‘The Faithful’ would like to welcome one of our new writers @Caddies to our site. Here is his first article for us.
Euro 2012 starts in a week and England’s first match is a week on Monday against France. I’m looking forward to the full tournament as a football fan but I’m also looking forward to England’s campaign as an England fan. They’ve been drawn in what looks like a very difficult group but other than Group A, I wouldn’t fancy any of the other groups either. It’s a tough tournament that should serve up some great football.
Now this site isn’t really one for previewing international tournaments and that’s not what I’m here to do, I just want to challenge the view of the whole anti-England brigade. I’ve always known there is a large amount of United fans that want to see England fail but now thanks to Twitter we get to see constant tweets of almost hatred towards our own national team. Reasons given for this range from
“I don’t like the players”
“England fans chants are anti-United”
“England fans (disgustingly) hung a Beckham dummy”
“The FA treat us unfairly”.
All arguably true but the ones directed at the ‘England fans’ are aimed at those fans from our rival clubs. Most of them are jealous of United’s success so of course they will take any opportunity to mock, attack our club and our players. Are we that sensitive that we can’t take it from rival fans if they have their England hat on? Grow up!
Do our players, even the ones born and bred in Manchester refuse to play for the national team? No they don’t. Gary Neville is the most diehard red Englishman in modern time, yet he has just taken a job as England coach after having a long career playing for the national side receiving 85 caps. Why doesn’t he use these stupid excuses to hate England? Particularly after seeing the Beckham dummy hanging situation seeing as they are close friends? It’s because he knows that despite the chants and other factors it is still an honour to play for your country. It should be a part of every English person’s mind-set that they want to see the national team do well and feel some pride if/when they do.
Now do I like Steven Gerrard? No I don’t. Will I cheer if he scores the winner against France? Yes of course I will, he’s playing for England not Liverpool. So that’s all the usual explanations of the whole United > England + Anti-England stance but do I think that is the real reason for a lot of fans?
In the short time since the season ended we have seen a lot of people decry our team as a failure, people tweeting we aren’t good enough and can’t compete anymore. We lost out on goal difference after being the most injured squad in the league, most notably missing our captain and defensive rock for a large part of the season. City lost Kompany for a few games to suspension and nearly imploded, if he’d been out for the length of time Vidic was then they’d have struggled far more than us. It is a shame to finish the season trophyless especially when our rivals grab the trophies we were going for, it is in no way the catastrophe that a lot of United fans would have you believe.
Due to our own high standards and the last 20 years of constant success it’s simple that our fans are spoilt, some deal with failure like petulant children. Now when bathed in success as we have been as a lot of our younger fans are so used to, is it any surprise that a lot of our support can’t bear to hang their hopes on a national team that even when expectations are high, always seem to fall short?
Although I believe every English person should support England, unless you have other lineage too. I’m not actually bothered by those that don’t, it’s their choice. If/when England go out of a tournament I’ll still watch, if I choose to follow someone it’s usually a team that I’ve enjoyed watching. This could be either in the tournament so far or over the years i.e. France simply because of Zidane and now Portugal because of Ronaldo. That’s fine I’m not asking everyone to paint their faces with the flag of St. George but if you are English and choose not to support England. Do you really need to become anti-England? I can guarantee a lot of you would change your tune if the unthinkable happens and England win.
That’s the way I see things, too many of our fans are too spoilt to “lower themselves” to support England. Too many think that constantly telling us United > England will show they are a super fan. In all honesty I too believe if I had to choose it would always be United > England. I think that most fans of any team are club > country but that’s just it, it’s not a choice. You can, and I will, always support both. I’ll hand my #TopRed badge in on my way out…