I went to four Wales international games during 2019. The first two were friendlies, with the other pair being Euro qualifiers.
It was definitely a case of keeping the best till last though, as the 2-0 victory against Hungary in Cardiff, on November 19, ensured qualification.
It was a fantastic evening in the capital and as I’ve declared on numerous occasions, although I’m proud to be English, I’m also equally proud of my Welsh roots.
The two sit very comfortably side by side as far as I’m concerned. That’s what identity is, it’s how you feel.
Anyway, back to the evening in question, and on the way to the ground I observed a group of pro-independence Welsh football fans, as they also headed that way.
Invariably, there were numerous anti-English chants going on. Actually it doesn’t bother me at all; as stated, I embrace both constituents of who I am with equal measure.
However, listening to the chanting, I did think to myself, hopefully we’ll win and then, how many English-born players will you be cheering in a few hours time?
Well, the answer to that was four in the starting line-up, and one substitute, making it a total of five out of thirteen featured players.
In percentage terms, that’s 36% of the eleven that kicked-off the game, and 38% when you include the substitutions.
Three of the English-born players – Ethan Ampadu, Daniel James and Joseff Morrell – go back just one generation to a parent, while Chris Mepham and Kieffer Moore just about make eligibility, courtesy of grandparents.
As far as birthplaces are concerned, it’s Exeter, Hull, Ipswich, London and Torquay respectively.
Llongyfarchiadau Cymru – congratulations Wales – you got by with a little help from your English friends.
The life lesson regarding the story of the fans is to make sure that there is harmony, consistency and fluidity between what we think, what we say and what we do. There’s more of that in the video.