Read this, taken from Mirror
14 September 2005
BOTHAM: VAUGHAN'S HEROES WILL BE ON TOP FOR YEARS TO COME
SELDOM, if ever, do I get goosebumps just from watching sport because I've never been a soppy Mills and Boon romantic.
But when Michael Vaughan led England's players on their lap of honour around The Oval on Monday night, I felt the hairs stand on the back of my neck.
In the space of six years, England have gone from being the worst Test side in the world to toppling one of the best teams of all time and recapturing the Ashes.
When we lost to New Zealand at The Oval in 1999, it was almost embarrassing to mention our cricket team because we were as bad as the Eskimos and the Teletubbies - except Tinky Winky, Dipsy, La-La and Po probably had a better attack than ours.
But today we can puff out our chests because, in my opinion, England now have the best team in the world, bar none. That's right - numero uno.
At full strength, I can't see anyone living with Vaughan's pace attack, and that includes Australia in 14 months when we travel there for the next Ashes series. In fact, I can't see the Aussies getting near us for a few years Two all-time greats, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, are coming to the end of their careers, their ageing batting line-up is on the verge of being broken up and the empire is crumbling.
Jason Gillespie suffered a dramatic loss of form, which was great news for England but also a sad sight, and Brett Lee is a fantastic competitor but his Ashes wickets remain expensive.
So if England head Down Under next year with the same attack as the one which brought home the Ashes - and barring injuries, I can't see any reason why they shouldn't - it will be the same result.
As we saw from the incredible scenes around Trafalgar Square yesterday, Vaughan's team has captured the imagination of the whole country, and this is only the beginning of the success story.
English cricket is on the verge of something very special, a golden era, and I am so proud of them I would go to the other end of the moon to watch England play cricket now.
It wasn't always like that. For years, I used to sit in the commentary box and tell people how good England were even though I was lying through my teeth. Now, though, when I say England are a terrific side, I genuinely mean it.
In two weeks, Freddie Flintoff will go to Australia to play for the Rest of the World XI in the Super Seriesand he will walk off the plane as the best all-rounder in the world by a mile - and arguably the greatest cricketer on the planet This year's Ashes will always be synonymous with Freddie's brilliant batting, lion-hearted bowling, his sportsmanship and charisma. When the Aussies have nightmares about losing the Ashes, they will wake up in a cold sweat and see Flintoff's face.
And the remarkable thing about Flintoff's impact is that, only six months ago, he had to cancel his honeymoon because he was racing to be fit for the Ashes after a serious ankle operation.
Freddie didn't just come back as good as new - he came back better than ever, and his physio Dave 'Rooster' Roberts deserves a huge amount of credit for bullying, cajoling and nursing Flintoff back to rude health.
It's wonderful that cricket lovers no longer need to go back to 25-year-old videos of the good old days for a reminder of what it was like to beat the Aussies.
In years to come, the class of 2005 will be remembered as fondly as any England cricket team.
Since Jonny Wilkinson's World Cup-winning dropped goal, England's rugby fortunes have been mixed, but I can see Vaughan's men going from strength to strength.
This winter they go to Pakistan and India, two countries who are incredibly difficult to beat in their own back yards, and I expect England to prevail.Last time in Pakistan, we left it until the last shaft of daylight before Graham Thorpe clinched that remarkable win in Karachi, but we have the firepower to make it past the post before the moon rises this time.