Friday, January 21

Anyone but England? Scots and Welsh warm for a nice team, but not the hype | England

Liam Murray says he will support England on Sunday “despite being an Ayrshire Scotsman.” Having supported the Scotland team in the group stage, “anyone but England” is not for him.

“I have always felt that Scotland’s progress as a country will come when we have a more relaxed and mature attitude towards our neighbor,” says Murray, 49, a specialist in risk management. “That doesn’t necessarily mean cheering them on, but it definitely means that none of this buys the strip or the flag of whoever they’re playing.”

Like many Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish fans, regardless of whether they plan to cheer on England in the Euro 2020 final or turn to Netflix to avoid it, Murray suggests that it is the personal caliber of Gareth Southgate and his team that has been tempered. . rivalries between the home nations during this tournament.

“The character of Southgate and his team is part of why anti-English attitudes are softening. Compared to 30 years ago, when football stars were more of the rock star mold, I think progressive Scots are quietly impressed by Marcus Rashford’s school meals drive, his kneeling stance, and the apparent independence of the team. from the worst parts of the UK media. “

Hamish Husband of the Association of Tartan Army Clubs is feeling somewhat less benign and is planning a news blackout and a Netflix marathon for the weekend. However, his problem is with the “overwhelming” media hype rather than the team.

“As a Scotland fan, I cannot support England, but that is a question of football, nothing to do with politics. At the end of the Wembley match [where Scotland and England drew 0-0] He wished the England fans were sitting right next to them, fan to fan. But I have to disconnect when they take over the BBC. “

Paul Corkrey of the Cymru Football Fans Association says England is “a good football team and Gareth Southgate is a good guy, but all this ‘coming home’ and getting cocky is driving everyone in Cardiff crazy. , to be honest”.

It’s a pleasure to watch the England team, he says, but with the volume low. “The saturation of the media has screwed up the whole world. There was the laser pen, the dubious penalty, and the way the experts ruled them out. Imagine if they win this, what we’ll have to put up with then. “

Andy Bell, host of Northern Ireland’s Spirit of 2016 football podcast, is more lenient when it comes to gushing headlines: “You should be dreaming as football fans”, but also calls for more consistency from experts in criticizing to English and foreign players. about, for example, fines.

Named in celebration of the first time Northern Ireland reached the knockout rounds of a European Championship, the podcast conducted an informal poll that found listeners divided on whether to support England. “For some, there is still a factor of political identity; for others it is because this is probably the most pleasant England team in terms of coach and players in a long time.

In particular, Bell believes his anti-racist stance has impressed fans in Northern Ireland. “People respect that the players stood their ground and weren’t intimidated.”

Regardless of how England fares on Sunday, Bell believes the championship has bolstered the confidence of the other home nations because its last two editions have featured 24 teams, rather than 16. “The euros have given the other three teams the belief that they can qualify and target championships with more success in the future ”.

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