Thursday, 10 June 2010

The England Question... (and some Fianna Fáil bashing)

Hey folks,

Having just come out of a sports shop in Gatwick Airport emblazoned with St George’s flags I thought I’d found the reason for Irish fans’ general pattern of hatred for England. Over the past few months, the subject of whether we should have any problem supporting Fabio Capello’s side during their exploits in South Africa has cropped up again and again in pub conversations, on radio talk shows, during awkward conversations with taxi drivers and in almost every opinion column in the nation’s newspapers

Indeed, non-football-loving columnists seem to be the biggest culprits, many of whom seem to think they’ve just written the first ‘expose’ on this subject and have found a variety of ‘definitive’ answers to the quandary. They haven’t.

Anyway, back in Gatwick it was the sheer ugliness of the St George’s flag that caught my attention. The pretty stark horror of it never really comes out until you see it on mass – be it on the stands during an England game or in a corner of JD Sports. But there it was, all over t-shirts, flags, jerseys, hats, shorts and plenty more pointless apparel.

It’s bloody hideous.

In all honesty though, I think this distaste for the flag is more to do with my brain trying to scramble around for new reasons to revel in the suffering of the English than anything else. Other justifications are falling by the wayside. Ignore the tabloids and there’s none of the press over-confidence that plagued the 2002 and 2006 World Cups in particular (well not yet). At this stage too it’s a bit tiresome bleating on about Britain’s past sins when it comes to Ireland.

It’s a generation or two since the ‘no blacks, no dogs, no Irish’ signs in England and none of those messages were plonked in the pub window by Steven Gerrard or Fabio Capello.

The latest reason most Irish fans have for despising Capello’s side is that, like McClaren and Sven’s teams before, they play woeful football. Similar to the spiritual awakening Eamonn Dunphy has experienced in the last few years, it appears we’ve all become purists who can only support slick passing football. However, I think this is only another decoy reason to dislike them.

I think the thing we really detest about the English is what we also delight in, and will continue to do so despite appeals for a more sane, all embracing approach. We hate them because they always lose.
Since the State was formed a great proportion of the Irish people have thrown their weight behind a winning side. No matter who they are or what they’re doing. When we adopt teams, we don’t adopt loveable losers. We adopt great big fat winners.

We love teams with copious league titles, we love teams which get to the latter stages of cup competitions, we love big spending, all conquering football sides. I know there are a few exceptions – I was talking to a Scunthorpe fan from Dublin last week – but on the whole, and I include myself in this, we get very caught up in trying to follow a team that will give us more happy days than sad.

Obviously, some Brits – such as cockney Man United and Liverpool fans – are just as guilty when it comes to football but I don’t think it permeates through their collective mindset like it does over here.

In day-to-day life, you only have to look at the general religious fervour adopted by supporters of Fianna Fáil for more evidence of this in our psyche. The party has been out of power for two years in the last 20. Two bloody years. Despite this they will blame anyone – from American banks to volcanoes and wars waged in far off countries – as being responsible for our woes. Not them.

Not the men and women who had complete control of budgets, taxes, legislation and development for 90% of the last two decades. It’s all down to that PD in health so it is. It’s all down to interfering independent TDs. It’s all down to “the meeja”. It’s all down to the Dáil bar to put six pints on expenses and never mind about having a second scoop lads, sure the chauffeur is bringing you back home. Result.

But do Irish people desert them? Nope. Alright Enda Kenny is about as charismatic as a particularly boring otter, but even so, more should be migrating away from Brian Cowen’s party. But no, no, they’re the lads with the power, let’s stick with them, let’s stick with the winners… and no, I don’t buy into opinion polls like the one in the Irish Times this week and believe many of us will be just as moronic next time we vote…. Wait, where was I?

Oh yeah, England…

Anyway, England will never offer that winning feeling, they only bring more heartbreak and that’s the last thing we need. Had their football history had a few more World Cups and the odd European Cup thrown in, we’d most likely have them as our second team by now.

We should be over our pettiness at this stage but England’s stubborn refusal to win and let us be at peace with getting on board a bandwagon has kept us hating them. Damn them so for not giving us a reason to love them. It’d be great, if only so we could listen to ‘World in Motion’ without a nagging sense of guilt, but for now we just can’t embrace more pain.

Perhaps we need them to win a World Cup to get it over with and test out my theory*.
Later, JJ

*Not this time though, I gave a mate 3-1 odds that they wouldn’t make the semi finals, so another quarter round exit please Lamps. Next time I’ll be more mature, I swear.


Mark said...

I really don't mind if England do well in Rugby or cricket but when ti comes to football I draw the line, mainly because nearly the entire team is full of wankers.
Pre-Handball, I always had a healthy dislike of France, hated Germany, whereas I have always loved Spain & Italy's teams.

Not sure I quite agree with your theory, but i's worth a look :)

Anonymous said...

Very interesting theory......I think I agree with Mark though.I'd hate to see England do well cos of all the pricks in the team. Can you imagine smug Stevie lifting the fucking trophy and actually not hating every second of it?? Could be worse I suppose "JT" could still be skipper!! I'd love to see the Spanish win it, they've got the best players and as is not always the case the best team too. Brazil will be formidable though.............

Spaghetti Hoop said...

Nonsense. The only reason we don't want them to win at sports is because we have to listen to the celebration, back-slapping and commercial fall-out for several decades on the UK-fed media that is all around us. They have only just stopped congratulating themselves over winning the World Cup in 1966 [though I suspect all the hype and wistful nostalgia will be dredged up again over the next month]. Dignified winners OR losers they are not.

JJ said...

Maybe I'm crediting English people with a level of maturity well beyond them alright. I did say that the 'press excuse' for hating them is only a non-factor this time around because the tournament hasn't started yet.

So, once we get into full flow, I'm sure I can fall back on my old reasons to despise them but for now I don't think I'll have the same level of vitriol I've had for them in other tournaments.

Anonymous said...

Now you're talking JJ!! Two hours to kick-off, my prediction: England 2 U.S.A 1, hope I'm wrong!

Mark said...

oh dear

Anonymous said...

That's a damn shame!! Fucking terrible performance from England. I think Rob Green has taken a lot of heat off a lot of big names in the English papers this morning.

JJ said...

Agree with you there chief, gerrard's meandering barely mentioned across the water. Slovenia win puts them under pressure for the rest of the group now, if they're forced to go for the win in the last game they could be in danger.

Anonymous said...

What did Melo say about the Jubilani ball? Heard Dunpho tried to say it on air and Daragh Moloney had to cut him off.

JJ said...

The quite brilliant quote from Melo (who named his son Linker by the way so not exactly playing with the full deck in the first place) is a bit confused but goes as follows...

“The ball is horrible, it’s hard to believe that such a ball will be used in a World Cup,” he said. “The other ball is like a nagging woman: you kick her and she’s still there. This one is like a spoiled little rich kid, who doesn’t want to be kicked in any way.”

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that, Melo sounds like a charmer .

Dazinho said...

The mood here in Brazil is unbridled optimism, despite calls for Dunga's head after 20 minutes the other day. Looking forward to Sunday.Report on the ground to follow...

Niall O loughlin said...

Hi lads,
Hope you enjoy this!

JJ said...

Superb work Niall!

JJ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
A Football Fan said...

english (not british)people love only one game: Football.
And it is also the world's common love.
We also love football fantasies..
Here is one new one:
New Age Fantasy Football Game For Soccer Fans

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