“It doesn’t seem real that our little Archie Bum has gone to heaven and our little Daniel is in intensive care because of a tragic, tragic incident involving a dog attack.”
So said the parents of four month old Archie Darby, who was killed by their aunts Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog in Colchester in October.
The debate about changes to law regarding dogs have accelerated over the past three years, with an increase in the number of deaths related to dog attacks. While laws have changed substantially, the argument of whether enough has been done to train dogs and prevent further attacks rolls on.
With another International football tournament nearly upon us, the whole country eagerly anticipates. England breeze through qualifying, win some friendlies impressively and hype begins to build. Pessimistic fans suddenly find their glass half-full and talk begins that maybe, just maybe, England might have a chance of winning the next tournament. Football is coming home! And then suddenly England crash out at the hands of (our many) superior opponents. The post mortem begins by fans in the pub who think they are Gary Neville, and by ancient pundits you haven’t seen since the last time we won a tournament. The emphasise becomes “why don’t we focus on the youth?” and the ever common “why can’t we have a set up like Spain or the Germans?!” Then we see that we have San Marino, Lithuania and Slovenia in qualifying and thus, the cycle restarts.
However, this time it feels a little bit different. Slowly but surely, recent performances have given England fans a little more than just a flicker of hope this time. Maybe, just maybe, we have a fairly good chance of winning our first tournament in 50 years? I will weigh up the pros and dilemmas that Roy Hodgson, and the fans will have, if England is to finally deliver on the biggest stage.