The Weekly Gripe

Gripes the News
The Soapbox
Gripes in the pipes
*

Anglophobia around football and The World Cup

24 comments  Add a comment

Could this modern Anglophobia in international sports be turning English people into rabid xenophobes?  This is why I won't be following the 'anti-English' World Cup this year!

Let me just start by saying I don't have the tiniest interest in football or any sports for that matter as I just don't feel the necessary emotional connection with any hosted games in order to seriously follow them.  When we're made to watch Man U play AC Milan in the UEFA, who would I care to support when it's just a mixed bag of foreign and British players versus another mixture of some country and their foreign recruits?  I do, however, sometimes feel a small flutter of interest when it's the England national team playing, but even then, it's not enough given their dismal history of under-performance at international matches.  But there's something else going on worldwide that has made me take what is perhaps a 'perverse' interest in the game and that is this recurring 'anti-English' tendency whenever our national team is dare mentioned.

I wasn't always that patriotic either, and felt as impartial towards England (be it nation or football team) as I did towards sports in general and was just as comfortable being 'British', but this Anglophobic vibe so common in sports today seems to have stirred a defensive patriotism in me (and quite possibly other English folk) that I'm sad to see has bled over to a thinly concealed xenophobia on my part.  Could this modern Anglophobia in international sports be turning English people into rabid xenophobes?

The whole Anyone But England (ABE) craze has, as always, began early in the wake of this year's World Cup 2014 in Brazil where the Scots who originated the sneering campaign tell us it's all harmless fun - even English people have taken it on board somehow finding it amusing too.  It seems that all our non-qualifying Celtic neighbours have this thing about rooting for England's opponents which is sad and misguided given that like them, England is a renowned underdog in international football and most sports anyway, yet they still see us as this elitist world conquering enemy even with us floundering on the football field.

Anglophobia - world cup - England Ireland, Wales and particularly Scotland cannot seem to get their heads around the fair notion that 'English people support England' and that our media and commentators south of the border will of course be behind the national team too, only they see this as 'arrogance' and us having unrealistic expectations of our team winning.  Then there's this other mad notion the Scots have of our TV media, which they childishly refer to as the 'EBC' asking them to get behind England in the cup, something that might only be true of their OWN media.  English people in general, and most of our newspapers don't honestly give a monkeys about Scottish support in the World Cup.  The thing most of us find pretty stupid is this small-minded devotion to our opponents where the Scots (and many of their equally small-minded Irish cousins) will purchase those expensive shiny football shirts of Germany, Argentina and Cameroon just to sport during England matches.

I need to reiterate that English people support England, why wouldn't they?

There seem to be a tiny minority of Scots fans who see the pointlessness of this behaviour such as wise comic Billy Connolly who was once known to have openly condemned the ABE rubbish.  I also remember another comedian of Scottish descent Jim Davidson stating quite plainly that he always supports his national team Scotland against England.  Nothing wrong with that, it's just healthy patriotism to cheer on your own country whoever they may be playing.  What you won't see the smart cockney jock doing is glorifying a certain illegal 'volleyball' player Diego Maradona and portraying the cheat as a messiah for his foul act against England that year like nearly all Scots do.

I need to reiterate that English people support England, why wouldn't they?  But there seems to be this persuasion around the world stretching beyond the UK's Celts that believe there's a certain stigma in doing that.  Why are you supporting England?  You don't seriously believe they're going to win do you?  Even our more boorish drunken fans with their St George painted faces don't believe that in their heart-of-hearts, but that's not really the point.  The message seems to be that the rest of the world are telling us what we can and cannot be - and that can only lead to a backlash.  The danger is that we might just become what people always accuse us of and I fear that will go beyond a bunch of louts throwing chairs after England lose the game.  I have never really seen the funny side of ABE and the anti-Englishness in sports even if it is meant in good humour because I feel I am being told what I'm NOT allowed to be and quite honestly that smells of fascism.  It is likely to turn the less humoured and deeper thinking English like myself into Celtophobic, anti-Antipodean and outright xenophobic UKIP voters which I certainly wasn't to begin with.

