We as a nation are used to sporting failure; it’s just part of life and we have come to expect it –especially when it comes to football.
When the famous ‘30 years of hurt’ lyrics were first belted out by millions of England fans across the country in 1996, the cynics were well within their rights to suggest that another 30 years could well be on its way – especially after another penalty shoot-out defeat to Germany.
True, there’s little to suggest that England’s 1966 World Cup win is about to be repeated this summer – in fact logic dictates that Roy’s Boys will do well to even to make it out of the group stages in Brazil – but there is always that indomitable sporting emotion; hope. Will we win it? Probably not. But you never know...
All good sporting stories are built upon a backdrop of unlikelihood or adversity. If the script always went to plan, the very notion of sporting competition wouldn’t exist. We want the underdog to win, we want the unexpected to happen.
And we need look no further than Hemel Hempstead Town FC for a fine example of a club fighting back to defy the odds; and ultimately achieving their goal. Two seasons ago, the club was relegated from the Southern Premier Division after a dismal campaign. The gates at Vauxhall Road were low, and there was little to cheer about for the Tudor faithful.
By a stroke of good fortune, the Tudors were given a reprieve from relegation, but they were still a long way from achieving chairman Dave Boggins’ goal of playing Conference football. There was plenty of work to do, and promotion looked to be a distant dream.
But fast forward two years and things couldn’t be more different. Under the expert guidance of management team Dean Brennan and Stuart Maynard, the Tudors have clinched an historic promotion and will be strutting their stuff in either the Conference North or South division next season.
They will be taking on some big sides – placing Hemel Hempstead firmly on the footballing map. And who knows where the club might go from here? The fanbase is ever-increasing and there are big plans for the future.
Over the last two seasons, Hemel Town FC has epitomised the glorious unpredictability of sport; going from relegation fodder to runaway champions. With a little bit of that spirit, maybe England could spring a surprise this summer. This is sport after all ... and just about anything can happen.