Bizarrely I’m due to go to see a pupil at the same school I visited the day after the awful sending off incident of Beckham way back in World Cup 1998. It ‘s in a tiny village school in Derbyshire.
Watching football, especially supporting England triggered a vivid memory of this school visit.
- the staff were huddled in the staff room at 8.55am saying,’ You’re a psychologist, you have to help us, we’re so depressed!’
- it turned out the whole school had been gripped with World Cup fever. There was a massive display in the entrance hall, cut outs the the Jules Rimet trophy with prayers written on them for the England players
- the kids had brought in football memorabilia like old casey balls, small Grandad’s old leather boots etc
- they’d also done a huge geography display themed on the World Cup
- somehow this all linked into the Spice Girls and there were also life size models of them made from papier mache around the school
- we sat around drinking a cup of coffee while we lamented what had happened
- one teacher cried,’ If I saw Beckham in the street I’d march over and slap him!’
- another said of the displays ,’ I feel like ripping them all down.’
- Even a passing child added,’ Miss , the prayers didn’t work!’
- Eventually the head teacher said,’ Right we’re got to get on with the day as best we can!’ and the kids were called in from the playground. It was about 9.30 am at this point. It felt like a critical incident but it was just that the national side had crashed out of the cup.
- I can’t remember the rest of the visit, I know I assessed a child in the staff room squashed in next to the model of Ginger Spice , complete with her Union Jack dress
What would the players have said if they could have seen the depression and desolation of the 50 or so primary aged youngsters and their teachers?
I think we all used to get very carried away. I vowed it would never happen again. But then I watched England play Panama and win 6-1. I’m trying not to hope too much, let’s see how they fare against Belgium but you never know!