Even as a non-football fan, nothing would give me greater glory than to see Wayne Rooney jubilantly hoisting up the World Cup at the end of the tournament and for red and white flags to be flying everywhere in the alienating face of our Scots and Irish sneer, but realistically that is not going to happen in this lifetime.  The reality is based upon the sad legacy of England's performance over the years where we are likely to get knocked out in the first round after another failed penalty shoot-out with 'spit' Germany where our Celtic deriders cream their ABE shirts in twisted glee.

It may sound unpatriotic but I often wish England didn't qualify so that the rest of the world wouldn't have a whipping boy and that fans wouldn't have to go through this ordeal every four years, but it seems we always do.  At least that way we could holiday to a World Cup neutral nation and ignore the whole damn tribulation until it's over - that is what I will be doing this year in any case.

By: Oscar Silverman


Leave a comment

First Prev Page 1 of 2 Next Last

Londoner

Londoner

I know this article (and topic) is getting old now but aren't the ABE bleats becoming predictable and regular - "how we are stuck in the past when the rest of the world has moved on", "it isn't compulsory to support England", "how we have unrealistic expectations of our national team winning" blah effing blah ~

If I had a penny for every time a Celt mentions the above, I would have far more in my pocket than when an England supporter dares whisper 1966. We don't do this nearly as often as Scotland kisses Maradona's arse.
Londoner
30th Apr 16 02:05

!

-1
Rugbyisthegame

Rugbyisthegame

As an Englishman I too am entirely neutral when it comes to English football. In fact all the home Nations are completely crap.

Its embarrassing. We call ourselves a footballing Nation but we are clearly outside any of the top leagues and when it comes to the National game – the only talent is the foreign players we buy in to provide some entertainment.

I feel sorry for the England manager because he only has crap to pick from.
Rugbyisthegame
1st Jul 14 09:32

!

0
Cadwaladr

Cadwaladr

As a Welshman I was entirely neutral when watching England's recent games. My national team didn't make it to the finals. Having said that, they weren't up to much, considering the price tags, were they?

Shame about the ear munching episode. Why couldn't he have just waited for the chippy to open.
Cadwaladr
30th Jun 14 20:18

!

0
collar

collar

In my experience its not just the Scotch. You should try spending some time in Europe...I could count the insults, dash yous and Slanders on one hand I think. My home team taught me great manners, but it seems to have forgotten them all now, its so embarrassing!
The Anti-English folk of the world always seem to send out an extra loud insult to us.
collar
9th Jun 14 15:48

!

0
Winchester

Winchester

The thing I don't get is this sheer enthusiasm for England to lose when they are already underdogs at international sports anyway. It's like rooting for Ethiopia to become even poorer. And as the author of this article reminds us - "English people support England, why wouldn't they?" Unlike our north Briton neighbours, you don't see us parading in foreign shirts every world cup.
Winchester
5th Jun 14 02:12

!

0
Dead and Buried

Dead and Buried

Why some people seriously think England can win it is absolutely beyond me. But we will find out eventually when the results come in: England 0-1 Italy, England 0-0 Costa Rica and England 0-2 Uruguay.
Dead and Buried
2nd Jun 14 10:50

!

0
cleverdick.com

cleverdick.com

I don't know about Terry Venables but i think England can win the World Cup. We got a better chance than Scotland, Wales and Ireland anyway! So much for celtic power.
Come on you Three Lions. Make us English proud!
cleverdick.com
13th May 14 11:54

!

