Ashamed to be English
A response to the Euro 2020 Final
Ok, so let me just say that I'm not a football fan!
However, I do 'feel' for those who are and how there was a sense of disappointment at the Euro results last weekend.
Yes, I did see the penalty shoot-out and did feel some of the tension of the moment.
What has impressed me is some of the things I have read about the England Football team. Their united stance against discrimination, their decision to use a political gesture to mark that stance (not simply Black Lives Matter but the much broader remit of race, gender, LGBT issues), When I learned that the players had also chosen to donate any winnings from the competition to the NHS, I was won over even more.
Unlike some teams and players, the focus has not been on their individual lifestyles or earnings, but on some shared values and attitudes.
It was the opportunity for the 'fans' cries of "Enger-land" to promote feelings of unity rather than my associations with thuggery and ignorant tribalism. Having lived in London for a number of years, it is sad that my association with crowds carrying the flag of St George and chanting with xenophobic zeal has been less than positive.
Despite the shining example set by the England Team itself and indeed their hard work, as the match ended the dream of a United England and Pride in the country was dashed by the behaviour of the 'old guard' of football fans.
The racist abuse endured by some of the players; the less-than-diverse-awareness of some MP's and Entertainers really made me feel sick to the stomach. Is this the England I want to be a part of?
Then we see the 'fans' storming Wembley seeking to gain (and gaining) access despite not having purchased a ticket.
We see the trail of damage left by some of the mob, the racist daubings on community murals celebrating one specific footballers 'community efforts.
How far below the standards and aspirations set by the English Football team are so-called English Fans have been and continue to be.
What is so sad is that all of the hub-hub will fade away. The MP's, Comedians, Estate Agents (your phone was hacked BS!) will be almost forgiven as the real issues fall beneath the tidal waves of other news. So, when the World Cup starts next year we will again be surprised that at the core of 'the beautiful game' is still rotten and reflecting the fetid and outdated values of an Empire founded, like ALL Empires throughout history, on the 'putting down' and mistreatment of others.
Southgate and his team ARE to be applauded not only for their efforts but in their attempt to define a way in which individuals can work together and achieve whilst holding some shared values and a call for the celebration of diversity.
At the moment, however, I feel sickened and perhaps a little ashamed of being English.