it. Maybe England could get to the quarter-finals.”
Kelly, who hails from Derry, believes the same applies to his native Northern Ireland, as well as to the Republic, for whom he boxed as a light-middleweight, and to Wales. He continued: “I really would like to see all the home countries do well, but in my opinion the winners will be Belgium.
“As a Tottenham fan I’m pleased to see they have three Spurs players in the squad including Mousa Dembele. They’re also second in the Fifa rankings behind Argentina. I think they could win.”
The other managers are largely split between Germany and France. Lloyd Morrison, John Flanagan and Aeon Lattie are supporting the world champions, and Peter Band says it will be Germany or Spain.
Liam Watson and Chris Willcock are in France’s corner. Paul Phillips is the only outright backer for Spain.
William Hill’s odds are France 3/1, Germany 4/1, Spain 5/1, England 8/1 and Belgium 11/1.