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Why the NFL will bring the good times back to English football

| 09.10.2014

England’s new found obsession with the NFL, which has grown to such heights that Wembley will host three of the sport’s regular season games this year, could help to reignite the country’s interest in the national sport.

Interest in watching the Three Lions in HA9 is dwindling. The last match there, a friendly against Norway, was played in front of a pitiful attendance of just 40,181.

That was the lowest number of spectators since the development of “new Wembley”, beating the 48,876 that watched a friendly with Sweden in 2011 quite comfortably.

With San Marino the next opposition to visit the great stadium, a team England are huge 1/200 fancies to beat, it’s not likely that the viewing public will flock in droves to boost those numbers from the Norway outing.

While football fandom around the Three Lions is at a low, an NFL audience on these shores is ever-growing.

The first of this season’s trio of gridiron games was played out in front of an 83,436-strong crowd and the remaining two matches are also sold out.

The FA, who own Wembley, are committed to holding England internationals at the ground until the end of 2017, but with the NFL market clearly swelling it’s possible that they will look to capitalise on it swiftly.

Whether London enters its own franchise into the NFL in 2018, something that is endlessly speculated, or Wembley simply hosts a season’s worth of pigskin fixtures (eight), it would mean the football team would head back out on the road.

Between 2000 and 2007, while the London-based ground was redeveloped, the Three Lions embarked on a 36-game roadshow around the country, travelling to grounds from Villa Park to the Stadium of Light, via Old Trafford for their home games.

The move was a resounding success as England strutted their stuff to sell-out crowds in areas of the country that can’t necessarily travel down to London to watch a midweek fixture.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.