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What is the point in being a supporter if football is only about winning trophies?

England fans may be overwhelmed with disappointment right now but the journey they've taken cannot be forgotten

What if?

What if John Stones hadn’t had a glancing header cleared off the line?

What if Harry Kane had found the bottom corner like he had all season for Spurs?

What if it was Croatia who fatigued like they were meant to instead of England?

The morning after the night before

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The morning after the night before

There are countless ifs and buts from last night.

But the World Cup experience doesn’t begin and end with an agonising semi-final defeat to Croatia.

Some England fans seem to have hastily forgotten the remarkable journey the Three Lions have embarked on this summer.

Because on July 11 there were just three teams left in the World Cup and England were one of them.

The players salute the fans

Getty Images - Getty
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The players salute the fans

Four years ago England were down and out after just two group games, whilst two years later we succumbed to a country with a population the size of Cardiff.

This is progress; giant steps taken when only baby ones were anticipated.

Rashford was inconsolable

AP:Associated Press
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Rashford was inconsolable

Sure there’s room for disappointment but the argument that England ‘bottled’ this golden opportunity seems to disparage all their achievements in the build up.

Cast your minds back to the end of May when Liverpool lost the Champions League final to Real Madrid.

Opposing fans mocked and derided Reds supporters for embracing their compelling journey with no tangible silverware at the end of their journey to Kiev.

Liverpool fans were mocked

Getty Images - Getty
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Liverpool fans were mocked

Was there any point in getting that far? Losing a final is the same as going out in the earlier rounds. right? Nobody remembers the runners up, do they?

Trust me, they do.

99% of football fans will end every season, trophy or tournament empty handed with nothing prize-worthy to show for their efforts.

But being a supporter isn’t just about lifting silverware aloft.

Being an England fan isn’t always easy

AFP or licensors
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Being an England fan isn’t always easy

It’s about the ride, the rollercoaster of emotions, the memories made.

England fans should cherish the summer of 2018 and the extraordinary fun they’ve had.

As Ian Wright argued so refreshingly to Roy Keane on ITV last night, why shouldn’t we get excited about it?

Pints have been bought and instantly wasted, strangers have become friends, dreamers have turned into believers.

For the first time in decades we have an England team and manager the entire country can get behind.

It didn’t end the way we all wanted to, but it was a rollercoaster ride we’d all take again a million times over.

After all, that’s what being a fan is really all about it.