I find this picture very moving – as well as a work of art in itself.
On the day of the big Euro football final, here in the UK, there’s a massive surge of energy – it’s everywhere – because the English football Squad hasn’t got to the final of an international match since 1966 ! I got all fired up the other night and played a bit of the English football ‘anthem’. And it was a very sincere feeling that drove that.
But it would be false of me to pretend that I’m a dyed-in-the-wool footie fan. I watched the English cup final with my dad when I was a kid, when Stanley Matthews scored a hat-trick to secure a win in the Blackpool versus Bolton final. I feel something when I see the great athletic skill and dedication of those young men. But in my life, I haven’t been a partisan supporter of any team. Of course nobody could ignore the excitement of this present moment in English sport. I will be watching England’s boys on the telly this evening, with a feeling of admiration and pride. But, having toured the world so many times with Queen, and fallen in love with audiences of every nationality, the feelings inside me are a little different from most, perhaps.
There are a lot of parallels between football and rock music. They’re both entertainment. They both embrace the pursuit of excellence. At their best, they both inspire their audiences to reach for the best in themselves. But in a Queen show, or a rock show, every member of the audience is on the same side. There is no feeling of competition. There are no losers – only winners. So, in a strange way, I have a similar feeling watching a football match.
Every one of the players on that field tonight, either from England or Italy, has a family in the stands or at home, crying tears of joy, watching their boy giving his all, at his physical and mental peak. I will be praying that every one of those brilliant young men comes away from tonight feeling that they gave their best, for themselves, their family, and their country. May the best team win. But may everyone come out of it feeling like a winner.