0
Phil

Phil

Woy Hodgson names his Engerland squad this week. Cue two months of tedium as knuckle-dragging morons sing songs about 'two world wars and one world cup'. Yawn!
I would love to see these plebs try to get upto their usual nonsense in Brazil. The threat of a bullet in the head can prove to be a useful deterrent but it would be nice if the Brazilian authorities could reduce this vermin by a few hundred.
Luckily, Engerland won't be involved for long as their brand of football is stuck in the past while the rest of the world has moved on. It must be coming up to the time where Terry Venables says 'we can win it'. He says it for every tournament so i'm not using a great deal of predictive power there! I am going to stick my neck out however. I predict that one of the many pundits, commentators and other assorted non-entities they dredge up at World Cup time will mention 1966. No way i hear you cry. That could never happen. England have moved on and are now a forward-looking footballing nation. English football supporters are not like some individual who keeps referring back to a point in time in their lives with such alarming regularity that they would be regarded as mentally ill or, at the very least, depressed. But i'm sticking to my guns. I think - and it's a very, very, very long shot at astronomical odds - that someone will mention 1966. Am i going to look a fool or what!
Phil
10th May 14 10:40

!

-1
cleverdick.com

cleverdick.com

The guy who died at Wembley shouldn't have been there. This is England mate.
cleverdick.com
10th May 14 09:06

!

0
cleverdick.com

cleverdick.com

Play the race card!!!! That old chestnut again!!!!
cleverdick.com
9th May 14 23:12

!

0
Dead and Buried

Dead and Buried

Well inequality exists everywhere Phil. Sadly that's the way the world works. You can't make the poor rich by giving them money because they'll spend the money on booze and become poor again.
Dead and Buried
9th May 14 09:23

!

0
Phil

Phil

Just heard that eight workers have died preparing for the World Cup in Brazil. They've lost their lives so a bunch of overpaid and under-worked twerps can kick a ball around while an army of overpaid and under-worked pundits can yap about it.
All that money spent on new stadiums and facilities while people live in shanty towns nearby.
Phil
8th May 14 21:40

!

0
Phil

Phil

This just seems to be a dig at Welsh, Scottish and Irish people. You say you have no interest in football and only feel a 'small flutter of interest' when England play. If you're not interested as an English person why should you expect people from those other nations to be supporting England?
You seem to think that the minds of the population of planet Earth are fixated on England. They aren't! Citizens focus on how their own countries are getting on in football and other sports. They don't give a thought for England. I would assume that the people of Wales, Scotland and Ireland support their own teams in tournaments until such time as they are eliminated. Then they might lose interest or give their support to whichever team they choose. I don't think it's been made compulsary to support England. I wonder what the 'deeper thinking English' like you thought of the killing of a Welsh supporter at Wembley Stadium by two English supporters after they had made vile, zenophobic remarks?
Phil
2nd May 14 19:05

!

-1
Tired and emotional

Tired and emotional

I've travelled a bit and haven't really experienced any anti English/British sentiment as a tourist/visitor, in fact I would say that the vast majority of ordinary people have usually been nothing but helpful, oddly enough I have experienced anti English hatred in England from immigrants which is kind of ironic really and even online from someone who travelled from the other side of the world to emigrate here which seems bizarre, if people want to hate me on account of where I was born then that's up to them, it only really bothers me when people come to this country and bring their hatred with them.
Tired and emotional
20th Apr 14 13:12

!

0
Porthcawl

Porthcawl

It seems to me that being anti-English isn't considered racism. When that guy from Birmingham was beaten up in Cardiff and had serious head injuries, there was a comment that we should concentrate on racism against minorities. I agree they get a lot of stick from people, whether Indian, African, Chinese, whatever. But no discrimination is acceptable. Anti-English is still racism, not just a bit of a laugh. I'm tired of that whole attitude of 'I support 2 teams - Wales and whoever is playing England.' Childish
Porthcawl
20th Apr 14 12:22

!

0

First Prev Page 1 of 2 Next Last

FEATURES

Gripes the News
Gripes in the pipes
The Soapbox
spinner