This past month we have watched virtually all the football matches in the European Football Championships. Well, the kids and husband have in any case, I sit there and watch it half while doing other things. This coming Sunday the final will be upon us and it will be England versus Italy and I fervently hope for this outcome…
I don’t think I’ve ever felt as big of an antipathy towards the English as I do right now, and in this instance most particularly towards the English football fans. The English have always had this island-superiority complex but in recent years (I think I can pinpoint it to the Brexit vote five years ago) the English have felt more and more myopic and arrogant, in the ugliest of ways. I know there are so very many decent English people out there but these past few years mostly the ugly English underbelly has been increasingly showing and that includes current British leadership. Now, with the football, my annoyance with the English is coming to a new boil.
The England fans booed the German and Danish national anthems before those matches started and then booed when the opposing team was at the ball. And just a few hours ago I read that during the penalty shot, during extra time play in the Denmark vs England match, someone shone a laser into goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel’s eye! He went on to do a wonderful save only to have the winning goal pass him on the rebound, but what the….? Is this really the way a host country treats their guests? This is so unsportsmanlike and so arrogant! Where is English politeness and decency?
In addition, there’s also this hysterical “It’s coming home” nonsense. The English have never won the European championships before and just because football was invented in England, it doesn’t mean that is the only true home of football. The aforementioned quite awesome Danish goalie Schmeichel had a nice answer to one such a nationlistic bullshit question an English reporter had…
I was watching some BBC morning TV before the match against Denmark and I got very tired very quickly of this whole “Coming home” business, making England seem like the centre of the universe. I’m boycotting BBC news and sports coverage until after this is all over.
Of course, every country displays pride in their country at events such as these but English nationalistic pride and arrogance are at such a high point in such a disrespectful way that it has just become insufferable to me. I don’t know how it is in other countries but on Dutch Twitter the annoyance with the English is apparent as well and I even hear it in some of the commentaries on TV even though they don’t actually say it (or if they do, I’m not around long enough to hear it).
It’s not so much that we are pro Italy winning this championship, it is much more that we are anti the English winning and it’s all about their arrogance. We were sad the Danes didn’t beat them (they were my faves for the title, although that never was realistic) and I so hope the English will get their butts kicked by Italy in the finals on Sunday and maybe find some humility again. No, I have no sympathy for English football fans, on the stands or at home, right now, they feel alien to me and I am feeling very disappointed that such attitudes can so easily thrive. So, go Italy! I secretly think most of Europe will be cheering for Italy. Brexit all over again.
(Little disclaimer: the English football team itself and their head coach, Gareth Southgate, do seem decent.)