Roy Hodgson can speak French
Did you see it this week? An English footballer manager speaking to the Mayor of a French town – Chantilly?- in French. Well done Roy. It was something I never thought I’d see. I’ll set asides concerns that he might not pick the right team and praise the lift he must surely have given the image of English football in Europe. Roy has worked in Switzerland, Sweden, Italy and Blackburn so he’s certainly seen life and has become the Global Citizen we see before us now. In the 1980’s Ian Rush spent a year in Turin but returned saying that it “was like living in a foreign country”. How the game has moved forward.
In the 1970’s my hero was Johan Cruyff. He - and the rest of the Dutch team - spoke fluent English and German. It was like they were from a different planet.
Sometimes I think that we are at disadvantage in speaking English – or should I say American? The challenge of learning another language is less obvious to us perhaps. Most of Europe wants to speak English and have a real motivation to do so. They end up speaking English and their own language. Bi-lingual. What an advantage. Companies the world over want great communicators and speaking two languages certainly helps when you are trying to get a message across.
Hopefully the next few weeks will help people understand the geography of France, to appreciate the way of life and to learn a few French words. Keep an eye on the England manager. He’s showing the way.