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Patriotism in the duel of British football fans

I was a teenager when Des Lynam opened the BBC’s England football match coverage on the perfect line. “Hello, are you working?”

Personally, I just avoided revising the exam, but Lynam’s words tied me to a country of people who left the office or routine to watch a match against Tunisia.

And, like me, most of them must still remember the pure emotions of the 1998 World Cup.

Soccer is the number that many of us experience the country. It is superior to any other event except for the very large royal rituals. Supporting the national team is what we do for our country and what our country does for us. It’s like walking down the street, knowing that almost every TV is tuned to the same thing. It renews the connection with each other.

How troublesome it is for this summer’s European Championships, where England’s group stage games are fun to play at home, to arrive in the clouds of turmoil. Some fans booed the England team by kneeling before the warm-up match.

In response, England’s manager Gareth Southgate Moving essay, He insisted that: Stick to soccer. .. .. I am responsible for the wider community to use my voice, and so are the players. “The team is helping to build a” much more forgiving and understanding society, “he said.

There are two perspectives on patriotism: mean and conservative and eloquent and progressive. I have no problem dismissing the conservative view. Those who complain about England’s kneeling are the same as those who make a fuss about whether the BBC is raising the Union flag in its annual report or try to pull the Queen to the side of Brexit’s debate. is.

They are false, pathetic patriotism. They don’t seem to care if the English team is doing well. If the team stops talking about social justice, they will probably ridicule the player as a spoiled millionaire. True patriotism is not a competitive sport in which you play against your compatriots and women.

So I accept Southgate’s patriotism — not because it’s progressive, but because it’s real. If an English player wants to kneel before a match, that’s them and I support them. If they decide not to kneel collectively, I won’t boo them. They were able to swing around Brexit placards and appoint Boris Johnson as the mascot, but I still support them.

Supporting the national team is a rare act of unity and duty. My generation has not been asked to go to war. You can also vote, pay taxes, and pick up trash. But as a nation, as Southgate called it, our “collective consciousness” stems from large-scale events. Medical personnel are required to stop clapping and arguing about each aspect of Prince Phillip’s funeral, that is, to stop putting himself in the center of such a set piece.

After the proposal European Super League collapses, There was a story to hear the voice of the fans. It is welcomed in club football, which is a more powerful alternative for greedy owners and stupid managers. But in international football, being a fan is another experience. You are a supporter, not a stakeholder.

International competitions are less regular than domestic football, so they are difficult to predict and always hopeful. “I have never stopped dreaming” as a national anthem Three LionsPut it down. David Baddiel, the co-author of the song, I will explain It is described as “fragile patriotism.” It is unity, not expectation, and it defeats hope, not division. This is the best tradition of football fandom.

Shouldn’t we be working? No, this is more important.

henry.mance@ft.com

Patriotism in the duel of British football fans

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